Posted at 3:27 AM
Life in the Big Easy has improved greatly for Marseyas S. Fernandez. His integrated digital solutions company, MSF Global Solutions, survived Hurricane Katrina and is rapidly growing to move beyond a regional focus to a global one.
A native of New Orleans, Fernandez is the founder of the company which specializes in Geospatial Information Services (GIS) and Information Technology development, implementation and management.
Started in 2003, MSF Global was established to provide local governments, universities, businesses, and charities with cost effective GIS and related IT services. Since its inception, the company has used GIS as a key technology in land records management, infrastructure management and economic/community development.
Under Fernandez’s initial conception and guidance, the City of New Orleans launched the Enterprise GIS System and Community on ONE Page, a portal designed to provide near and real-time information regarding the city’s Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.
MSF Global is expanding its capacity to provide interactive and integrated digital solutions in a variety of platforms. As a result, the company has worked on numerous projects for the City of New Orleans including the redevelopment of the New Orleans RTA website and mobile application, as well as the City of Miami, Department of Economic Development, tasked with providing expert consultation in developing economic development GIS collaboration for the department.
MSF Global Solutions has implemented several websites for transit systems around the country along with Veolia Transportation and is working on several web solutions for companies throughout the United States.
Prior to starting MSF Global Solutions, Fernandez had a career working for companies that included Bowne Management Systems, a leading provider of GIS services, Mel Engineers and the Urban Technical Assistance Project. He led GIS operations and gained considerable experience in working with all aspects of local government agencies and community-based organizations to deliver GIS and Web solutions.
According to Fernandez, he has witnessed his firm grow from $650,000 to $1.7 million from 2008 to 2010, which was a period where many firms saw their numbers decline. Fernandez said he expects to increase revenue this year due in large part to new partnerships.
“We had our challenges because of our heavy dependency on state and local government,” Fernandez said. “We had 100 percent renewal since 2009. That’s what helped us grow.”
He also attributes much of his success to the assistance that he received from the Louisiana Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC), located in New Orleans. The center is federally funded by MBDA.
“I’ve had great relationships at the center,” Fernandez said. “It’s meant a lot of introductions and networking. Our last three engagements have been a result of the center. They’ve created a great platform to put the word out there, and we put ourselves in the position to respond. Eileen Carter is one individual who has been very persistent and consistent in terms of making sure that we are taking advantage of opportunities.”
While Fernandez is passionate about keeping his base in New Orleans, he is just as adamant about expanding his global reach. Fernandez said he is establishing partnerships in India and Germany.
“My goal is for MSF Global to be a long-term partner with other governments and entities on a global scale. We want to provide services that make a difference and we are looking for partners that we can be in a complementary relationship with.”
MSF Global’s work has not gone unnoticed. The company has received awards including ESRI Business Partner of the Year State and Local Government Sector, City of New Orleans Web Development Award, GNO Inc. Special Achievement in GIS Award, Digital Government Best of the Web Award, and Special Achievement in GIS Award.
At the age of 38, Fernandez said he is motivated by innovation. “It’s the constant pursuit of innovation that helps to solve problems,” he said. “There are a lot of tools that are developed that are cool and easy, and cutting edge. For me, it’s about connecting that to everyday life or addressing something that represents a concern, problem or need that hasn’t been considered. We are always looking at the next level of opportunity or need.”
Fernandez said his company’s motto is, “If you can imagine it, we can deliver it.”
“I’m always thinking about pushing the boundaries. I try to create a culture where people are free to think outside the box,” he said. “The best part of my job is the ability to collaborate with the people around me and with customers. I get a rush being able to talk to people about ideas and solutions. I’m always thinking, ‘how do we solve something using technology?”