Employee Spotlight: Justin Leatherman

Employee Spotlight: Alex Fitzer

As cybersecurity threats increase across the country, it is our employees’ job to provide quality and reliable work for our clients in a timely manner to get their businesses back to running smoothly as quickly as possible. Our customers trust that their computer networks, cybersecurity needs, disaster recovery needs, etc., are taken care of by people who care about their business. Alex Fitzer, one of C-Forward’s network engineers, works diligently every day to make the promise of security a reality.

Fitzer joined the C-Forward team in 2021 and attended college at the University of Louisville then made his way north to attend Northern Kentucky University where he achieved a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Technology focusing on IT Security and cloud computing. After working in the field for 11 years, Fitzer acknowledges that cybersecurity has become a lifelong passion and while working at C-Forward he has, “been able to add to my knowledge base and become a more well-rounded Engineer.”

As a Network Engineer, Fitzer helps troubleshoot and maintain our client’s computer networks to ensure the quality of their systems. On the day to day, Fitzer spends his time answering service requests on a wide variety of issues over the phone and in person. He also audits client networks to provide them recommendations for improvement, and ensures their technology meets their requirements. Fitzer states, “I think C-Forward leaves a positive impression on its customers…I think I’m most proud of our quality of work that we do here because there are so many other companies that ignore the customer and we don’t.”

Fitzer enjoys working at C-Forward as he has worked for larger companies before and prefers working at a smaller company that gives attention to their clients. He states, “I enjoy the relaxed nature of the company, it allows us to be able to really think and add to our knowledge base.” Fitzer also has a love for the holidays and events hosted by C-Forward for their employees year round to thank them for their hard work, He states, “ The events are fun and it’s nice to see people you work with day in and day out. I really enjoy the Christmas/Holiday event each year.”

Brian Ruschman, President of C-Forward states, “Alex has been an integral part of the C-Forward team for nearly three years now. Alex receives positive feedback from both clients and co-workers regarding his expertise and willingness to help! We are happy to have Alex on the C-Forward team!”

When Fitzer is not in the office, he enjoys doing a variety of activities including spending time with his kids, collecting vintage media, and traveling to explore other countries. Alex Fitzer has done an incredible job as a Network Engineer and we are grateful for all of his hard work and dedication to our team!

Employee Spotlight: Dan Rountree

C-Forward is known for our personal, proactive, and reliable approach to service. Our customers trust that their computer networks, cybersecurity needs, disaster recovery needs, etc., are taken care of by people who care about their business. Our company takes pride in our ability to overcome obstacles, troubleshoot problems quickly, and allow our clients to continue doing the work that they do best. Dan Rountree, one of C-Forward’s Network Engineers, is a key part of the operation that keeps our clients happy and their networks secure.

Since the start of his career as an Engineer, Rountree has worked in many areas of technology including disaster recovery solutions, voice & data and enterprise level server, and network and storage infrastructures. Rountree began working at C-Forward in 2016 after hearing great things about the work environment and the people involved from a recruiter. Rountree states that since then, the company has lived up to his expectations and he enjoys being a part of the team. Rountree says, “It is difficult to pinpoint a specific memory or thing at C-Forward that is my favorite. I’ve worked with so many great people over the years and have been involved in lots of interesting activities with clients and in the office.”

Rountree speaks highly of C-Forward and his time spent at the company due to our focus on client retention and client satisfaction. He states, “Our reputation is for providing exceptional service and I definitely think we do a great job here every day. Coming from a customer service background, that is always in the forefront of my mind. I have also been able to expand my skills in networking and security while working here to make sure our clients have the best and most up to date options for their networks.”

As a Network Engineer, Rountree helps troubleshoot and maintain our client’s computer networks to ensure the quality of their systems. On the average day, Rountree spends his time handling general support inquiries, auditing client networks to provide them recommendations for improvement, and ensuring their technology meets their requirements. He states, “Feedback is always positive from clients so I would say the impression is great. Many clients also refer us to others that need IT help.”

Brent Cooper, founder of C-Forward states, “Dan brings a thoughtful and caring approach to everything he does. His expertise and experience have made him one of our most valued employees. While he’s certainly tenacious in getting issues resolved, he’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. We are blessed to have him on our team.”

In his spare time, Rountree tends to a small farm, plays with his 3 dogs, and enjoys traveling from time to time. He says that working at C-Forward has made being able to do the things he enjoys much easier and that, “the flexibility in remote work and schedule is the most important aspect for me.” Dan Rountree has done an incredible job as a Network Engineer and we are grateful for all of his hard work and dedication to our team!

Employee Spotlight: Joe Madden

C-Forward has grown exponentially since our conception in 1999. Through this growth, we have been fortunate to retain many of our employees and have watched them grow with the rest of the company. An example of this is found through one of our Network Engineers and vCIOs (Virtual Chief Information Officer), Joe Madden, who has been with C-Forward for 10 years and has seen firsthand what growing with a company looks like.

Madden wanted to be a part of the C-Forward team after meeting with other C-Forward employees and being impressed with the work that they do both for their clients, and for the community in terms of donations and community service. He began working as a helpdesk technician and worked his way up to the vCIO position within the span of a few years. Madden states, “Through C-Forward, I have been given the opportunity to improve my skill sets daily and that helped me move into the vCIO position.”

Joe Madden is a skilled Network Engineer, bringing over 15 years of experience in Information Technology. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional with experience in many Microsoft applications, ranging from Servers, Routers, Firewalls, Active Directory and Desktop Support. On the day to day, Madden does a variety of jobs around the office including desktop/server and Network administration/VCIO work. Madden also makes daily client visits to keep up to date on the status of clients’ networks and answer any questions they may have about their servers. Madden stated, “My favorite part about my job is working on the variety of tickets that come with being an MSP (Managed Service Provider) and supporting our clients in any way they need.”

Madden speaks highly of C-Forward and his 10 years spent at the company. He states, “What makes me most proud about working at C-Forward is the company culture along with the way C-Forward supports their clients with general day to day issues.” He also believes that we leave a good impression on our customers and retain our clients because of our efficiency. He states, “I believe they [our clients] love the timely manner we respond and fix the issue correctly the first time.”

In his spare time, Joe enjoys coaching youth sports, traveling, and off-roading in the mountains with his Jeep. Joe lives in Indiana with his wife and two boys and a beautiful chocolate lab – Dierks Bentley. Joe Madden has become an integral team member over the years and C-Forward is very grateful for all his hard work!

Employee Spotlight: Austin Bland

C-Forward’s motto of being personal, proactive, and reliable has been the center focus of our company since its inception. Being personal, proactive, and reliable in our services allows our customers to feel assured their networks, cybersecurity needs, disaster recovery needs, etc., are taken care of by people who care about their business. Austin Bland, our Centralized Services Engineer, is one of the key figures making sure the company lives up to that motto. 

Coming all the way from Chicago, Bland moved to Cincinnati and went to school at Northern Kentucky University where he pursued his love for computer information technology. After graduating, Bland states that finding C-Forward in 2019 was a perfect fit for him, “C-Forward was a well-established MSP in the Greater Cincinnati area and had a full-time position for Centralized Services which is exactly what I was looking for.” 

On the day to day, Bland’s job is to monitor and troubleshoot any issues with our disaster recovery solutions, as well as help support our technicians with any ‘day-to-day’ challenges they run into with our internal support software. He also works on automating our systems so, as Bland says, “C-Forward can focus more on being proactive, just as in our motto.” Since working here, Bland was nominated for an internal “You’re Awesome” Award in March of 2022 and has continued to live up to the award title. Brent Cooper, owner and founder of C-Forward, states, “Austin is a pleasure to work with! He’s become a critical part of our C-Forward team.”

Austin has been working at C-Forward for almost four years now and enjoys coming to work every day. Bland states, “Everyone is always willing to help each other out and we all joke around with each other. I also enjoy all of the social events that C-Forward has held over the past few years. It’s nice to get together with everyone and get to know them better.” 

In addition to the people, Bland is proud to work at C-Forward because of the office culture that has been cultivated around living up to our motto. He states, “I really enjoy the work culture. I’m proud to feel that my opinions and ideas are taken into consideration when I have input on technical or business decisions. I think it’s important that everyone feels they have a voice and I feel that is the case at C-Forward.” Bland also noted that the positive work culture translates to how we interact with our clients, stating, “I think we leave a good impression through our personal focused customer service and our philanthropic efforts to help the community.”

Bland states he has also been able to grow his skillset since starting at C-Forward, “I have gotten to touch a lot of technology that I did not have the opportunity to previously. Some examples are getting more familiar with backup technology, learning how to configure and troubleshoot Storage Area Network (SAN) devices, and working with automation tools to make tasks easier for our technicians and customers.” These opportunities have allowed Bland to not only help more clients, but to also grow as a technician.

Outside of C-Forward, you can find Bland spending the majority of his time with his wife, Amy, and their daughter, Nora, practicing his bass guitar for his future band, or playing video games with his friends. Austin Bland has a bright future at C-Forward and we are grateful for all his hard work!

Employee Spotlight: Ben Virost

As an IT company, C-Forward prides itself on our employee’s abilities to do quality and reliable work for our clients. Ben Virost, one of our Technical Services Supervisors, embodies our mission to do just that every day in the office through his team management, knowledge of cybersecurity, and overall quality work ethic. As C-Forward’s longest tenured employee, Virost began his 17 year old journey at the company after graduating from Northern Kentucky University. Virost said, “I was extremely fortunate to happen upon the job listing at NKU as I was approaching my final semester. Brent decided to take a chance on me.” 

Virost started as a network technician in 2006 before working his way up to Technical Services Supervisor in 2014. On the day to day, Virost plans, directs, and supervises our operations at C-Forward, helping with technical repairs clients might be facing and operational support. Virost also manages his own team of technicians at C-Forward that work to support our clients. He and his team make it possible for our clients to have the best quality service. Virost says, “I think C-Forward leaves a great impression through our personal service.” 

Virost has enjoyed working at C-Forward over the years, stating that he likes the challenges of solving issues for clients and being able to respond in a timely manner to problems with their networks. He says, “I like that we’re an MSP [managed service provider] as you get to see something new every day.” Virost also adds that he likes the culture of the company and our willingness to give back to our community through donations, sponsorships, and fundraising saying, “It makes me proud that we make so many philanthropic efforts with numerous non-profits around the community.”

Brent Cooper, C-Forward’s owner and founder, said of Virost, “It has been a wonderful experience to watch Ben go from a co-op just starting out his career, to now one of our Supervisors. He is a hard working, dedicated, and caring person who always strives to leave things better than he found them. We are so lucky to have him at C-Forward. ”

Outside of C-Forward, Virost likes to stay active by being out in the sun playing ultimate frisbee or in the cold playing broomball, a sport similar to ice hockey. The C-Forward team admires Virost and his ability to be a team player both at work and at play. Ben Virost has been an incredible addition to the C-Forward team since he started almost two decades ago and we are excited to see what amazing things he accomplishes in the future.

Employee Spotlight: Hannah Francis

At C-Forward, we make a promise to our clients that we will always be on call to help them with their IT/cybersecurity needs. We believe that our clients deserve clear, fast, and empathetic communication from our team, especially when there is an “urgent issue.” Hannah Francis, our Client Services Administrator, is a big factor in our success. On an average day, Francis’s day consists of resolving client issues and juggling the billing, collections, deposits, accounts receivables and payables. Francis began at C-Forward over 8 years ago and has continually provided valuable services to all the clients she has worked with. Brent Cooper, C-Forward’s owner and founder, said of Francis, “Hannah has been a critical part of our overall success.  She is fun, friendly, thoughtful and caring, and she always makes sure our customers and her co-workers are taken care of. Through her work, both internally and externally, Hannah helps to make sure our IT Services are “Personal, Proactive and Reliable.”

Another part of Francis’s job is coordinating community outreach opportunities for employees. This has included company parties/gatherings, as well as community service efforts. Francis acknowledges how proud she was of C-Forward’s community involvement throughout the region stating, “It’s great to work for an employer who helps and cares about what is going on in the community.” Francis expresses that she enjoys working at C-Forward because of the flexible, positive work environment that has been maintained over the years.  She says that her favorite events she has been a part of over the years was the 20th Anniversary Party and Mardi Gras at the Convention Center. She states, “C-Forward just really cares about their employees,” and, “I think that is reflected in the work that we do.”  

Hannah has two wonderful kids and spends a lot of her free time watching them play sporting events. Francis is a pretty good softball player, when she does not find herself lost in a book. The C-Forward team admires Francis for being so committed to the things that she loves and continues to be a positive force in the office. Hannah Francis has been an incredible addition to the C-Forward team since she started almost a decade ago and we are excited to see what amazing things she does in the future.

Bryan Cobb Newest VP at IT Services Firm C-Forward

Covington, KY — January 19, 2023 — C-Forward, an Information Technology (IT) service provider headquartered in Covington, has announced a new Vice President.

Bryan Cobb has been promoted to the management team as Vice President vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer). Bryan joined C-Forward in 2016 as Project Supervisor. Prior to C-Forward, he spent 15 years as the IT/Facilities Director at the Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD) where he helped position it as one of the most technologically advanced ADDs in the state of KY.

“Bryan possesses the enthusiasm and skill for this next step. His drive and ability to secure our clients’ networks is unparalleled” said Brian Ruschman, President. “He has unfailingly shown that he has the right mix of foresight, knowledge, and passion for our company, our customers and our community. He will excel in this new role.”

“Our management team has taken our company to new heights the past five years, with double-digit revenue growth each year” said Brent Cooper, C-Forward’s Founder and Owner. “Last year, we had 98% customer retention and 95% employee retention.  Those kinds of results are unheard of in our industry and give us tremendous confidence as we continue to grow the business.  With Bryan now joining the management team, we are definitely looking forward to the future!”  

“Bryan exemplifies what we always try to cultivate among our team and in our culture.  He performs at a high level, lifting people up around him” said Mike Grout, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “He provides exceptional and thoughtful customer service and has fun while doing it.  I’ve had the privilege of hiring Bryan and watching him grow over the last 7 years.  He’s been a huge part of our recent success and I’m excited for him to join our Leadership Team as we continue our growth.”

Bryan will oversee C-Forward’s vCIO and auditing services’ department which enables C-Forward to identify customer problems before they happen. He also oversees Cybersecurity services and enjoys the human element involved in protecting customer networks.

“I’m excited to be able to continue to strengthen our customers cybersecurity posture with C-Forward’s proactive Cybersecurity, vCIO and auditing services. With the rise in cybercrime over the last decade, companies need to be agile and proactive with their cybersecurity initiatives. C-Forward helps business owners sleep better at night because of the work we do. It will certainly be a challenging, yet rewarding, role for me to be in.”

Bryan is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a BS in Computer Science. He is also a graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky (Class of 2013)  and served on the Leadership Education Day Committee.  In 2012, Bryan started New Haven’s first father engagement program at New Haven Elementary called “Tiger Dads,” which enlisted over 300 father figures. Bryan also serves on the NKY MakerSpace Steering Committee, the Boone County Education Foundation Board and was a Cub Scout leader for 4 years.

Employee Spotlight: Matt Rayburn