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Vote for the Next Vetrepreneur® of the Year!

Vote for the Next Vetrepreneur® of the Year!

Bede Ramcharan: Bridging Military Leadership and Business Acumen

Bede Ramcharan 2015 Minority Vetrepreneur of the year

“Customer service is not handled with a 9mm.” That’s just one of the sayings Bede Ramcharan, a retired Army officer and founder, president, and CEO of Indatatech, has coined in the 15 years since he retired from military life. In 2000, Ramcharan launched his first company, a move which required him to not only leverage some key military-learned skills, such as leadership, but also leave a few behind. 

Today, Indatatech has a global presence, providing its services to organizations all over the U.S. and across the world. With locations in San Antonio, Houston, New Hampshire, Germany, and soon in Washington, D.C., Indatatech has grown exponentially, with revenues growing by almost 300 percent from 2012 to 2014. Ramcharan’s impressive success, coupled with his dedication to serving the veteran business community, make NaVOBA proud to celebrate him as the 2015 Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year®. 

A Lighter Touch

Soon after founding the logistics and supply-chain management company 15 years ago, Ramcharan discovered he needed to learn how to listen to his customers rather than talking at them and insisting he knew what they needed. A softer touch (sans handheld weapon) is required, and that took him time to develop. He stresses the importance of building a relationship with customers, and becoming their partners. That’s because, as Ramcharan is also known to say, “You don’t make a sale, you develop a customer.” 

Indatatech (which stands for Instant Data Technologies) is a full-service management and consulting company specializing in supply-chain processes, procurement, and logistics management services. The organization began as a fixed-asset management company: assisting companies in the oversight, control, and decision-making of all their physical property, from computers and IT equipment to desks, chairs and other office items. This service still represents the core of Indatatech’s offerings, and it involves creating digital catalogs for organizations that detail each and every item they own, including the items’ condition, value and other invaluable information.

Chain of Events 

From there, Ramcharan explained, “We naturally evolved into doing inventory control. Then people began saying, ‘If you’re managing our assets, can you also manage our inventory?’ Then, ‘If you’re managing our inventory, can you also manage our warehouse?’ We are now  a complete supply-chain management company. We help people with everything from procurement, sourcing, inventory, and the logistics of the products they need to run their businesses. We even have our own suite of inventory apps that run off of Android and iPhone.”

Soon after, Indatatech evolved further, entering the field of human resources inventory management. Its staffing professionals offer recruiting expertise within the engineering, IT, admin, technical and supply-chain fields. 

“What we do cuts across all industries—we work with Fortune 100 business all the way down to medium-sized businesses. Half of our business comes from commercial clients and the other half comes from the government. We have worked directly with military, HUD, NASA and corporations such as Ricoh, Abbott Labs and Novartis. A lot of what we have done is around mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies—these are times when it’s critical to know what a business has in terms of inventory and assets. We come in and perform a forensic audit, tracking down every piece of equipment and determining where it originated, what it cost, its remaining useful life, and so on.” 

Financial Literacy

Ramcharan left the military after 20 years of service in the Army, a career he fully intended to utilize in order to receive a scholarship, and nothing more. However, Ramcharan says he “just kept having fun,” so he stayed with the military long enough to become a lieutenant colonel, learning how to be an outstanding leader along the way. 

“The military is a great organization—there is no place better to learn leadership. But it’s not the school of business. There are skills you don’t learn in the military, and the biggest one is the finances of running a business. You can be a fantastic leader, but if you can’t pay your employees, you’re not going to get very far.”

Ramcharan encourages vets to “go back to school” to understand the financial components of owning a business. But he stresses that there’s no need to necessarily return to traditional education, explaining that he sought out successful business leaders, built relationships with banks, and went to a series or course or seminar whenever he could. He even asked some of his customers for help in learning about some of the financial aspects of their business. 

New Chapters

Not one to sit on his laurels, Ramcharan continues to forge ahead with new endeavors. Four years ago, Ramcharan spun a new company off of Indatatech called IDTCM, a construction management firm that helps organizations such as clinics and hospitals with the logistics of moving and expanding into new facilities. And just last year, Ramcharan founded the San Antonio Veteran’s Institute (SAVI), a nonprofit organization that supports minority veterans through transportation to and from healthcare facilities, assistance negotiating the VA benefits system, among others. 

Ramcharan also sits on the boards of the San Antonio and Houston Chambers of Commerce, the National Veterans’ Business Association and serves as the executive director of the Alamo City Chamber of Commerce.  

What’s next for the dynamic 58-year-old is anybody’s guess. He’s certainly not showing any signs of slowing down. 

As Ramcharan says, “Life is like a book; you’re constantly turning pages and starting new chapters.”

Photos By Erin J. Photography 

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