The Daily Transcript pays tribute to San Diego's newest entrepreneurs and leading newsmakers.
Entrepreneur proves business plan works by starting own company
ELIZABETH MALLOY, The Daily Transcript
Plenty of office workers think they could run their companies better than the bosses. Yukon Palmer went out and did it.
In 2000, while studying for his Master of Business Administration at San Diego State University and working for a fleet tracking company, Palmer, 36, wrote a business plan to improve his own company. He wanted to utilize more technology to reduce labor costs and improve operations. Feeling like he didn't have enough influence in his company to get the plan put into action, Palmer decided to start his own business, FieldLogix, in 2002.
"We have customers all over the country," he said. "New York, Florida, here. Really all four corners of the U.S."
FieldLogix uses GPS technology to help companies keep track of their fleets of vehicles. The company offers services that help customers not only see where their cars and trucks are, but how fast they're going, or if they're spending a lot of time idling. The company offers a "green GPS" product as well, where employees will analyze how much pollution a customer's fleet is putting into the air and help them find ways of reducing it.
FieldLogix uses analytics, creating reports on many different aspects of fleet management. Customers can choose which reports are important to them, whether it's speed, carbon emissions or something else.
Palmer keeps his company small, with only seven employees, by using a lot of automated technology and contractors. He estimated the company uses 50 or 60 contractors. The company also established technology partnerships with Garmin International (Nasdaq: GRMN) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to provide better solutions to its customers.
After starting the company with $3,500 and turning it into a $3.5 million business, Palmer has reason enough to think the business plan he wrote 10 years ago was a success. But through that plan, he's able to influence students even today. One of his professors at SDSU liked the plan so much that he now teaches it to students. Usually he'll have them read the report, then talk about it in class -- with Palmer present, although the students don't know he wrote it. After the discussion, the professor introduces Palmer and lets the students ask him questions.
"It's always kind of interesting to sit in the back of the class and hear them tear them it apart," he said with a laugh.
But Palmer said he gets a lot out of those sessions as well. When he first wrote his business plan, it was from a very academic standpoint, he said. He adjusted much of it once he got into the real world. He said it's nice to be able to approach it from the original angle again.
"When I'm there, I rethink it from an academic standpoint, which helps a lot," he said.