Kempenfelt Imaging Systems is celebrating 20 years of business in Barrie and the ingredients to success have always been evolving, great team members and giving back.
For 20 years, the locally owned and operated Kempenfelt Imaging Systems (KIS) has provided not only top service in office equipment and IT help, but has also been a provider of local jobs throughout its history.
Owner Jody Patfield told BarrieToday it took a few years of being in the wrong place, but he realized he could be his own boss and do better things.
“About 27 years ago, I went to a former hockey coach and said I needed a job. He told me I was hired and to go meet the other salespeople,” said Patfield. “I didn’t know anything about the industry, but went out and got batted around a bit, but learned and progressed.
"About six years after that, I decided I didn’t want to work for the manufacturer in Toronto anymore and felt I could do a much better job providing support and looking after people," Patfield added. "I quit a high-paying job there and started my own thing here.”
Kempenfelt Imaging Systems is and always has been a copier company, but as technology evolved, so did they.
The business at 81 Patterson Rd., has been turning their focus towards managing IT and managing networks. As copiers have long been a part of the network with printers and scanners, Kempenfelt Imaging Systems has always worked with people’s IT infrastructure.
Patfield knows that not jumping on the newest technologies means failing as a business.
“It's not really an option. If you don’t change or you’re standing still, you’re going to get run over,” said Patfield. “We’ve now put the right people in place to manage those networks and certainly with today’s business climate and all the bad stuff going on with viruses, malware and security breaches and concerns, it is a very necessary and logical place for us to be.
"We’re becoming a technology company in that we’re dealing with everything that impacts your network.”
With approximately 14 employees under the Kempenfelt Imaging Systems banner, the company continues to hire in a time when many businesses of all sizes are not.
There's also a family connection to the company, as Patfield’s daughter has learned many aspects of the office while his son helps with deliveries and the warehouse in the summertime.
In a testament to Patfield and the business, there is a very rare familial connection at the company.
“A very unique aspect of our business is that my ex-wife and I are still partners, still friends and I hope she would agree with me on this, still work well together,” said Patfield. “It's very much a family business. The staff we have here really are team members and have been here a long time with the longest tenured team member being here for close to 17 years.
"When I talk about the business, I’ll always talk about the people; those who have left and those who are still here because they’ve all contributed," he added.
As busy as the business can get, Patfield’s other passion is giving to the community and he has been involved with the Rotary Club of Barrie for almost 20 years.
Running your own business can be demanding, but Patfield advises folks to get involved, for the right reasons, in the city you call home.
“I think it is very important to be involved in the community, but it has to be for the right reasons,” said Patfield. “Ultimately, when you volunteer, you want something out of that and if it’s promotion and fanfare, well, that’s not me.
"What you really want is that feeling like you’ve done something good and maybe helped even one person," he added. "Barrie is a fantastic community and has such a great culture of giving, whether it’s a wheelchair ramp, a lunch program or a donation to the RVH (Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre), it's an amazing feeling to be a part of that culture.”