Simpleview making itself comfortable in new Oro Valley home News tucsonlocalmedia.com

Inside, you’ll find The Grand Hall, which is big enough to accommodate all of Simpleview’s employees who can view large screens at the south end, yet cozy enough for small-group coffee on couches. Open work spaces without walls are filled with standing desks, allowing employees to stand or sit while they work. Pop-in rooms surround work stations for private meetings and phone calls. People bring their dogs to work. All the spaces are brightly lit, and the view of Pusch Ridge out the east windows is incomparable.

What makes the Simpleview story more compelling is that it’s “local people making good.” Simpleview CEO Ryan George, Vice President of Finance Scott Meredith, Chief Technology Officer Bill Simpson and Vice President of Operations Sean Moyle attended Canyon del Oro High School in Oro Valley and grew up in Tucson.

Moyle said he and George met on the playground in the fourth grade at Mesa Verde Elementary School. Years later, they and others are leading a company at the leading edge of the digital evolution.

My friend Maura Gast, who heads up the Irving, Texas, Convention and Visitors Bureau once said, “If you build a place where people want to live, you will build a place where people want to work … If you build a place where people want to work, you will build a place where business has to be … If we build a place where business has to be, we will be back to building a place where people have to visit.”

As I travel the world, I tell anyone who will listen just how amazing Tucson is and that Simpleview might not exist had we tried to start it in another city better known for tech. The extraordinary cost of living and office space in places like San Francisco, Austin or even Denver wouldn’t have made it possible to hire or retain the talent we have or provide the environment that we are able to.

Beyond the cost of doing business, I also believe that Tucson is an ideal place for start-ups because the U of A provides a steady stream of talent from an MIS program that is consistently ranked among the best in the country; our quality of life is second to none; and opportunities for spouses and partners at places like Roche / Ventana Medical, Raytheon and Davis Monthan abound.

That’s a mouthful, but our physical environment should exemplify that statement, so having more of our staff under one roof will foster collaboration and increase efficiencies as a result. We’ll have fewer offices, more open workspaces, motorized sit / stand workstations throughout, almost double the meetings space, and pop-ins for when people need an office for calls or one-on-one meetings.

You grew up in Tucson/Oro Valley, attended the U of A. For 11 years straight, Simpleview has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. It’s gone from a company of four in 2001 to a company that employs more than 235 people and works with more than 450 customers throughout North America and around the world in 2018. You’ve said there’s no place you’d rather live or start a business. Oro Valley: “100 Best Places in America to Live and Launch a Small Business — Fortune Small Business Magazine, April 2008”. What’s your advice for other Tucson or Oro Valley start-ups?

The best advice that I can give would be to surround yourself with good people. We’re all the sum of the people in our lives and the influence they have on your attitude and decision making can make or break you— not just in business, but also in life. You also have to put in the work, be willing to take risks, accept mistakes and move on from them quickly.

Between our Summit and customer visits, we probably bring around 1,000 people per year to Tucson and people are amazed by the natural beauty, “how much greener it is than they expected,” and the truly unique landscape that the Sonoran Desert provides. Europeans are especially enthralled by the cowboy history, Mexican food and the aspects and influences of our history that make our culture as unique as our landscape.

That said, places like San Francisco and Austin are truly special, yet built on similar catalysts. Prior to DELL’s rise to the top of the PC market in the ’90s, few people would have predicted that Austin would have grown in the ways that it has. Tucson needs similar success stories that allow founders to build flagships, so they can become funders of new start-ups and an ecosystem can be built.

However, in order for this to happen, Arizona absolutely has to focus on better pay for teachers and better K-12 education, not only to prepare kids for the future, but to recruit good talent. With all that we have to offer as a community, nobody wants to move their family to a place with underperforming schools. Of course, Oro Valley’s schools are excellent and I am proud to be a product of CDO, but generally speaking, I believe that growing communities start with a focus on education.