Trend Spotting: Life as a Self-Employed Consultant

Growing up in the rural town of Three Lakes, Wis., Ken Conquest learned early on how important customer service could be. Success for his family’s lakeside summer resort depended upon satisfied customers. Poor service or an unfriendly attitude would have meant a serious loss of income. Today, he applies this knowledge as sole proprietor of TechroDyne LLC, an information security consulting firm he started in 1998.

Conquest said he knew early on that to realize his dream of moving from his country hometown to the “glamorous” city, he would have to be smart and work hard. His initial plan — to become a fighter pilot with the hopes of one day segueing into being an astronaut — was scrapped when he learned fighter pilots couldn’t wear eyeglasses, which he does.

However, during this time he read a story in National Geographic about how a laser system developed for NASA was being adapted to measure patients’ eyes and send information to a computer, and he became fascinated by technology. He soon vowed that, “If I can’t go to the moon, I’m going to do this technology stuff.”

A summer camp run by Michigan Technological University when he was in eighth grade “strongly influenced my college selection” and cemented his future aspirations, he said. In 1986, Conquest graduated from Michigan Tech with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, concentrating on computer engineering, systems and controls.

From there, Conquest worked as an entry-level IT security professional, holding down jobs…



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