With no more than a few hundred dollars and a bag phone, Union resident Ted Wuertz set out in 1993 to start his own mobile computer repair business — AQM Computer Help.
Wuertz, who had a 13-year background in hospitality, worked for a company that helped automate hotels by installing and maintaining computer systems, as well as setting up the accounting system for the hotel’s front office
Although almost a staple today, computers in the early ’90s were not as user friendly as they are today.
“I learned (to install and repair computers) the hard way; there was nobody to help me,” Wuertz said. “If you had a problem with your Novell server, you called Novell and they referred you to Book 17, Page 38, and wished you luck.”
Born in Washington but living in Park City, Utah, at the time, Wuertz wanted to move back to the area after his son Matthew was born. In May 1993, the Wuertz family moved to Union.
It was about that time that Wuertz noticed that computer repair shops all had one thing in common — they all required the customer to bring their computer to the business. The process was cumbersome and confusing for customers, Wuertz said, especially since there were many more plugs and cords on computers than there are today.
So, he withdrew $500 from savings, purchased a bag phone and with that, Wuertz started an on-site, mobile computer company. AQM Computer Help was named because the letter “A” would put him in the front of the phone book and “QM” because he called his son “Quig Man.”
The business began in Wuertz’s home. By 1995, he had hired his first employee and in 1999 he purchased the building where the business is located today, at 300 W. Main St. in Union.
Wuertz remembers getting his first Southwestern Bell cellphone a few years after launching his business. The phone, which he proudly displayed, is roughly the size of a brick and seems almost as heavy. Office members jest that it makes a better doorstop nowadays.
“I felt like a real champion (when I got the phone),” Wuertz said.
In the beginning, Wuertz mostly worked on desktop personal computers.
There were no “Internet” or Internet associated viruses or security issues at the time, he said.
Laptops were just taking off and smartphones and tablets were still years away, he noted.
“The entire industry is constantly changing,” Wuertz said, but the business model stays the same. “We go on site to resolve the problem.”
Wuertz’s catch phrase is “No problem,” employees noted, adding that whatever the problem, it’s “no problem.”
The business today offers PC repair, networking, system setup and cabling, interoffice connections, phone system installation, design and integration services, virus removal, firewall installation and other services.
Changes to Meet Needs
After the advent of the Internet, the business moved from servicing single computers unattached to each other to servicing several computers networked together then several computers networked together through a server.
To stay current, the company looks at Beta versions of programs before they’re launched, learns about laws to stay compliant and changes to meet the demands of the market, Wuertz said.
Wuertz said he never imagined that in 20 years he would grow to 10 employees or that he would be working on handheld computers like smartphones and tablets.
Seeing other computer businesses come and go, Wuertz said he is proud that his business has been able to stay alive.
“We do good work at a fair price. We treat our customer and design their systems as if we were purchasing them ourselves,” he said.
His goal is to continue providing mobile service for clients, as well as to make sure his employees are taken care of.