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Rob Gilfillan of Cenero

With 56 classrooms and 14 conference rooms full of audio-visual equipment used 24 hours a day, seven days a week by some of the most eager and bright students in the country, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania cannot afford even momentary failure.

The bastion of business brilliance might want to include Malvern-based Cenero, which provided Wharton with its Constant Connect 2.0 managed service to guarantee 100 percent uptime, in some upcoming case studies on how to grow a successful company.

President Rob Gilfillan is among two of three co-founders still leading the company, which has grown 3,000 percent since its founding in 1999. Cenero offers support for all AV conferencing system needs, design installation, managed services, cloud-based video solutions and event services for companies across the continent.

The company’s Constant Connect offering is a remote solution that includes proactive system monitoring and testing, reactive live support and a web-based portal that provides analytical data. Cenero has spent time on the Philly’s Fastest 100 and Inc. 5000 lists and in 2012 was named one of the Best Places to Work in Philadelphia.

What was the inspiration behind Cenero?
Cenero was originally founded in 1999 as an application service provider devoted to building online solutions for the Professional AV and Video Conferencing Market.  Eventually the company migrated to becoming its target client and these solutions were brought in house to help the company grow in excess of 30% year over year.

What advantages do being in your region hold for entrepreneurs?
Philadelphia is a great place to do business.  We never feel the highs or the lows which means you always have a decent economic environment to conduct business.

Where does your region need to improve in terms of support for entrepreneurs?
I actually think our region does a really great job in helping entrepreneurs,  local schools such as Drexel and Wharton have great programs to help young companies, local Chamber of Commerce organizations are very strong and there are plenty of for-profit peer groups such as CEO Think Tank and Vistage that are great for small companies looking to grow.

What's the big differentiator for Cenero?
Our employees truly set us apart.

Talk about some lessons you’ve learned running Cenero.
Two things: 1. I’ve always been very pragmatic with my approach to anything.  You quickly realize that you get what you pay for.  Pay people what they are worth and treat them well.  Training is expensive for any company and even more so for a small company. 2. Fail fast!

What's next for Cenero?
Cenero has just opened a Baltimore/DC office and plans expansion into North New Jersey and Pittsburgh within the next 18 months.  We also expect our Managed Service Group to grow in excess of 50% year over year for the next few years.

-- by Joe Petrucci

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