Happy 29th Birthday to Techead!

Techead celebrates 29 years!

Today, Techead is celebrating 29 years in Business!

On this special day, we would like to share some words from our President, Phil Conein:

“Twenty-nine years ago today, in 1988, I went down to City of Richmond City Hall and applied for a business license.

Philise and I felt very alone when we started our Desktop Publishing business 29 years ago. Our first client was the Washington Post.  Our third client was Wheat First Securities. WFS was a client for 17 years. We gained another client, Signet Bank. They spun off a start up in their credit card division which became Capital One.

For two years, Philise and I worked out of a one-bedroom apartment on Addison Street in the Fan district of Richmond, VA.  As you can imagine, our neighborhood at that time was in transition and we were in the middle of it.

A neighbor across the street had a puppy mill and bred and kept a hoard of mixed Chihuahua / Pomeranians (these were not Paris Hilton “worthy”, I can tell you). It was a sight to see, when she let the pack out into her postage stamp sized front yard (10 x 8)…how they would spill over top of each other like a small tidal wave of yapping fur. All 50 at one time, (it seemed like) of them.

Back in those days color RGB monitors where “radioactive”. You could tell who was a programmer back in early days, because they all had little red monitor sunburn. I recalled working 12-18 hours straight with a bucket between my knees while I was getting that presentation out the door. I kept the bucket because I need to spit up every 15 minutes. That was from the effects of prolonged exposure from monitors back then. Philise and I worked many overnights to meet deadlines.

One day a client, a local radio station, wanted some promotion done for them. They wanted to see where we had our office. What!?! Clients coming to us!? What are going to do? For 2 years we struggled. Now we have clients who wanted to see our work space which was in our apartment. Nothing we could do about the neighbors. We had to give them a unique experience to visit us.

Our apartment hallway made for a good art gallery. So Philise hung our most conservative art work we had together. Spruce the space with fresh coat of Starlight coral shell and white paint. Found this cool 1970’s L-shaped sofa from Goodwill, to use as client sofa. Our work tables were from IKEA and and we used an old door. The File cabinets came from the army navy surplus store. They were cheap, but got us started.

Our apartment bathroom was a typical fan bathroom, it had an old claw-footed tub with old fashioned shower ring. The toilet was circa 1935 and looked like it. Built-in medicine cabinet. You all get the picture. So we decide to “Liven” it up a bit ala Jackson Pollock …splash, flicked, spotted dripped and whipped paint of coral, purple and white paint all over the place. Except for the tub, sink and toilet. When you went in….it was unexpected.

Over the months when a client would visit….We kept hearing things like, “Hey Sue, you just have to see what they done to the bathroom!”

In 1990, we decided to get married and grow our business. Imagine you had to ask for money instead of wedding gifts. We had three-thousand dollars and spent about $1,500 on the wedding itself. The other funds went for a down-payment on a Mac SE 30 and Apple LaserWriter II. The SE30 sits in my office. I can never part with it. Our first “real” office was in a tiny space next to the original Bottom’s Up Pizza on 18th Street.

In 1991, we went from producing Desktop Publishing projects for clients, to providing creative talent to clients. Our staffing arm was born!

Since then, TECHEAD has survived:

  • Crash of the Internet and IT “Bubble” (Dot Bomb) of 2003
  • The Flood from Tropical Storm Gaston
  • The Bankruptcy of a very large local client
  • The Great Recession of 2008-2009

Looking back, I can say Philise and I learned the lessons of hard work, responsibility and the value of strong work ethics. It was humbling for us to start in a one-bedroom apartment and grow our business to where it is now.

At this moment, Philise and I would like to thank everyone working with us now and along the way for helping us achieve this milestone.

We can’t thank you enough. We look forward to celebrating with you next year…for the big THREE-0 !


Phil and Philise Conein”

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