River City Six: James Bowen
Five Nines leverages technology to drive business success, utilizing a unique service model to deliver IT solutions tailored to fit each client. James Bowen is the co-founder of Five Nines (gonines.com).
Tell us a little about your business. – Five Nines was established in 2006 and has since grown to become Nebraska’s largest and most nationally-recognized Managed IT Services company, with multiple offices across the state. Our mission is “To love what we do and be the best at it,” and I believe that reflects us accurately. Our purpose is to increase productivity and manage risk while planning and adhering to budgets.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Without a doubt, it’s been the growth and maturity of Five Nines outpacing my own ability to contribute at an executive level. I’ve always been a business IT consultant. That’s what I know, and what I do. Founders of companies most often look more like technicians of sorts, with a singular marketable skill, than fully-developed and educated businesspeople. As Five Nines grew, my proper place in the company rose above my education. Since I love Five Nines, and they are stuck with me, it was my obligation to my staff to become a more educated leader for the business. To that end, I completed Nebraska’s Executive MBA program out of the UNO campus. It was the best education I’ve ever had.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – Five Nines is going strong 10+ years in, providing great careers for our staff and critical services to our clients.
Tell us a little about your family. – My wife Michelle, of 15 years, stays at home with our children, Alexis (7) and Kaden (10). We also have a strange variety of animals, primarily due to me just having newts as a kid…
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – My son was born 10 weeks premature the week after Nick Bock and I agreed to create Five Nines. Our world was turned upside-down as our new family moved into the NICU and Michelle left her career to become the mother our child required (Kaden lives with Cerebral Palsy). Our family needed Five Nines right when it happened. I’ll always see that as fate and I’m forever grateful.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I’m still getting used to that concept. Right now, we are in that wonderful time where our kids can participate in activities and we are enjoying every minute of that.
What are you the most proud of? – Five Nines is a truly great company with fantastic people who choose to give it their all each and every day.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “There is always room for the best.” A comment from my father when he and I were discussing the rather competitive industry I was choosing to get into and my concerns about that. It was such a simple and truthful statement.
What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – My son thoroughly enjoys my singing and guitar playing, which has come in very handy during hospital visits.
What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – I have been on several non-profit boards and have enjoyed all of them. Five Nines dedicates money each month to support a wide variety of causes brought to us by our staff.