Since its beginning in 1991…
DesTech has focused on building a powerful and people-centric business committed to providing an equally positive experience to both its clients and employees.
DesTech began as an Oracle consulting firm specializing in custom system development and has evolved into a company that provides total IT solutions from training to software/hardware sales to professional and managed services across North America.
While this 30-year journey has been about growing and adapting, our underlying values have always remained consistent.
To our clients & partners – whether you’ve been with us since inception, or are new to our team, we’re privileged to be your total IT solutions provider.
To our employees – many of which have been with us for over 15 years – thank you for your unwavering dedication, professionalism, technical excellence, and friendship. DesTech wouldn’t be where we are today without you.
To our founders and owners – Congratulations. You’ve created a successful and honest business built with passion, countless hours of hard work and respect. This solid foundation, driven by knowing and living our core values, has positioned DesTech for sustainable growth for years to come.
We’re proud and excited about all that we have accomplished and experienced over the past three decades. We’re even more excited about what lies ahead. So, here’s to celebrating our 30th anniversary and looking eagerly towards the future.
We asked DesTech founders and owners, Sherri Hassard and Fred Strahle a few questions about their experience operating a successful technology business for 30 years. Here’s what they had to say!
Where did you get the idea for your business?
Fred: Personally, I always wanted to start a business. My childhood friends would all tell you that I was always negotiating to do things my way so I guess it’s part of my DNA. Sherri graduated from Queen’s commerce and always saw herself working in a big company.
Sherri: Going from Accenture and Oracle to a company of 2 people was never what I envisioned. Fred had always wanted his own company and basically talked me into giving it a try!
How did you come up with the name of your company?
Fred: I wanted to name it after me but Sherri didn’t like that idea.
Sherri: I flatly rejected that one!
Sherri: At the time I was involved with Database and systems design and Fred more with the technology. After some noodling we settled on DesTech as it was a combination of each of our unique strengths at the time. “Des” = Design (Sherri’s strength) and “Tech” = Technology (Fred’s strength).
Fred: I tried to push TechDes but it sounded stupid so Sherri got first billing.
Tell us about your relationship with your business partner.
Sherri: We have been together for 33 years including our time at Oracle and DesTech. We were friends first and always will be. People often told Fred and I not to go into business with a friend but this never made sense to me. Why would I want to spend all day with someone for decades that I did not like being around? We have our own families and personal lives but remain friends outside of work too. Just this week we went together and saw the Blue Jay play as we both love baseball. Fred and his wife are friends of my husband and me. We have enjoyed many great vacations together including a trip to Italy for one of our employee’s daughter’s wedding when we could last travel!
Fred: To this day I have nothing but the highest level of respect for Sherri’s intelligence, integrity, and work ethic. We haven’t always agreed but the one thing we always did was listen to each other and once we came to a decision, we owned it together whether we succeeded or failed. One last thing… Sherri was on the short-list of who I’d want standing with me when I married Michele. That kind of sums it up best.
Describe one very funny and memorable scenario?
Sherri: When I met Fred he was still single and I thought it would be good if I could find him someone to marry. He then told me about a “sexy” new computer that he really liked. I felt I was in real trouble if his idea of “sexy” was a computer. Luckily, somehow his wife saw past all this and we actually did manage to find someone for him to marry!
Fred: Well, there was the time we tried to dance together and both realized that it was too weird to ever do again. Then there was the reception line at my wedding when we both realized a hug was going to be unavoidable. Or the time Sherri proved me wrong in that you really can buy cheese injected sausage from a street vendor in Salzburg and not just at Costco.
What corporate goal did DesTech achieve more quickly than you thought possible?
Definitely our ability to win big projects and training contracts with fortune 500 companies. As a small company when we started DesTech, we were expecting to deal with more small to maybe mid-sized companies. Within a year, we began landing large accounts where we were responsible for designing, coding, and deploying business critical systems. To this day, many of our customers are household names that trust us with their most critical systems. It is a huge responsibility, and we are very proud of our team for continuing to successfully deliver for our clients.
Describe DesTech’s winning attitude towards customers and employees.
DesTech certainly considers itself a customer-centric organization. Our goal is to make companies successful whether we are selling them the technology they need, working on an IT project or training their staff to have the skills they require to do their job efficiently.
As a services company DesTech recognizes that our employees are our number one resource. We have worked hard to create a positive work environment to retain our employees for the long term. A major focus is respect. You have to be committed to treating everyone with respect. This is how you ensure that your employees and customers are heard. When you make the effort to listen, and the other person reciprocates, you have the basis for a successful relationship.
You both trained courses for many years. If you could train any course today, which would it be?
Fred: Oracle Database Administration Workshop. I always loved teaching the intro DBA course. The challenge is in taking a large amount of complex information and distilling it into something that makes logical sense for the new DBA. When you get it right, the thrill in watching someone’s knowledge and confidence expand so quickly over five days is very rewarding.
Sherri: I think if I was to teach it would be Introduction to SQL as I still know the language well and always enjoyed teaching this class. Though it has changed I know I could prepare for it pretty quickly and make it a great experience for the students. With the size of DesTech today it is not really possible to teach and run the company, though I do miss interacting with the students!
Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up?
Sherri: Maybe once a week! All kidding aside, not really. I do not think it is mine or Fred’s DNA to give up. There were definitely times that it was hard to keep going but giving up was never really an option.
Fred: Give up? No. Frustrated and stressed? Of course. We’re only human and there are times when everyone hits a wall. The secret is to manage what you can and let go of the things that are outside of your control.
If you went back to 1991 but with the knowledge of today, what would be the most significant changes you’d make?
Honestly none. Did we make mistakes? Of course. Mistakes are part of learning and making you stronger and better in the future. We are where we are today as part of our successes and mistakes from the past.
How do you plan to maintain and achieve growth in the future?
Keep adapting, keep changing, don’t stand still. We continue to empower our team to offer ideas, make decisions, and help set direction. Even during the pandemic DesTech made many key changes to our business so that we would come out stronger than ever.
What’s next for DesTech?
We have been working on empowering our senior team to set new direction and to enjoy doing so. Fresh ideas from them, combined with guidance based on the wisdom we hope we have developed over the last 30 years, will lead us into new areas we haven’t even imagined yet.
We have a large customer base that trusts us to help them integrate changes in the technology they depend on. We’ve adapted to these changes very well over the years and will continue to adapt to the changes to come.
No anniversary would be complete without some kind words from our amazing DesTech customers and staff.
“If I were to describe DesTech in three words I’d say: Fair, Supportive and Technical Experts. DesTech’s people are great to work with, trustworthy, always making an effort to build long lasting relationships, and have their customers’ best interest at heart. I value the technical services that DesTech provides, but I value the customer focused business model even more.”
“You simply won’t find a more enthusiastic and committed team such as DesTech’s team. Celebrating 30 years is definitely a great accomplishment!”
“Working for DesTech has pushed me to be a better employee and person. My technical and interpersonal skills have grown immensely, and I have my colleagues and bosses to thank for that! They’re constantly pushing me beyond my comfort zone and cheering me on every step of the way. The people at DesTech are not only my team but my family. I am very thankful to work for such an incredible company.”
“Several months after coming to Canada, I was hired by DesTech and thus this company became – not so metaphorically – a gateway to my Canadian experience. My current views and work ethics are heavily influenced by the people I met here.
Achieving inclusivity, mutual trust between the employer and the employees together with the economic success is not a simple task. There is a significant difference between preaching these values and building a company based on them. In my view DesTech is an outstanding example of such a rare equilibrium.”
“We have worked with DesTech for over 20 years which initially started out as just for education requirements but then branched out into services for a few projects and also Oracle license management. All aspects of the relationship have been very positive, and we continue to work with DesTech when the need arises.”
“We have been a corporate customer of DesTech for at least 15 years. A few words I’d use to describe DesTech are: Professional, Competent, Friendly and Engaging. When I think about DesTech’s people I think of good technical instructors with real world experience and quiet confidence, as well as support staff with expertise and patience working in the background to make it all happen. ”
“I have had the pleasure of working at DesTech for just over 3 years now. I’m pleased to say that I was welcomed with open arms from the moment I walked through the door. Having the opportunity to be part of this family is a blessing for me, and the feeling of belonging somewhere is what helps me enjoy the work I do for the people I work for – I honestly could not ask for a better work experience. To see your company constantly growing and developing to provide the best IT service out there, while making sure their employees are being taken care of, is absolutely a huge differential. I’m proud to say I not only represent this company but am also a part of it – 30 years down, many more to come!”
“I’ve worked with DesTech for over 18 years and I’ve stuck around mainly because I have the best ever bosses and colleagues. Everyday I go to work, I look forward to the positive interactions with my colleagues and learn something new from– and about them every day. I will continue to go above and beyond for DesTech in order to uphold the reputation and integrity of our company.”
“DesTech is more than just a job for me, it’s a place I can go where I will be greeted by the happiness and laughter of my colleagues and customers.”
“DesTech truly cares about its employees and its education and consulting clients. That is its special secret ingredient.”
“I would like to sincerely thank Sherri and Fred, as well as all my colleagues and clients, for the experiences and opportunities you gave me. Our experiences shape us and thus, I am as I am now – in part – thanks to you all!”
“DesTech has been a great place to work for the past 21 years! DesTech has a family atmosphere and I really like that. My most memorable experiences are the company trips to Cancun and the Bahamas with the DesTech family. As an employee at DesTech, I strive to deliver the best quality that I can and help clients get the most out of their database. I believe our clients really appreciate this and that is what makes me go above and beyond.”