Abhijit Verekar just relocated to Blount County about four years ago, but the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AVERO Advisors is focused on getting more connected across the region.
Thanks to an introduction from Brandon Bruce, we had the opportunity to meet the native of India recently. We had seen his name in print as one of the current cohort in the Knox.biz “40 Under 40” class. We ended the discussion fully convinced that AV, as he likes to be called, was committed to being a “player” in the region.
“I moved to Maryville when we secured a contract with Blount County government,” Verekar explained. “It was a mandate to develop a plan to modernize the county’s information technology infrastructure including the network, cyber security, servers, enterprise systems, business processes, desktops and phones. I had to get them (county leaders) to fund not just the plan, but also its multi-year implementation.”
By working with elected and appointed officials, he gained a solid understanding of the broad region and how decisions are made. Verekar also made a number of connections that inspired him to get more engaged outside is daytime work.
The quality of his initial work with Blount County has now resulted in additional contracts with the Cities of Maryville and Alcoa.
“These are on their way to becoming some of the most advanced local governments in the country,” Verekar says.
We had the opportunity to chat recently with Greg McClain, City Manager of Maryville. The occasion was a meeting of the Maryville College Partnerships Council, and McClain had nothing but great things to say about the work of Verekar and the team at AVERO Advisors.
The company’s President and CEO is very emphatic about one particular fact that he says distinguishes AVERO Advisors from other consultants. “We don’t resell products or develop software,” Verekar emphasizes. Rather, the company serves as a strategic advisor for cities and counties, helping them reduce inefficiencies, reengineer business processes, ensure security, source software and contractors, and plan for the inevitable volatility through transition.
Another important distinction is the local government administrator who is the company’s key point of contact. “Our client is not the CIO (Chief Information Officer),” Verekar says. “It’s the Mayor, City Manager or Chief Operations Officer.”
Why does AVERO Advisors take that approach? “It’s about helping the top administrator spend limited taxpayer dollars as wisely as possible,” Verekar explains.
Since founding AVERO Advisors in 2016 as the sole employee, he has grown the company to 20 employees and expects the company to double again in the next few years. His corporate office is near the Maryville Municipal Building although most of the employees work remotely at client locations.
“I’ve done this type of work with 35 plus local governments across the U.S.,” Verekar says. A review of his LinkedIn page shows clients in Arizona, California, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Virginia in addition to the Blount County governments and, more recently, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation.