The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Business

November 21, 2009

Tech expert: Being young is an edge

Nick Pappas talks fast and, with his purple shirt, dresses more like an entertainer than a businessman.

And much of what he says would be foreign to an older generation.

But at age 24, and with a vice president the same age, Pappas is using the newest technologies and computer tools in his 10-year-old technology services business, Pappas Development Group Inc.

The company offers a variety of services, from Web site design to phone systems.

“We have the advantage because we’re young,” he said.

Pappas, accompanied by his vice president, Shane Rovansek, spoke to St. Francis University students Monday as part of the Upstarts and Innovators series, sponsored by Greater Johnstown Keystone Innovation Zone and The Tribune-Democrat.

“Do something that’s fun,” Pappas told the students in an information systems class taught by John Miko.

“This is a new field, so there are no guarantees,” he said. “But it’s where things are happening now, and will be happening.”

Pappas started young, fixing computers for friends and family when he was still in ninth grade.

He graduated from Bishop McCort High School in 2003 and opted against college.

Instead, he decided to immerse himself in his own business.

It’s not a decision he regrets, Pappas said. He tells students that he’s “still learning every day.”

“The first five years were tough,” he said.

“And once you hit a profit, it’s a challenge to keep a profit.”

On his Web site, Pappas says his interests are ice hockey, football, technology, small businesses, networking, music, nightlife, residual income and watching comedy movies with Kristie, his girlfriend.

In the classroom, much of what Pappas discussed were the technicalities of search engines, Web sites and ownership of domains.

He said technology services are bound to expand.

He also stressed that technologies are ever-changing. One example he offers was his company’s CheckID.com site, which is designed to help fight identity theft. “We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with it,” he said.

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