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Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify, Featured Entrepreneur, April 2009: Barbara VanKirk, President, IQ Inc.
Entrepreneur Believes In Team-First Success
Barbara VanKirk founded IQ Inc. in 1994 to provide professional consulting and software development services to companies with Information Technology needs and to contribute to the growth of IT professionals in the Pittsburgh area. With the ability to service both large and small businesses concerns, IQ Inc. has earned a reputation for quality and has served the medical, healthcare, transportation, software development, manufacturing, and high tech industries.
“My proudest business accomplishment has been and always will be the team we have assembled. Every single person that has walked through our doors whether an employee, a client or a vendor has contributed to our success,” VanKirk said. “I continue to experience the selfless generosity of each individual whether we are solving an extremely challenging business problem for our client or we are campaigning for cancer research or collecting clothing and food for those less fortunate. I am truly amazed and blessed to have been able to provide an environment where everyone feels they can make a difference.”
IQ Inc. is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) through the Port Authority of Allegheny County and the New Jersey Transit Authority and a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBENC) through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
“I proudly attribute much of our success to the dedication and integrity of our employees. Everyone checks their ego at the door and comes into work as a team. No one asks what I can do for them today, but how they can help to make IQ and our clients successful,” VanKirk said. “I can attribute much of our success to our ability to adapt to an ever-changing world. Over the years IQ has grown and evolved within the technology industry, from offering our consultants more career options, to our growing product and project development market segments. IQ has responded to the rapidly changing technology environment with confidence, constantly adapting and improving our knowledgebase and skill set as dictated by market demands. We have distinguished ourselves as a small company with a large presence.”
A graduate of Point Park University with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science, VanKirk was selected as one of “Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business” by Governor Edward G. Rendell in 2003 and by Enterprising Women’s Magazine as one of 2008’s Enterprising Women of the Year Award winners. In the fall of 2007 she was the recipient of the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce ROC’s (Recognizing Organizations and Companies that Shine in our Community) Entrepreneur of the Year Award. IQ Inc. was also named a finalist in the 2007 Pittsburgh Business Ethics Awards- Small Business Category by the Society of Financial Services Professionals, Pittsburgh Chapter.
VanKirk does not need to look far to find her source of inspiration.
“I believe that my father had the greatest influence on me. He ran a business from our home and was successful in raising 13 dynamic and individual children while creating a business that has since been passed on to future generations,” VanKirk said. “Over the years, he bestowed on me many great words of wisdom – two that come directly to mind. First, always take care of your employees before taking care of yourself; (I am sure this sounded simple at the time, but for my father, feeding 15 mouths every day must have been daunting at times). Secondly, Good Better Best, never let them rest, ‘til your good is better and your better is best. I must have repeated this mantra a million times without really understanding what it meant. My father instilled in me to always strive to be the very best, in anything and he lived by these words.”
VanKirk serves on the Executive committee of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce, the Murrysville Personnel Board and was recently appointed to the Forbes Health Foundation Board of Directors of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Forbes Regional Campus. She is also an active member of the following organizations: Women in Technology, Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Society of Women Engineers, the Women’s Presidents’ Organization, the Murrysville Business Development Committee, the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce, the Pittsburgh Airport Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council: PA-DE-South NJ chapter. She is a founding member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, in Westmoreland County whose goal is to ensure that the elderly citizens of the community are fairly represented. Barbara resides in Murrysville with her husband and her two children.
Her advice for other women in business is simple and succinct.
“Go after your dreams, build a plan, don’t take yourself too seriously, keep your sense of humor and always find time for “yourself,” VanKirk said. “Never compromise your principals and surround yourself with great people. Remember that coming together is only a beginning. Keeping together is progress and true success is working together.”