Thu10302014

Business & Real Estate

Gunn students shoot for high-tech success

Titan Computer Services scores major account

You're never too young to be an entrepreneur. Just ask the employees at one of Silicon Valley's youngest companies, Titan Computer Services. Located in Sunnyvale, the firm is founded and staffed by a group of Gunn High School students.

The students, ranging from juniors to graduated seniors, formed the company after taking a two-semester computer repair and maintenance class offered at Gunn. The class met at 7 a.m. and was part of the Regional Occupational Program, which helps students acquire hands-on experience and marketable skills.

Jim Thrall, a resident of Mountain View who taught the course, said he wanted the class to lead to something useful for the students. He decided on preparing the students for A+ certification, which consists of a two-part test and is the industry standard in hardware and basic operating system certification.

Essentially, Thrall said, "the students took a computer, tore it down, looked at each of the parts and put it back together again ... and made sure it all worked in the end."

Dan Pojanamat, a senior at Gunn, said, "A few students in the class decided on forming the company about halfway through the school year." Under the loose guidance of Thrall, they wrote a business plan for Titan (named after the Gunn mascot), using Microsoft Business Manager. Once summer arrived, Thrall found a warehouse-type office space for them, and they set to work.

"Although the first few weeks were slow," said Kristian Klivo, another Gunn student, "it has picked up recently."

Earlier this month, Adalis Systems contracted with TCS to upgrade all the Mailboxes Etc. locations in the Bay Area. This is approximately 110 locations, stretching from Petaluma to Gilroy.

With only a few weeks to complete the job, the staff quickly organized. They meet at the office each morning, pick up location maps and checklists, then in teams of two, head off to do on-site upgrades. Thrall said the traveling has not been too inconvenient, since "most of them just got their (driver's) licenses and are eager to be on the road."

He added this has also brought about unique problems, such as the time when the driver fell ill, and the team was stranded, because the passenger couldn't drive.

Thrall, who is also a wrestling coach at Gunn and has his own company to contend with, Vorpal Networks, said he is "very pleased with the work of the staff and (they) are ready for even more challenging work."

Besides upgrading, TCS also provides computer repair, installation of software and operating systems and assists companies in moving and setting up local area networks. TCS markets itself as a provider of "high quality and low-cost services on site at your home or business ... at a very competitive rate."

For more information, call 280-1459 or visit their Web site at www.vorpalnet.com/tcs.

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