Bill Van Wyck

Born: Greenwich, CT

Mother: Margaret

Father: Herbert (Passed away 1989)

Brothers: Walter, Timothy, Peter

Prior to OOB: Director, Corporate Sales, Catalink Direct, Inc. / Co-owner Computer Specialties, Inc.

I'm the youngest of four brothers in my family. I somehow broke the well-planned two-year span between them and came six years after Peter. I've done pretty well for myself considering that my family is typically middle-class.

After high school, I tried college. It wasn't a good fit and I returned home midway through my first semester.

Bill at the helm through Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa

I went through a number of jobs in quick succession before I met my future business partner, Terry Quinn. Terry and I hit it off and he hired me as a stock boy for a company that sold personal computers. The stock boy position was tough. The store was selling a ton and I was making sure the product got out the door and delivered accurately to the customer. I was good at it, though. Month after month, I won the employee of the month. Eventually, Terry offered me a position in Corporate Sales, and I accepted. Within three months, I secured a huge account in the area which shot me to the top five reps in the company. Sales came easy to me and so did new accounts.

Even though things were going well for me, they weren't for the company, and Exel went bankrupt in 1989. Terry and I had long discussed starting our own company, and after a brief stint managing the Stamford, Connecticut office of The Computer Factory, we decided that this was our opportunity. Our idea was to start a computer company that would specialize in hard-to-get special order equipment such as high end tape backups, CD-Jukeboxes, and obsolete and discontinued stuff. We would provide these products quickly and at a reasonable price. Our mission was to be highly profitable without high overhead. And so Computer Specialties, Inc. was founded in May of 1990.

Our first month of sales we sold about $5,000.00 ( I had previously sold several million a year!) At the end of our first year, we sold around $50,000.00. Year two, $2.50M. Year three, $6.0M. Year four, $9.0M. At the end of the fifth year we had sold over $11.0M for the year with seven employees. We were lean, mean and very profitable.

In the spring of 1994, we found an interesting little set of diskettes on the desk of our top corporate customer. Terry took a quick look at them and realized that this software, which was being mailed to virtually all of the accounts in the area, would allow them to buy all of their computer products electronically for significantly less than we could! Very scary. Terry decided to call the CEO of this software company, called Catalink Direct, to see if we could license the software from them for our area. One thing led to another, and we were acquired by Catalink in October of 1994. It was a huge risk, because instead of selling for cash, we sold for stock, and the stock technically had no value unless Catalink went public. We could have lost everything, but we had tremendous faith in the CEO of Catalink, and so we consummated the deal.

Catalink went public in December of 1995. After 10 years of hard work, my dream of sailing the world became a reality.

Embarrassing Pictures of Bill Growing Up


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