Chris Sawyer minces no words when discussing the success of Next Level Solutions.
“It didn’t take too long to figure out we caught lightning in a bottle,” says Sawyer, the software service firm’s president and CEO.
Since its 2018 founding, revenue has grown from $1.6 million to $32.6 million in 2021.
“If you told me four years ago we would have the kind of revenue growth we have had I would have laughed,” he says. “I knew there was a market for it, but I honestly didn’t think it would happen this quickly.”
The company offers software solutions for property and casualty insurance carriers who use the Duck Creek Technologies platform. The company fills a need typically offered by offshore companies – often located in India and other distant nations, he says. They deliver good service, Sawyer adds, but the time differences create a hardship for North American clients.
“I began asking myself, why are we doing that?” Sawyer says.
Next Level offers a near-shore model. It now is nearing 300 employees in offices in Springfield; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Columbia, South Carolina. It’s also acquired the Americas Group Technologies, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and has remote employees around the world. About 150 employees are located in Springfield, and that number is growing.
Sawyer places much of the company’s success on the quality of Next Level’s employees.
“I’m a firm believer in if you bring the talent, the customers will come. We happen to be very, very lucky to attract some really good talent in Springfield,” he says.
Successfully attracting and retaining good employees demands offering excellent compensation, a good work/life balance and the “Cadillacs” of benefits packages, Sawyer says.
“In the tech world especially, having good benefits is just frankly the cost of doing business,” he says.
In addition to upgrades in health, dental, vision and HSA plans, the company also offers life, accident, hospitalization and – new this year – pet insurance. The company also offers a 401(k)-matching program, employee access to Udemy, an online learning and teaching platform, and added Juneteenth to its list of paid holidays.
Sawyer says supporting Springfield and being part of the community is a priority for Next Level. Employees have volunteered at Ozarks Food Harvest and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, sponsored food drives for The Kitchen Inc. and filled a box truck with supplies for Springfield’s homeless community.
Sawyer says he expects growth to continue, but “we don’t expect to double revenue every year for the rest of our lives.”
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