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Nina Vaca — Founder and CEO, Pinnacle Technical Resources

Nina Vaca (NV): The staffing industry is not a sexy industry. Nobody goes to college and says, “I’m gonna run a staffing company.” But corporations will always need people, will always need talent.

CARD: Nina Vaca – Founder + CEO – Pinnacle Technical Resources – Texas – USA

NV: Pinnacle Technical Resources provides technology, IT contractors, to the Fortune 500. I started Pinnacle in 1996 from my apartment… floor. I was young, and single, and very confident.

CARD: Nina grew up in Los Angeles, one of five children. Her parents immigrated from Ecuador to California in the 1960s.

NV: My parents were in the travel industry. My sister and I were full-fledged travel agents by 15 and literally we’d call the airlines and make the reservation, everything was manual. One day my father brought a computer to the business. And I was fascinated. I didn’t have to stay on hold for an hour. And so I could easily log into a computer and make a reservation.

CARD: Nina saw that technology would streamline the industry. But her father still worked long hours on paperwork.

NV: In and around the travel industry there was a lot of robberies. You know, that’s how I lost my father. He was at the agency by himself and, you know… a thief came in that day. And… I don’t even think they meant… to kill him. By the time we got to the hospital… My family was devastated. Absolutely devastated.

CARD: Nina was 17, just out of high school. She and her older sister stepped in to run their father’s business.

NV: I learned every day that that is not the life that I wanted. And so I begged my mother to go to college. And my mother said, “Okay. Under one condition: you stay close to home.” And so, we sold the business and we moved to Texas.

CARD: Nina graduated from Texas State University in 1994, with a degree in communications and business.

NV: My interest in technology never faltered. In my first job out of college was with none other than a technology firm in New York City. I would’ve stayed with the company forever but the reality is I missed my family.

CARD: In 1996, Nina moved back to Texas and launched Pinnacle Technical Resources with $300. That same year, she met her husband, Jim Humrichouse.

NV: We were married in ‘97. And I married my best friend’s big brother.

CARD: Nina and Jim had four children in six years.

NV: The company, quite frankly, was doing fantastic. The marketplace was looking for IT talent. Then 9-11 hit and our country was devastated and so was our industry. We had come down to a liquidation plan. And, you know, all the consultants told me that it was time to wrap it up.

CARD: In an effort to save Pinnacle, Nina recruited her sister, brother, and husband. And she set out to reposition her company.

NV: When nobody’s purchasing what you have to sell, you have to reinvent yourself. So I visited one-on-one all my customers. If they’re not buying contract labor, what are they buying? They were buying projects. Fix-priced, deliverable-based IT solutions.

CARD: That year, Pinnacle bid on contracts for 40 projects and won just two. But they sent company earnings soaring to two million dollars.

NV: And then two million to four million and four million to 10 million and 10 million to 40, and 40 to 140, and the rest is history.

CARD: Pinnacle has grown to 4,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada.

NV: So we’ve come a long way from a living room floor. And where is Pinnacle going? We have set the proverbial stake on the ground and we’re going to a billion dollars in revenue. We have all the right people to do it, all the right momentum, and all the right clientele.

CARD: In 2010, Nina was elected chairman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She tirelessly promotes Latina entrepreneurship.

NV: My father instilled an incredible level of confidence, not arrogance, confidence. And a dose of humility that I think really made me who I am today. And I think her knew back that there was a lot that I could accomplish.

Nina Vaca Video Credits:

Producers – Victoria Wang and Sue Williams
Director – Sue Williams
Editor – Merril Stern
Director of New Media and Outreach – Karin Kamp
Director of Photography – Sam Shinn
Associate Producer – Nusha Balyan
Assistant Editor – Matt Strickland
Social Media Coordinator – Christina Wu
Music – Killer Tracks

Photos Courtesy of:
Andy Gippetti
D. Robert Wolcheck
David King
123rf: martyhaas; lightwise; tlorna
Yay Micro: kjpargeter; scusi

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