Not many women are the I.T. girl, but Beth Burnside is.
Many small businesses can’t afford to have their own technology departments, so Burnside, owner of CMIT Solutions of Erie, a licensee of the national company, can become yours. She is who you’re going to call to make sure your small company doesn’t have an I.T. emergency.
“We become the IT services department for a lot of small to medium-sized companies and nonprofits,” she said. “A lot of business owners don’t want to outsource IT, but they also don’t know what to do when things go wrong,” she said. “That’s what we do, and then we set things up to ensure things never go wrong.”
Her staff is the help button that everyone needs. On a national level, the company has more than 800 consultants and technicians in a multitude of technologies and industries. As a local licensee, Burnside, of Fairview, has plenty of support with both her local staff and a national network. “We give people the opportunity to run their business while we take care of the technology,” Burnside said.
Burnside attributes success to understanding what her clients need because she’s been on both sides of the desk. “I’ve worn a lot of hats,” she said.
The Pennsylvania State University graduate earned a marketing degree and an MBA. Her first job took her into marketing at the M&M/Mars division of Mars Inc. She later moved to the customer side as an executive for one of M&M’s customers, Cooper-Booth Wholesale, in Lancaster. She was responsible for purchasing and marketing. Then she joined the Burnside family business. She and her husband, Nat, operated Maple Donuts Inc., in York, a company founded in 1946.
The Burnsides and their two children moved to Erie 10 years ago when they bought Lake Shore Frozen Foods in Lake City as a second manufacturing facility for Maple Donuts. It started with 15 employees and grew to more than 100.
Burnside likes the excitement of business startups, so she needed another challenge once the local Maple Donuts facility hit its stride. “We realized we could open a new business, buy a business, or start something new,” she recalled. “We decided to invest in CMIT Solutions as a licensee.”
Within a year, she created some national buzz as the 2011 recipient of the CMIT Solutions All-Star Award, honoring her leadership in client satisfaction, client retention, revenue growth and more.
Her work also got noticed when she was selected as a 2011-2012 Athena PowerLink Program recipient. She now volunteers as a panel adviser who helps other women-owned businesses. She received one of the first Wallerstein Grants from the Women’s Roundtable in 2012, and she gives back by conducting workshops for various professional networking groups.
On the business side, CMIT Solutions of Erie keeps client businesses worry-free with protected data, secure networks and technology advice that improves business.
Burnside has personally been honored three times by CRN Magazine’s list as a “Woman of the Channel.” She was also named to Distinguished List of Women in Technology, an annual list that recognizes 300 female executives per year for their achievements in technology. Nominated by the editors of CRN Magazine, Burnside and the other women represent a changing trend in a traditionally male-dominated industry, according to CRN.
“This is a tremendous honor in my trade, and I am thankful,” Burnside said.