Lisa Fritsch is the CEO of Agile5 Technologies, a woman-owned small business, located in Fairmont, West Virginia. Agile5 Technologies specializes in information services of design, development, testing, integration and the O&M of enterprise software systems for government agencies.
Agile5 Technologies, founded in 2011, is committed to hiring local professionals in historically underutilized hub zones to encourage economic development in West Virginia.
Fritsch talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about how she got started in the technology industry, her worst business experience and her advice to young entrepreneurs and business owners.
How did you get started in government work?
“There’s actually a lot more government work in North Central West Virginia than people realize. There’s the Department of Energy, NIOSH, Center for Disease Control, Department of Justice, NASA–there are all kinds of things in this area,” Fritsch said. “When we initially started the company, these four engineers were working together under a government contract. They had a certain finite period of time and then the contract is over and everyone who worked on the contract would have to go in a different direction.”
“My husband actually started in federal contracting as soon as he graduated from West Virginia University in 1998. So I was familiar with it, but that was not where my background was. It was basically just a natural evolution of the two of us talking and then him looking at the other people on the team and saying, ‘we have a good group here [the engineers]. We need to keep them together.’ I had been working on my MBA and I had always wanted to start a company. It just all felt right.”
What has been your worst business experience so far?
“We had decided to finally go after our first piece of work. In federal contracting, you put together a proposal, submit the proposal and then you find out if you won or not,” Fritsch said. “We were very overconfident as to what our chances are of winning the proposal. And, so the worst moment was finding out that we did not win our first attempt. It was actually a great life lesson. It’s something that you have to deal with in every stage of your life.”
“We were very optimistic, and then we became a little bit more realistic. Optimism takes you so far and then you have to get realistic and sit down and you have to come up with a plan.”
What is one piece of advice you would give a young business minded person?
“You really need to understand what you want before you can figure out how to make that next step,” Fritsch said. “Make sure you know what you want and then research what is already in the area where you can pursue the skill sets to accomplish those goals. In the event of starting a company, get the education necessary to do that. Then, check that you understand the environment that you’re moving into.”
Fritsch was a guest on The Positively West Virginia Podcast. Listen to her full podcast here
PWV QUICK BITS | ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN WEST VIRGINIA
- RECOMMENDED BOOK: Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
- RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Trello, an online whiteboard
- PIECE OF ADVICE: “You really need to understand what you want before you can figure out how to make that next step,” Fritsch advises.