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Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on November 23rd, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 38 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 17, Issue 38

Spotlight on: MindBody Inc.

Rick Stollmeyer, chief executive officer and co-founder

By DAVID MINSKY

Rick Stollmeyer could’ve taken his company, MindBody Inc., to Silicon Valley or Silicon Beach, but instead he decided to keep it on the Central Coast in San Luis Obispo (SLO), where the company’s headquarters are located.

And when it came time to expand the company to another location, he chose Santa Maria, where he recently opened a branch at 2811 Airpark Drive. On Nov. 17, with little pomp and circumstance, a grand opening was held at the new spot. 


A PERFECT FIT
MindBody CEO Rick Stollmeyer takes the stage on Nov. 17 during the grand opening of the company’s second location, 2811 Airpark Drive in Santa Maria.
PHOTO BY DAVID MINSKY

Santa Maria isn’t known as a tech hub, but that’s not why Stollmeyer brought MindBody here. Situated near Vandenberg Air Force Base and Allan Hancock College, and in between UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly in SLO, choosing North County for a second location was a no-brainer. It’s the talent pool, he said, that was a primary motivation. And he’s not necessarily talking about people with college degrees, but those with technical skills. 

“Some of the most valuable people entering the workforce may or may not be getting university degrees,” said Stollmeyer, recognizing this as a national trend. “Some of our highest paid IT engineers actually don’t have college degrees.”  

MindBody is a software company that provides cloud computing services, such as payment management and data storage, for small businesses in the health and wellness sector, like spas, yoga instructors, and even salons. 

And what exactly is cloud computing? Think of it as storing data or performing computer functions from computer servers across the web instead of at an onsite computer.

On the consumer side, all of these businesses are wrapped up in a network that’s easily accessible through a smartphone app. With the app, consumers are able to make appointments with businesses, as well as make payments for their services. 

The idea for the company came in the late 1990s when Stollmeyer was doing private contracting work in launch operations and support at Vandenberg. He started the company in his garage, designing software for pilates and spinning studios. 

Then, MindBody took off in 2005 with the advent of internet banking and other cloud computing services. Now it’s a publicly traded company with a network of more than 58,000 businesses in 130 countries—more companies than Starbucks has coffee shops—and has doubled its size every two years for 12 consecutive years, Stollmeyer said. MindBody is currently considered one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. 

According to its website, MindBody has exceeded revenues of $100 million as of February 2016. But the company has yet to turn a profit. According to an interview with foxbusiness.com last January, Stollmeyer said the company should be profitable in 2017. 

“All we have to do is ease off the gas a little bit in growth and R&D [research and development], but right now there is a huge opportunity to deliver even more value and services to our clients and expand our client base,” Stollmeyer told foxbusiness.com.

Many of the skills that aided Stollmeyer in building the company came from the U.S. Navy, where he served as a submarine officer. He was stationed aboard the USS Chicago, a fast-attack nuclear-powered submarine based in San Diego. He was deployed to the Pacific theater multiple times and once stayed submerged for 62 consecutive days. 

Stollmeyer served in varying capacities, covering everything from nuclear electrical engineering to sonar. The skills he learned working in a “high consequence and highly technical” environment are easily translatable to his company, particularly with data management and security. 

The working environment at MindBody is unlike a typical office. While employees have their individual workspaces, the downstairs portion of the Santa Maria location is an open space with vending machines, a coffee bar, and a bowling lane. 

When looking for a second location, it occurred to Stollmeyer that many of his employees were commuting from North County to SLO. MindBody is a green company, and he wanted to reduce the company’s carbon footprint by reducing the amount of driving and car exhaust. 

“As we were thinking about where we were going to grow our customer service team, we did, in fact, look all over the place, all the way through to the Midwest,” Stollmeyer said. “We realized that right in our backyard is the perfect community. This is a community that has a tradition of technology and a tradition of education.” 

Highlights

• On Nov. 10, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Barbara County announced the appointment of Nancy Iarossi to its board of directors. Iarossi came to Santa Maria from Washington, D.C., in 1990. She retired from the Santa Maria-Bonita School District in 2013 but continued to work with the county as a mentor in the beginning teacher program. As a board member at CASA, Iarossi’s job will be to ensure the organization trains and supports volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the dependency court system. 

Staff Writer David Minsky wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, email, or mail.




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