Why did you start the business, what was the catalyzing event?
I really wish that I had something truly inspirational to say about this, like “I always knew as a child that I wanted to start a company that did mobile medical diagnostic testing that focused on helping people avoid catastrophic health issues (like heart attacks and strokes)…but it was nothing like that.
The truth is, I was one of those dummies working in business development for a dotcom company that was doing about $30 million in revenue and had a pre-IPO valuation of over a billion dollars. The company screwed up their S-1 filing, which delayed them going public.They quickly circled the drain and I got a call saying I had been RIF-ed…a ‘reduction in force’.
Two of my counterparts got the same call and we originally decided to start a sales consulting company that would help small businesses grow. We met a company that wanted to hire us to help them grow their medical testing business- we instead decided to try doing something similar on our own.
How did you find your first customer?
We were initially scared to death to talk to doctors, because we were afraid they would ask us some crazy medical question that we had no idea how to answer. We would always go on calls in pairs in our suits and drop off cheesy homemade brochures at the front desk. We somehow got a practice administrator to call us and we ended up convincing him to give us a try. We never met the doctor until the day we started doing stress tests on his patients in his office. The fact that we were able to pull this off still has me in disbelief.
Describe your first office/location.
We still had a 1099 business development relationship with the dotcom company somehow and were able to trade some ads for office space at an ExecuTrain franchise office in Addison. Three of us shared a single office and we had access to one closet to store our equipment.
What’s the most creative thing you did to get your business started, or kept it going through a tough time?
We once hired an Elvis impersonator to do cold calls and he would sing songs on request. It didn’t work out so well for either of us.
What’s something quirky or superstitious you do as a CEO?
I don’t consider myself the CEO, just a founder. Luckily, we hired a competent CEO to run the company who could do it better than us. However, I love a good icebreaker to start meetings and have used a few that should have gotten me kicked out of the meeting.
What was your last job working for someone else? What was your favorite day job?
The last paycheck I received was from techies.com in 2001. My favorite day job was being a waiter at Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth, while attending school.
Where did you come up with the name for your company?
I was having lunch with my partners at a Mexican restaurant. We were trying to come up with a name and most of the ideas were some kind of TLA- three letter acronym. They were all pretty lame. Maybe it was because I am a native of the Rio Grande Valley, but for some reason “Frontera” popped into my brain. It means “frontier” or “border” in Spanish. I thought it was unique and innocuous to set us apart from others and it has served us well over the years. We like to say, “we love to transcend borders and enter new frontiers”!