The Green Technology Group, LLC. just celebrated the ten-year anniversary of our founding on January 8, 2018. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, perseverance, time, and passion to make a small company like TGTG as successful as we are today. To gain more insight about the journey it took to get here, we sat down with our President, CEO and Founder, Darryl W. Green, to learn more about how TGTG was born.
What gave you the idea to start an IT company of your own?
Back in 1996, I wasn’t really thinking of starting a company. I was working in Japan as a Senior Flight Nurse with the 374th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Yokota Japan. I was in charge of managing all the life support and medical equipment that we used for patient transportation throughout the Pacific Theater and we were using some software that had been developed to track all that equipment.
One day while walking down the hallway of the hospital, I saw a leaflet advertising a Healthcare IT Fellowship with the Air Force. At that point I said, “Let me research that.” I started looking into how to get this fellowship, and in my mind, that’s when my interest in IT resurfaced. I knew I would need to have some IT experience and my master’s degree, so I began searching for ways to gain more experience in the field of technology.
After my assignment in Japan ended in 1999, I pcs’d to Washington D.C. where I was assigned as an Elements Leader for the Same Day Surgery Unit at the Andrews Air Force Base, MD. I took every opportunity I could get to work with electronics and data systems there. I became a computer “superuser”, using electronic healthcare systems, learning the ins and outs of healthcare IT from military and commercial space and even becoming the “Surgical Squadron, CIO”. I was still preparing myself to get that Healthcare CIO Fellowship. My driver was to earn this position for the military, but somewhere along the way, I really started to believe that I could do this on my own, that maybe I could become an expert in IT systems.
When that day came, and I landed an Education With Industry (EWI) Fellowship, it turned out the fellowship was with Microsoft Corp in Redmond, Washington. So, from 2001 to 2002, I was working at a new startup division with three other people: my general manager, a pharmacist, a Marketing Evangelist and myself. During these times, Microsoft didn’t focus on healthcare the way they do now, we were going thru 9/11 and our responsibility was to do research and analysis for a year and see if healthcare was a field that Microsoft would like to pursue. At the end of our year-long review, we wrote a white paper to the Microsoft Leadership Team. One of our key recommendation for success to the team was to hire a medical director with an IT-savvy background and about 1500 experts with healthcare related IT experience to stand up this medical division. And to my surprise, they did it! That’s one of the reasons that I believe Microsoft is in healthcare today. I’d like to say I was a big part of the influence in getting Microsoft Health Vault off the ground.
After the Fellowship with Microsoft ended, I was reassigned to DC where I was appointed to Walter Reed Medical Center, Director of Information Management, TRICARE Region 1. I r supported over 9.5 Million beneficiaries in the National Capital Region health and data records that were maintained the healthcare the IT systems. From there, I moved to Resource Information Program Office where I worked as a deputy program manager for the back-office administration systems in healthcare. I was later moved up to be Chief of Staff for the Theater Medical Information Program Office.
Those last five years passed quickly, and I retired from the US Air Force in October 2007. It was around that time that I began working for Planned Systems International (PSI). I was continually exposed to IT and at that point that I realized I was focused on IT healthcare.
One day on the elevator, I had a conversation with the CEO at PSI. He asked me how I was doing, and I told him who I was and where I worked. I think he already knew who I was because he knew everybody there (*laughs*). In that conversation, he asked me what I wanted to do in the future. I said I wanted to have my own IT company, and he said that I should come talk to him sometime about it. And that’s how I got the idea for starting a company doing Healthcare IT.
What was the journey like from when you first decided to start your own company from that conversation in the elevator to when TGTG was founded in 2008?
It was a very short time span, I had just retired in October 2007, started working at PSI around then too. And then I started the company in January 2008. So it was about three months. It’s crazy to think about it now (*laughs*).
What were some of the biggest lessons you learned along this journey?
One of the biggest challenges in starting a company, for me, was just believing in myself. The desire and motivation to do something or having an idea versus execution is critical. Execution is critical in everything you do. I have come to believe that everybody has a great idea and the only challenge is separating yourself from ideation and execution. If you don’t execute, you go nowhere. Like they say, there are so many different ways to slice the bread, but if you don’t actually slice the bread, you can’t make a sandwich (*laughs*). So, execution is the key to everything. It’s about how you execute the idea that separates yourself from others.
The biggest thing that I’ve learned from talking to everybody, individuals, my peers: There is no handbook for being a CEO. You just go and do it. And you don’t necessarily know if you’re doing the right things. But if you’re doing the wrong thing, you won’t get rewarded for it. If you’re doing the right thing, then you know you will be rewarded.
The other thing is, you’ve got to keep your head down and keep on doing. Don’t bring your head up and look to see if you’re making a mark. You’ll make a mark, you’ll know it. Somebody will tell you. If you bring your head up, you’ll find yourself spending and wasting a lot of time on things that aren’t important. It’s all a part of having confidence in yourself. Asking yourself, “Am I doing the right thing?”, “Am I making strides?”, “Am I making a mark?”. You’ll never know. But someday, somebody will tell you. I know that if I keep my head down, keep on working through it, I’ll stay focused and stay vigilant. When I retire, I’ll be able to look back and see all that I’ve accomplished, but until then I’ve got to keep moving forward.
From the standpoint of work, I’ve heard a lot of people describe what they do as work. I don’t describe what I do as work. If I was working, then I’d probably hate it. I consider this pleasure, I consider this joy, I consider this a good time. And as long as I’m having a good time, I’m gonna be here. When it turns into work, that’s when I leave. As long as I’m not working, then I’m happy. And I love working at TGTG, having a company of my own. I don’t consider this work at all. To me, it’s a passion.
Were there any challenges you faced in the ten years since TGTG was founded?
Actually, I think those big challenges are coming now, now that we’re expanding. There’s always been a fight for opportunities at the table, a fight for income, a fight to make ourselves heard. But those challenges are much more prominent now. Operating as a small company can be hard because it means you’ve got to wear a lot of different hats, and being President, CEO, Founder, and working on other things made it so administrative that other things would get in the way.
For years, I wasn’t able to focus on those things that I’m passionate about because I’d be busy working on administrative tasks. Now, we’re in a place where I can do more free thinking and I believe it’s allowed me to be much more creative. I see more opportunities, more things out there on the horizon that we can do. And I find myself engaging in a lot of different conversations, whereas before, I could only be focused on the administrative side.
Now I have a board that helps things get done more efficiently. With a team, we’re able to split the workload and get things done faster. It takes a lot of things off my plate and we’re able to focus more on our future. That’s a huge improvement, I feel like I can actually do things that I know will make a difference. It’s hard to do that when you’re on your own, there’s only so much you can do with one or two of you. That’s why we were excited to bring new people on board because it brought us one step closer to making a difference.
If you wanna talk about challenges, the biggest challenge is letting go. The biggest because if you’re doing something and you’ve got your hands it and you believe in what you’re doing, you don’t necessarily want anybody else to do or say anything different. You know, it’s like everything has to come through me first, I’ve got to check off on everything before it gets approved. But there’s only 24 hours in a day. I have to let it go, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do the things I’m passionate about and the people around me couldn’t grow. So that’s why it was so important to learn to let go.
What are some of TGTG’s biggest moments since it was founded?
Getting our 8(a) certification on September 11, 2011. That was really big for us. Then our first major contract in 2013, that was exciting. It was our first large prime contract, I’d never seen that much money before, so it was huge for us.
2012 was a pretty big year for us, we earned our SDVSB certification and our SWaM certification for the first time. We just had our SWaM certification renewed in June of this year too.
Are there any moments or accomplishments that you’re really proud of?
I’m really proud of the website redesign that our interns did. The mere fact that other people are saying they like it already, that’s huge.
I’m proud of the new interns coming on board because we’ve always wanted to give back to others. Starting this program was a big step for us.
I’m also really proud of Tom and Clinton joining, coming on board. They’ve been such a big help to the company and I can’t thank them enough.
What’s your vision for TGTG’s future?
That’s what we’re working on right now. A lot has gone on in the past year. We’re actually looking at repositioning ourselves and what we would like to do. We can clearly say we focus on IT Modernization, Software Development, Cloud Services, and Security. In the beginning, we tried to make ourselves a fit for everybody, but we’re not. Focusing on these areas and who we should be lets us be more focused in our direction and trajectory now. I think we’re in a pretty good space now.
I believe our vision should be something everybody in the company can believe in and see, something everyone can follow so that we’re all going in the same direction. I want to reposition ourselves because it’s always been clear to me what my vision for the company is, but I also believe that we’re a part of a family and a team here at TGTG. I think it’s important that we all work together on repositioning ourselves and forming our mission because everybody is valued and everybody’s ideas matter to me here.
Where would you like to see TGTG in another ten years?
I’d like to see TGTG as one of the top 500 firms in the nation. It’s gonna be a fight, but I think we can get there.
What is the most rewarding part of your job and of founding TGTG?
Just spending time and talking to people like our interns and mentoring. I love listening to them and seeing what’s on their mind and seeing where they’re going and seeing how they understand the future as it comes and hits them in the face. I am always on the bleeding, leading edge, I’m always looking at technology to take it to the next step. I’m not afraid of it, I’m accepting of it because it’s always changing. So I’m very excited about it. That’s what gets me out of the bed and into the office every morning, it’s the technology and the people.
TGTG wouldn't be where it is today without the incredible effort and dedication that Darryl has put in to make our company so successful. We're thankful for all he has done and continues to do. Happy Founder Friday to our Founder, President and CEO, Darryl W. Green!