Mobile Men

BY: BUSINESS OBSERVER
November 06, 2015

Father-son duo Tony Fernandez and Anthony Fernandez are behind the fast growth at Lakewood Ranch-based mobile technology firm MTech. Photo by Lori Sax

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During a visit home from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Anthony Fernandez sought career advice from two people who know him best: his parents, Tony and Linda.

His parents, with a background in IT, pointed to a common denominator. “In college, I was always good at fixing things,” Anthony Fernandez, 25, says. “At first, I was thinking about auto mechanics, but that switched to mobile technology.”

The switch proved fortuitous.

MTech Repair, an on-the-spot mobile device repair company Anthony Fernandez founded with help from his father and grandfather, has seen some rapid growth recently. The Lakewood Ranch-based company, which stands for Mobile Technology Repair, is projected to grow sales 50% to 70% in 2015 — the first year since it was founded in 2012 that it didn’t grow sales triple digits. MTech declined to share revenue figures.

The company offers full repair services for mobile devices such as Apple and Samsung phones and tablets, among others. It’s the type of place where people come in anxiously holding a broken device with a “please help me” stare.

“It’s an exploding industry with a lot of customers that are constantly trying to figure out what to do,” Tony Fernandez says.

The father-son duo expanded the concept earlier this year with MTech MDM, a mobile-device management division for businesses. It works with businesses to provide repair services, software advice and installation, and has a call center for mobile-technology-related questions. Two months after its launch, MDM already makes up nearly 25% of MTech’s total business, Tony Fernandez says.

MTech, which Anthony Fernandez founded in Jupiter, currently has 19 employees, but that figure is growing. The company’s business plan calls for 50 or more employees by the end of 2016, Tony Fernandez says. The growth is largely due to the increasing workload from business clients, which will require hiring call center staff and more people for the repair staff.

To accommodate this growth, the next step is to add an all-purpose facility to replace its current 1,500-square-foot headquarters in San Marco Plaza in Lakewood Ranch, where it has a second-floor office condo. MTech is planning to move into a new Lakewood Ranch facility next year that will be either 5,000 or 10,000 square feet and will hold both the consumer repair and MDM divisions.

Even as it continues to grow, part of the strategic advantage MTech holds is its size. Being smaller allows MTech to do all repairs in-house and shoot for same-day turnaround, Tony Fernandez says. That’s a key advantage for customers who are addicted to their devices.

Additionally, MTech offers warranty options that aren’t matched by industry giants, Tony Fernandez says. A typical commercial warranty for repair work is 60 to 90 days, he says, but the MTech warranty lasts for one year.

“Our warranty is reflective of how we do business,” Tony Fernandez says. “We’re comfortable doing it because we stand behind our workmanship and our customers.”

One reason MTech is able to do that is because of its attention to detail when hiring technicians, which includes recruiting former military personnel, Anthony Fernandez says.

At one point, a former member of each of the five branches of the military was an MTech employee. Steve Guy, for example, the first employee and current regional manager at the Jupiter location, served more than 20 years repairing radar systems for the U.S. Navy.

“They have a lot of discipline; they’re always on time; all the things you would expect from military personnel,” Tony Fernandez, 52, says. “And they come highly skilled. Steve is an incredible tech.”

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