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Judges' Choice Award: North Bay Computer Services

"We have a good team. They work super-hard. I'm lucky."

Yann Fleury is well known in the Gateway City as the Man with the Plan when your hard drive crashes.

"We're like the 9-1-1 for technology." Hustle, perseverance, a penchant for same-day service, and being a fanatic when it comes to customer service has been a winning formula for the owner of North Bay Computer Services.

"Thanksgiving, Christmas, we're the guys that gotta go," laughs Fleury, who runs the home-based business with his wife, Shyanne, and six techs.

When Fleury went into business for himself in 2010, his goal was to become the number one computer service in the North. He's surrounded himself with a young go-get'em staff willing to gang-tackle the most challenging problems.

Their coverage encompasses the North Bay area, including Sturgeon Falls and Mattawa, but their techs have ventured as far as Manitoulin Island, Timmins, Orillia and Elk Lake to handle wonky debit machines and servers.

His team has been successful in recovering data from busted-up PCs thrown from a getaway car and from a downtown fire.

Fleury's drive "to be the very best" started while growing up in his father's electronics store – J.C. Fleury – in New Liskeard.

In the early days of personal computers, frustrated owners had to ship their systems back to the manufacturer to handle the snafus and wait who knows how long.

His motivation to become an entrepreneur came from working at retail stores that were big on selling computers but fell dramatically short on after-care service.

"I saw customers waiting two to three months for their system, which is crazy, especially if you're a business," said Fleury, who was chosen as the top seller at one big box chain between 2001 and 2010.

Out on his own, Fleury put his own best practices into use.

"When we sell computers we carry most parts so most computers are back up the same day. That's our goal."

Fleury is quick to attribute his company's success to his team.

When recruiting for techs he wants kindred spirits who shared his same drive and enthusiasm.

Keeping 9-to-5 hours is not always in the job description, especially when a business' debit, ATM or server crashes.

"You have no choice. When it goes down at the gas station or grocery store you gotta go."

Fleury feels he can't turn away someone in need.

On one occasion, a local businessman's laptop hard drive crashed the day before he had to catch a flight to make an out-of-town presentation.

"I kinda felt bad so I called the team in and three of us worked until midnight to get his presentation back up and going so he didn't miss his flight at 8 a.m."

Despite their hectic pace, the company sponsors sports teams and donates prizes and time for charitable causes and community events. Their commitment to service was rewarded with a North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce award in 2012.

The company is now making moves to expand into Ottawa to handle servers for big business.

At 37, Fleury has no worries about spreading himself thin. "I want to grow more; that's the plan.

"I'm feeling it some days," he said, in talking about working into the wee hours of the morning.

But that's a standard of performance he's set for himself and his company.

"We have a good team. They work super-hard. I'm lucky."