May 26, 1999, a Wednesday. While The Matrix played on movie screens, Google had just come out of beta. The operating system of choice was MS Windows 98 SE and America Online (AOL) was the dominant Internet service provider, which the overwhelming majority of users accessed their ISPs via a dial-up connection. The iPod, social media and YouTube did not yet exist.
That’s the day Henry Kenuam, Kevin O’Brien and I founded Engage. We knew the odds were against us when we each left our programing jobs to come together. More than 90 percent of tech startups fail within their first five years of existence. And this was less than a year before the dot-com bubble burst and before the widely-feared Y2K computer shutdown glitch proved to be the world’s biggest IT false alarm.
Technology and the world around us has changed and evolved many times over during the past 20 years. Engage didn’t just beat the odds. Our company has prospered and grown as a leader and innovator. The key to Engage’s success is simple, but not easy. We don’t just adapt to change, we embrace change and sometimes we’re even the change agents.
Engage started with full-time consulting engagements at large, local companies. Over time, we incorporated website development and custom software development into our services. Leveraging our expertise in Microsoft technologies, in 2003, we became an active contributor to the open-source DNN (formerly DotNetNuke) content management platform. With DNN core project team members, industry conference speakers, and DNN book authors on our staff, we have held a respected position of leadership and expertise within the DNN community.
Engage retains its DNN proficiency, but we continually demonstrate our value as a full-service web developer whose capabilities extend beyond a single platform to include front-and back-end development, responsive and mobile-optimized design, end-to-end project management, marketing automation, and analytics and digital strategy.
We bring a strong philosophy of customer collaboration to all our projects. We see projects as partnerships and our goals for a project are to attain short-term success (on-time and on-budget) while positioning our customers for sustained success. To do this, we include training in all our projects and empower our customers to be successful owners after handoff.
This hard-earned credibility has made Engage a trusted partner for advertising and marketing agencies, as they look to us to provide technical expertise to complement their in-house design talent. While we work with medium to large organizations in a range of industries, Engage has recently found success in the association/nonprofit and franchise markets.
Despite the changes we’ve experienced, as well as the changes we’ve initiated over the last 20 years, Engage’s standard for high-quality results remains a reliable constant. The proof is in our recent growth, expansion and innovations. To note just a few examples:
- In 2006, we built Engage Sports to streamline the administrative processes involved in managing a sports league.
- In 2016, we launched our Engage Evolution service model, which employs Agile methodology, to provide our clients with proactive services to keep their website fresh years after the site’s initial launch.
- In 2017, Engage launched our SaaS Association Management System, Engage AMS.
- In 2018, Engage opened a satellite office in Sarasota, Florida, which has broadened Engage’s geographical reach beyond our St. Louis headquarters.
Stay tuned for two new products to launch in 2019, which we developed based on the needs of our customers.
20 years in business. Over 120 years of combined experience. Approximately 12,000 websites launched.
Engage begins our next 20 years in business with acquired in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience developing a wide range of websites for associations, nonprofits, government entities and businesses. This proven experience helps guide clients to build a web presence that adds value to organizations and members alike.
Look forward to continued growth and expansion from Engage. We’re just getting warmed up!