John Givens

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John Givens
Source Office & Technology
CEO

2021: Source Office & Technology CEO John Givens refers to COVID-19 as a ‘black swan’, an unpredictable event that is “beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences”.

His lessons learned from the pandemic are:

  1. Stop. Review the data. Gather consensus from your team and advisors. Make informed decisions.  
  2. Take calculated risks in the short term that will benefit you in the long run.
  3. Be calm. Don’t have knee-jerk reactions which can’t quickly be changed. 
  4. Have a plan that addresses multiple scenarios and don’t be afraid to implement that plan.

On a specific note, Givens refers to the US government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as a life-saver for his company. “Never in my life have I taken a nickel from the US government. I have always been a contributor, never a taker –until COVID. The 2020 PPP forgivable loan gave us a safety net that kept the majority of our people gainfully employed during some extremely dark quarters while we were figuring out how to handle an almost immediate 35%+ drop in revenue. Our internal and external teams as well as peer companies where stupendous in sharing data, opinions, solutions, thoughts and ideas.”

Givens is looking forward to becoming a contributor again, but freely admits that it will not be an easy ride ahead as we slowly exit the pandemic.

2019: In a US market shrouded with uncertainty and major consolidation, Source Office & Technology continues to be an upbeat and progressive operator.

Under the guidance of company founder and CEO John Givens, the company is set to achieve double-digit growth in 2019. This, says Givens, is due to its primary mission of expanding deeper into customer-driven solutions and services. And it’s supremely well-placed to do so.

Source was one of the very early adopters of managed print services and copier solutions and has won many major accounts with innovative solutions that link paper, print and electronic content management with office supplies. 

Channel migration is a viable business strategy, says Givens, especially when providing additional support services that competitors can’t match. Source’s goal, he adds, is “to be the anti-Amazon company by providing solutions and services requiring in-person expertise”. Customers requiring installation, design, training, service or complicated deliveries – all things that Source provides – place a higher value on services and are less concerned about product cost.

While Source is strong in its transactional business – office supplies, jan/san, breakroom and furniture are all categories it’s involved in – it’s the print and copier side where it excels and puts a lot of focus. It launched a Xerox and Canon production print copier category in Q3 2019, to be followed by a Canon/Oce large format category in Q4 and a 3D printing segment in the first half of 2020.

2018: John Givens is a new entry to our Top 100 and has made the list for being one of the most progressive dealers in the US business supplies sector right now.

But he’s certainly no newcomer to the industry. He founded Denver, Colorado-based Source Office & Technology in 1990, starting – as he says – “in the shadows of the remanufacturing industry before finding the bright lights of HP-branded solutions”.

Today, Source is a $40 million operator that is proficient in a wide and varied line of product categories, encompassing everything from transactional office supplies, jan/san, breakroom and furniture sales to a broad range of contractual workspace solutions, including MPS and office coffee services.

What is exceptional about Givens and his company is a commitment to partnerships and collaboration, be that with its suppliers – among them HP, Canon and Xerox – wholesale partner (it has a long-standing relationship with SP Richards) or customers. An impressive 65% of sales come from the company’s contractual business, further illustrating its focus on providing service and solutions.