How trust, integrity and a fierce commitment to excellence became the foundation of Charter Solutions
An interview with Don Nutzmann, president, Charter Solutions
“I am really proud of the team we’ve assembled and of the work we do. I hope that we continue to grow and expand the firm and really make a difference in not only the Minnesota community, but nationally.” – Don Nutzmann
Don Nutzmann is an entrepreneurial leader through and through. Whether he’s solving customer problems, building cabinets, designing fishing lures, or rebuilding automobiles, Don thrives on creative problem solving, doing new things and finding a better way to do old things. That, in large part, is why he has thrived at Charter Solutions for the last 19 years.
Don joined Charter Solutions in 2003 after serving as COO for a small consulting firm in St. Paul. At the time, Don had met and became fishing buddies with Bill Leonard, co-founder of Charter Solutions, and had even hired Charter Solutions to complete a few projects for his employer at the time. When Bill learned that Don was thinking about leaving his current position and going back to woodworking for a change of pace, he invited Don to learn more about Charter Solutions.
“Bill called me on a Sunday and asked if I wanted to join the Charter team. I went into the office on Monday, met Dee on Tuesday, and had officially joined the company by Thursday of the same week,” said Don. “This was indicative of the Charter leadership and culture. I was also very aware of Charter and the reputation they had in the community, the work they had done, their client base, and how well connected the company was. So, once I met Dee, I knew this would be a good move for me.”
In addition to the Charter team, Don was also attracted to the work and clients that Charter had become known for.
“One of the first significant projects I worked on was for a local group of pathologists who were trying to implement a Laboratory Information Management System. The project had been underway for almost a year, and it lasted two years after I took over. This was my first real experience in healthcare and it was fascinating to learn about this specialty and to see how these physicians can so easily identify cancer cells,” said Don.
When it comes to the success of Charter Solutions, Don credits the team of strong thinkers who all have excellent business acumen, along with cross industry expertise that brings a wealth of experience to Charter and to its clients. This allows the team to identify pragmatic and effective solutions for clients.
Surviving in the tumultuous tech industry
After the 2008 recession, the number of consultancies in the Twin Cities dropped from over 500 to about 250. Charter Solutions survived and thrived because of their ability to deliver business results that keep clients relevant, without backing them into a tech corner.
Take cloud computing, for example. Charter Solutions saw the value of the cloud early on and began educating clients on the benefits, as well as their options for moving to the cloud. For industries like healthcare, which is “always on,” and for the retail industry, which is subject to significant seasonal fluctuations, cloud is a must-have business solution.
Looking ahead, Don believes that Charter Solutions is well positioned for future growth. With their team of experts, business savvy, and technology expertise, the Charter team will continue to help companies understand what they have for data, what they need, and how to connect the dots for business success.
Points of pride and significant milestones
In addition to helping launch the careers of many team members, Don also recalls significant transitions, such as entering the healthcare sector in 2006; circling the wagons around data analytics in 2012; becoming a Tableau partner in 2014; and formally becoming an AWS partner in 2016.
“I’ve always said it’s important that we win together. We’ve helped a lot of people launch their careers while helping our clients succeed. I’m really proud of that – of contributing to the betterment of our team and our clients.”
Don is especially proud of the honesty and integrity that is so central to Charter’s culture and philosophy, as well as the inclusive culture they have created.
“I love that I can be me at work. We work hard, but we like to have fun. We kid around, but we always know that we truly like and appreciate each other,” said Don. “We have people who have been here since day one. People come here and they stay and, while they’re here, they blossom. The culture of knowledge sharing keeps people here and keeps them growing.”