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Family business a success

By DON HOHLER • Mar 7, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Chad Stein runs one of Norwalk’s best kept secrets.

The president of arguably Norwalk’s fastest growing firm, SC Strategic Solutions, Stein graduated from St. Paul in 1997 just days after he stood atop the awards stand as the state discus champion. He then went on to John Carroll where he was a two-time All-American in the same event. Armed with a degree in business with a focus on logistics, Stein has made his college major an unquestionable success as he now heads a firm that processes a staggering 170,000 pages of copy a day.

“I just keep my head down and focus on moving the firm to new levels,” the 39-year-old father of five said.

Stein moved his 17-year-old firm from Middleburg Heights to Norwalk five years ago, purchasing the 56,000-square-foot Eureka Coach Building in Norwalk’s Industrial Park.

“It is a neat coincidence that as a 10-year-old in 1989, I tagged along with my father as a photographer’s helper the day he was hired to take shots of the construction of the very building I now own,” Stein said.

“The business has been going very well,” he said. “Because of that we are looking to expand. We are looking to purchase a second building.”

Stein started at the bottom, working first as a paper salesman for a Parma firm, Today’s Business Products. One year later he was recruited by the CSC Group, based in Brecksville, as an out-side sales executive. His next stop was Ames Digital in Boston where he managed the eastern part of the U.S., traveling five days a week.

“In a somewhat strange turn of events, I had been promoted to vice-president of sales, when, at 30 weeks, our first daughter was born,” Stein said. “My boss would not take ‘no’ for an answer when I told him I could not be in Texas the following day because of the premature birth and the child being in an incubator. The bottom line is I quit Ames Digital.”

With firm knowledge of the business learned from his two previous job stops, Stein started his own records management company, SC Strategic Solutions, a software and service company that helps business clients go paperless.

The firm has 400 clients, some of them using it as many times as once a week. Others need SC’s services once a year.

“I truly enjoy software development,” Stein said. “The support of my family had a lot to do with my coming back to Norwalk and starting a business venture of this size.”

And the family is fully involved. His father Dick Stein, the state representative, is the special projects coordinator along with facilities manager. His mother, Patty, handles payroll. Younger brother Troy runs a critical part of the company, sales and services, while an uncle, Tom, is employed in the warehouse.

The business starts with the drivers who arrive at a client location where they pack and box physical paper records. They return to the warehouse where everything is inventoried. The data goes to the scanning operation where computer operators, using 60 desk-top computers, process that paper into a digital format. From there the software development team takes over and manages all the electronic content and distributes it back to the clients.

“From that point, our clients only have to log into the internet and access all their information,” Stein said. “The key word in using our services is ‘efficiency.’”

Among SC’s local clients is Borgers and Norwalk City Schools.

“Most of our clients are in the education market, such as schools where we are largest provider of these services in the state. But, we also have clients in government and small business.”

It is a quiet operation, although last year it did receive the area’s Economic Development Agency’s Maple Leaf Award.

“Our 45 employees must be skilled at what they do,” Stein said. “If they are in software, they have to understand software development. If they are a scanner, they must have full attention to detail. If they are in the warehouse or out on the road, they have to stay to the task and be physically fit.

“We love what we do down here,” he added. “Working with your family might not be the perfect fit for some but for the Stein family it sure works.”

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