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Talking shop with Mike Unverferth of CPU Inc.
Mike Unverferth, director of sales and marketing at CPU Inc., has helped his clients tackle technology since computers first started appearing in Cape Girardeau businesses. Today he enjoys using the latest technology to help CPU customers make their businesses more efficient and effective.
Q: Tell me how your company CPU got started and how it's evolved over the years.
A: CPU started as the data processing division of a CPA firm. This was back when business computers took up a whole room. Many of the programs that CPU used were actually written by their own programmers. In 1977, CPU formed as a separate company to provide data processing services to area businesses. One of the main things CPU did for their customers was process payroll. We still process payroll for many of the same businesses that started with us around 30 years ago. As computer technology advanced, CPU started selling and installing computer systems in the businesses that previously relied on CPU to do their data processing. Currently CPU has two divisions, the information systems and services division and the payroll processing division.
Q: How did you get interested in this industry?
A: I have always been interested in technology. When I started college at SEMO, I planned on getting a business degree with a marketing major. I knew I wanted to be involved with computers, so I thought l would minor in computer science. I found out a minor required 15 hours, but with 18 hours I could get an AA degree in computer science. I graduated college in 1980 with a bachelor's of science in business and an AA in computer science. As for the technology, shortly after I graduated IBM introduced the first PC in 1981 and our business and industry has never been the same.
Q: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A: I enjoy both working with our clients and working with technology. Helping our clients solve problems and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their businesses is rewarding. Plus having and working with the newest and neatest technology is lots of fun.
Q:Technology in your business has changed drastically over the years. Tell me about some of the biggest changes you've seen.
A: I would say the Internet has been the biggest development in our industry since the invention of the computer. It has changed and revolutionized almost all aspects of our lives. In our business, and with most businesses, the instant access to vast amounts of information has changed the way we work. We are better able to service our clients and work on issues with their systems without even leaving our office. A current leading-edge technology that we work with is server virtualization and storage area networks. This technology provides businesses with greater computing power with a smaller hardware footprint, access to larger amounts of data with the capability for off-site storage and disaster recovery.
Q: What community organizations do you devote time to and why are these important to you?
A: I am a member of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Girardeau Noon Lions Club. The chamber membership is a great experience because of the vast network on business contacts I can maintain. Plus, I really appreciate their advocacy of local and area business interests. The Lions Club is a great organization because of all the service work that we do. Our biggest annual fundraiser is our Pancake Day, coming up on March 23. We have a great time working and socializing at Pancake Day in addition to raising money many worthy causes, local to international.
Q:What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
A: I am an avid sports fan and I love a good tailgate. I follow the Cardinals, Rams, Mizzou and SEMO. I also enjoy working out at HealthPoint Fitness.