Innovation, Technology Power Columbus Companies
Meet three companies that excel in Columbus, thanks to a supportive ecosystem, great resources and deep talent pool.
One company was founded in the early 1990s with a mission to help Greek organizations across the country manage their memberships, finances and recruitment. Another began about 17 years ago to provide health care laboratories with the most effective products and services to collect, transport and track clinical samples.
And while OmegaFi and Path-Tec may share little in common when it comes to services, products and clients, the two Columbus companies have made their respective strides and growth through innovation and technology.
Their successes have come largely thanks to the traits that make Columbus so attractive to similar technology-rich companies.
“Columbus has been instrumental in helping our business get up and running.”
Kevin Boykin, Path-Tec
“There’s a great technology ecosystem and talent pool here,” says Fred Maglione, CEO of Omega-Fi. “A number of our tech leaders are products of Columbus State University, through an internship program with [the school].”
Likewise, Path-Tec has benefited from the great technology resources in Columbus, according to Kevin Boykin, the company’s president and CEO.
“From the early days when it was just an idea, we’ve leveraged resources from the technology incubator based on the campus of Columbus State,” he says. “Our labor pool is pretty good as well.”
In its evolution as a class project from a junior at Auburn University in 1992, OmegaFi has continuously stayed on top of technology advances to best serve fraternities and sororities in four main areas: financial management, communications, database and recruitment.
For instance, in 2014, the company released the first mobile app in the fraternal industry to help chapters and house corporations manage their finances.
“Our primary customer is a college-aged student, so they expect cutting-edge technology,” Maglione says. “We have to constantly adapt and find new ways to serve them. So, we got into mobile app-building many years ago and now we’re very much mobile app-driven.”
A key milestone in OmegaFi’s technology-based adaptations came in 1996, when it leveraged the onset of the internet and created a web-based chapter management tool known as Chapter Desktop.
“Technology has allowed us to really scale and serve customers across the country,” Maglione says. “Before, we were probably shipping laptops or computers back and forth. Getting online just allowed us to accelerate our growth in those very early days.”
The company now works with some 5,000 chapters, clubs and groups across North America. “We got our start just working primarily with college students, helping them collect their dues,” Maglione says. “But we’ve expanded the software offering pretty considerably all these years.”
Boykin, a certified medical technologist with experience in all areas of the clinical laboratory, founded Path-Tec in 2005 as a way to provide solutions for hospitals and laboratories, including specialized logistics services, client supply management, custom medical kit design, and end-to-end outsourced technology services.
His company has expanded since, largely due to it taking innovative measures and tapping into the newest technology.
“Some of the innovation we’ve had over the years would be finding ways to reduce errors in specimen collection,” says Boykin, a graduate of Columbus State who received his MBA from Auburn University and began his career as a medical laboratory specialist with the U.S. Air Force.
On the Grow
With nearly 650 employees in Columbus and the recent addition of a 106,000-square-foot facility, Path-Tec has grown considerably since it first opened as a local entrepreneur’s vision.
“Over 70% of errors in reporting results occur during the collection and transport phase of a process. So, we’ve found ways to assist laboratories in eliminating those errors. “We’ve also put together technology and solutions to help laboratories keep up with all the inventory that’s sitting all over the country, trying to understand the quantity and the expiration date on these kits.”
Now with nearly 650 employees in Columbus and the recent addition of a 106,000-square-foot facility, Path-Tec has grown considerably since it first opened as a local entrepreneur’s vision.
Boykin adds that the City of Columbus, the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce and other partners have provided tremendous support through the years. “Columbus is getting better and better at supporting small business growth here,” he says. “It’s an exciting time to start a business.”
Synovus: A Success Story
From a humble beginning in 1888, Synovus finds itself in 2023 with $57 billion in assets and 260 branches in five states.
“We have a large presence today in markets like Atlanta and Birmingham, but we continue to be headquartered in Columbus,” says Alison Dowe, Synovus executive vice president, chief communications and corporate responsibility officer. “I live in Columbus and so does a portion of our corporate team, including Synovus President/CEO Kevin Blair.”
Dowe says innovation in serving customers has always been a key aspect of the Synovus mission, from its very beginnings. The bank started in 1888 when a woman tore the hem of her dress while working on a machine at a mill along the Chattahoochee River, and out came her life savings that she had sewn into her dress. She thought the dress was the safest place to keep her money.
One of the mill executives saw the incident and offered to store all her savings in the locked mill safe, and she agreed. Soon afterward, the mill offered that safety option to all employees, and this was the beginning of Synovus.
“That was the first example of innovative ideas in our history, and that concept of people-centric service is core to how we treat our clients today,” Dowe says. “We were also one of the first to issue automated bank cards for customers, and we launched Columbus-based TSYS from the bank, which became a leading global payments company.”
As for quality of life in Columbus, Dowe says it’s a great place to be. “Columbus has nice local restaurants, a fun riverfront and a re-energized downtown area, and it’s a city where you don’t spend hours a day commuting in your car,” she says. “We at Synovus owe much of our success to Columbus, so the bank always gives back to our communities. That has been a huge part of who we are.”
Get to Know Columbus
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