Beep, Beep!

Computer Consulting Company

Like Little, it seems all these trailblazers have that certain savoir-faire-that ability to make age and appearances a nonissue. Nicholas Chavez, for instance, started blazing a trail at 15, when he started his first computer consulting company in Arvada, Colorado, where he grew up. At 17, Packard Bell, IBM and Lucent Technologies were using his services. By the time he was 18, the U.S. Department of Defense was calling on him.

Even as a child, Chavez was convinced he wouldn't be the guy with the beige sedan going to the same job every day. He was right. Today, the 21-year-old drives a Jaguar, owns a large home in the Houston suburbs and employs eight independent contractors. More important than these material belongings, though, is Chavez's seemingly innate confidence. It's what allowed him to speak in front of crowds at age 5. It's what prompted him to strike up a conversation with a big-name architect on an airplane and hatch the concept of a secure, interactive online database for architects, construction teams and their customers, dubbed ProjectVault.com. And it's what's allowed him to successfully launch three other dotcoms in addition to ProjectVault: IlluminatiSystems.com (Web design and hosting), WowRecruits.com (a recruiting database for sports scouts and players) and httphomes.com (a service for real estate agents).

Ask Chavez the true secret to being a trailblazer, however, and you might get a different answer. "My father always said he would rather have a thief living in the house than a liar," says Chavez, also the father of a 1-year-old son, Nicholas Chavez III. "If you don't have integrity, you don't have what it takes."

Here's to hoping that history will repeat itself for a long time to come.

Get a computer consulting business of your own. But first read Get With The Program to find out how to get your computer consultant smarts.

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This article was originally published in the January 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Beep, Beep!.

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