By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Andrew Shelor says he has always liked figuring-out things.
That trait has served the Roanoke, Virginia native well since he relocated to Knoxville in 2001. Combining his knowledge of Information Technology (IT) and his ability to work with people, Shelor started as an instructor at a local IT training center.
Realizing very quickly he needed “real-world experience” to be successful, Shelor left the classroom and took a Field Engineer position at a local IT company, where he says he worked as a “grunt to really learn the trade . . . including being placed in situations of high urgency such as a crucial server being down. You tend to become more technically proficient when you are pressured – system outages and downtime cost money and business owners make that very clear.”
After increasing his knowledge and experience, he started his own firm – Shelor Technology Group – where he acquired 40 customers over an 18-month period. His success in getting and keeping customers has been due as much to his “customer service” as his technical competence.
“Initially, my skill level was mainly IT infrastructure,” he says. “Once again, I saw that in order to grow even further professionally, I needed to expand my skillset into application (app) building.”
As a result, he spent the next decade working for another local IT firm, honing and expanding his skills and building functional applications.
Visit Shelor’s LinkedIn webpage, and you’ll find this description: “I am a technologist who specializes in understanding, architecting and executing usable and sustainable solutions. I have been working with the Microsoft stack of technologies for the past 12 years and have either participated in or led approximately 52 projects, spanning from Migration Projects to Branding to Governance Planning. I currently hold four Microsoft Certifications: MCSE, MCPS, MCSA, and MCNPS. My goal is to deliver innovative solutions that are effective in their application and accepted by their user communities.”
Today, Shelor has moved his company, named Aventus LLC, into the University of Tennessee’s Business Incubator where he and his team are serving a variety of clients with the IT proficiencies gained over the past 16 years. Aventus is not a new entity per se. Shelor started it about 10 years ago, successfully offering on-site and cloud-based services to companies.
“I’m a function-first advocate when building solutions,” Shelor says in describing his value proposition to existing and potential clients. “I focus on understanding the requirement(s), metrics and formatting of an application, then deliver those requirements utilizing the right technology.”
Since founding Aventus in 2007, Shelor has served mid-to-large sized companies, government agencies and industry sectors. Clients have included Draper Fisher & Jurvetson, Impact Associates, and AllMeds, a locally-based leader in Electronic Health Records (EHR). The latter represents the level of clients he serves now that he is focused solely on Aventus.
Today, Aventus is a full-time operation offering an array of functional services and solutions for a range of industries, from agriculture data analytics to document retrieval applications for law firms, to help desk ticketing systems.
“We are seeking clients that understand the need for a higher end services contract where customized, functional and responsive solutions are developed for them, whether cloud-based or on premises,” Shelor explains.
At the same time, he’s not turning his back on existing clients.
“I can’t let go some of these smaller outfits because they’ve been so loyal to me,” Shelor says. “We wouldn’t be here without them.”
And, the life-long learner continues to add to his skillset, having started an online Master’s in Data Science degree offered by the University of Wisconsin.
“As new technology emerges, I want to be sure my team and I are well-prepared to utilize them for the benefit of our clients and their emerging needs now and in the future,” Shelor says.