Gerard R. Gibert, CCP, founded Venture Technologies, a Technology Solutions Provider (TSP) in
1986, in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Under Gerard’s leadership, Venture completed six acquisitions scaling
the company to 293 employees across 11 states, with a fiscal year 2019 revenue run rate of $220mm. The
company was acquired by ConvergeOne (CVON on the Nasdaq) in January 2019 for $92mm. Gibert leads
the company’s strategic acquisition strategy, serving as the VP of Business Development.
Venture delivered a variety of IT infrastructure solutions including networking, security, hyper-convergence,
collaboration, VTCloud® Services and ERP consulting services to enterprise private and
public sector clients across the nation. The company operated physical locations, including three data
centers, in Ridgeland, Memphis, Birmingham, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Montgomery, Englewood, CO,
Naperville, IL, Waukesha, WI and Casper, WY.
Gibert was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1958. He graduated with Honors from St. Joseph Catholic
School of Jackson in 1976. Gibert attended the University of Mississippi where he earned a degree in
Business with a major in Accounting in 1980.
Upon graduation, Gibert joined Arthur Andersen, and Co. as a Staff Analyst in the Management
Information Consulting Division (MICD) of the New Orleans office. He was promoted to the position of
Senior Analyst and remained employed by Andersen until 1984. His clients included numerous private
and public sector entities, including the states of Louisiana and Oregon. The MICD eventually became
Andersen Consulting and today operates as Accenture Corporation.
While at Andersen, Gibert was responsible of the functional and technical design of an integrated
Pension Fund Accounting System in the State of Louisiana which became the model for public retirement
systems later deployed in several states. He developed extensive skills in all aspects of planning, design,
development and implementation of large-scale IT systems.
During his tenure at Andersen, Gibert completed requisite training – both self-paced and at the firm’s
renown Center for Professional Development in St. Charles, Illinois. Widely considered equivalent
to an advanced technical degree, coursework included technical architecture, software engineering,
comprehensive business systems design and implementation, and all phases of the firm’s world-class
project methodology – Method/1.
Following a successful career with Andersen, Gibert returned to his home of Jackson, Mississippi in 1984
where he joined the staff of a local CPA firm to manage an accounting write-up practice and provide
IT consulting to the firm’s clients. In this position, Gibert streamlined and grew the firm’s practice,
automated the firm’s internal operations and was the first in the State of Mississippi to implement in-house
automated income tax processing and electronic auditing.
In 1984, Gibert earned a Certificate in Data Processing (CDP, now CCP), by passing all five parts of
a rigorous exam that tested knowledge in hardware, operating systems, telecommunication systems,
programming and business transaction systems in the first attempt. The certification was administered by
the Institute for the Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP), now the Association of Information
Technology Professionals (AITP) and requires 48 months of practical experience in IT.
Formation of MicroAge
Gerard Gibert’s lifelong passion was to build and operate a business. In 1985, he created a business plan
to launch a microcomputer services firm in the Jackson area. The plan called for $189,000 in start-up
capital. Gibert felt that his best chances for success lay in associating with one of the major computer
network organizations, so after careful analysis, he decided to become a MicroAge franchisee.
With business plan in tow, Gibert pitched his idea to numerous financial institutions and investors.
Securing funding for the venture was challenging, as financial institutions were still reeling from the
recent S&L crisis and the microcomputer industry was still very young and volatile.
The message from prospective lenders was clear: Assets are needed to secure loans. Gibert was young and
without any net worth, so after sixteen months and countless presentations, he decided to abandon his
Then, one evening, Gibert’s wife, Julie, offered a proposal as they shared dinner. The couple had
been updating her parents on progress of the venture, and informed them of the need for collateral to
secure funding. Julie’s parents happened to have a 19-acre parcel of land on I-10 in Biloxi, which they
generously deeded to the young couple with no strings attached. Mr. and Mrs. Gill were a typical working
class, post-WWII couple and they felt the investment could ultimately be liquidated as a small retirement
So Gibert went to the bank, deed in hand, and secured a $189,000 7-year term loan. MicroAge of
Ridgeland opened for business in May 1986 in a 1,200 square foot “retail” store in a strip shopping center.
From the outset, Gibert’s mission was to solve business problems with information technology with
an emphasis on technical excellence and client satisfaction. Gibert knew that immediate positive
performance would be essential for survival, given the small amount of capital - sufficient to fund
operations for less than 5 months. The life of an IT services entrepreneur is one of wearing many hats –
sales, technical, operations - exhaustive hours - working virtually every night, weekends and holidays - for
the first several years after inception to ensure the viability of MicroAge of Ridgeland.
MicroAge, Inc. recognized MicroAge of Ridgeland at its international conference held in Phoenix, Arizona in
1987, as the Top New Franchisee of the Year in North America. Gibert’s Ridgeland operation won the prestigious
award over other new MicroAge franchisees located in larger, more opportunistic markets including San Jose,
Norcross, GA; Gaithersburg, MD and Los Angeles, CA. In 1994, MicroAge of Ridgeland was recognized as the top
location in North America – the prestigious Eagle Award as the “National Reseller of the Year” from a field of
400. Not a sales contest, The Eagle recognized the partner that excelled at innovation, customer satisfaction,
strategic planning, execution and consistent profitability.
Gibert knew from the beginning that his organization’s ability to fuse technical skills with business
acumen in delivering client solutions would always be a key differentiator and a competitive advantage in a
crowded marketplace. MicroAge of Ridgeland thrived in the late 80s and early 90s – a challenging period
for the IT industry as the microcomputer was struggling to make the transition from a limited personal
appliance to a serious and powerful business tool. For the first 5 years of operations, Gibert maintained
his personal compensation unchanged for the five year period post-launch, opting to apply excess cash
flow over necessary working capital to the $189k start-up loan secured by his in-laws’ property. That
approach resulted in retirement of that loan in 1991 - two years ahead of term.
In the early years, MicroAge’s core business included the design, implementation and support of
accounting and vertical software systems for small and mid-sized organizations across Mississippi. Many
of these solutions were installed on early local area network (LAN) platforms and multi-user Unix
platforms. Gibert and his team automated hundreds of Mississippi organizations – helping them leverage
the power of automation for the first time.
Transition of MicroAge to Venture Technologies
With less reliance on MicroAge corporate and the transition to high-value, complex enterprise solutions,
MicroAge of Ridgeland adopted a new name which reflected the solution provider’s aggressive technology
go-to-market strategy. Thus, MicroAge became Venture Technologies in 1998.
Between June 1998 and December 2001, Gibert served as the executive project manager for the design
and implementation of a comprehensive management information system for the New Jersey Department
of Corrections (NJDOC). In this role, Gibert commuted between central Mississippi and Trenton, New
Jersey - weekly, for 25 months. The project team consisted of over 150 technical and functional architects,
subject matter experts, network engineers, server/storage engineers and trainers.
The NJDOC solution consisted of five major, fully integrated Oracle Applications, linked with custom
interfaces and delivered by a complex 3000-user WAN, anchored by large scale Unix-based SUN
Microsystems processors and storage systems.
The Gartner Group, a top-tier global IT industry consulting firm, conducted an extensive analysis which
concluded that 66 months were required to complete the project. Under Gibert’s leadership and direction,
the primary project objectives were completed in less than 20 months, thus avoiding total failure of the
State’s Correctional Information System. At the time, this was the largest information systems project
ever undertaken by the State of New Jersey. The solution was considered the most advanced Correctional
Information System in North America.
In October 1999, Venture was selected by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to provide
network consulting, design, integration and deployment of a WAN that supported over 6,000 users
in hundreds of locations throughout Texas. Venture also provided inmate applications training and
participated in development of application integration and interfaces.
During the mid-90s and mid-2000s, Venture experienced rapid growth. Organizations of all sizes were
investing in networks to connect people with data, and the Internet was evolving as a powerful commercial
tool. It was during this timeframe that the company gained enormous traction delivering and supporting
solutions to large enterprises – including financial and health care institutions, higher ed and large public
In the late 90s the company completed a statewide project for the Mississippi Department of Human
Services, deploying servers, workstations and networks to service over 4,000 DHS workers involved in
the MACWIS and SACWIS programs. The contract imposed stiff, liquidated damages – assessed daily –
for every day past the required completion date – 60 days from award. The DHS accepted the project as
complete two days prior to deadline.
Launch of First Commercial Data Center in Mississippi
In January 2001, Venture launched its Network Operations and Data Center. In January 2002, Venture
re-located the Data Center to the Jackson State University e-Center in Jackson, Mississippi. The first
commercial data center in Mississippi, the Tier-3, 12,000 sq. ft. facility is staffed by 17 certified
7/24/365. The fully resilient technical architecture delivers continuous, secure cloud services to tens of
thousands of customers across the nation and abroad.
Venture’s Data Center has delivered a comprehensive suite of cloud technology services for over 150,000
hours with less than five hours of recorded down-time, resulting in attainment of a 99.997% Service Level
Agreement (SLA). Even as Hurricane Katrina ravaged Mississippi, knocking out power for the entire
tri-county area, relying on its specially engineered fail-over systems, Venture’s customers experienced no
down-time. A Tier-3 compliant Data Center, the facility and operation have successfully completed eight
SAS-70 Type II, HIPAA and HITECH compliance audits.
In late 2007, seeing the need for consolidation in the industry, Gibert developed a comprehensive
business plan to expand Venture’s successful model via acquisitions. Upon presentation of the strategy to
several investment bankers, a financial sponsor was selected to market Venture to prospective private equity
firms that invest in the technology industry. Numerous presentations didn’t yield any interested investors,
especially in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
But one firm, New York-based FlatWorld Capital Corporation (FWC) was interested in continuing the
discussion. A partner advised that increasing Venture’s cloud business and monthly recurring revenue
(MRR) would attract prospective investors and improve the company’s valuation. Though the strategy to
scale Venture’s cloud business was already underway, management coalesced around a plan to accelerate the
timeframe for achieving Venture’s MRR objectives.
In 2012, with achievement of the MRR target complete, Gibert reengaged FWC. The firm’s partners were
pleased with Venture’s revenue composition, EBITDA and growth trends. Working together, FWC and
Gibert prepared a comprehensive investment memo to market Venture to the investment community.
With FWC as sponsor, Gibert presented Venture’s growth strategy and investment opportunity to
numerous private equity firms and cash flow lenders. These discussions produced several term sheets, and
it became apparent that the best approach would be to fully finance Venture’s growth with cash flow debt.
Though considerably riskier than monetizing equity, preserving equity would optimize future returns and
lead to a more attractive shareholder exit.
In May 2014, a credit agreement was inked with one of the nation’s largest providers of unsecured senior
This credit facility was used to combine Venture with two other organizations, ISC of Englewood, CO, and
Birmingham-based SAT, on July 1, 2014 marking the genesis of the company’s acquisition growth initiative.
Between 2016 and 2018, Venture completed three additional acquisitions, including a Milwaukee-based
Oracle ERP consulting organization, establishing the company as one of the largest IT Solution Providers
in the nation. The fusion of acquisitions and organic growth propelled the company from a regional player
to national prominence, serving mostly large enterprise accounts across the country and abroad.
Sale of Venture to ConvergeOne
By early 2017, the combination of six independent companies into a fully integrated, unified,
institutionalized organization began to bear fruit. Venture’s revenues, gross and net margins increased.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as margin per account manager and team member, utilization and
effective rates of engineering resources, monthly recurring revenue, revenue composition, return on assets
and equity, EBITDA and EBITDA as a percent of revenue were all trending positive.
Concurrently, Venture’s customer satisfaction was consistently > 4.5 on a 1-5 scale. Customer churn was
minimal, retention and service agreement renewal rates were north of 90%. Employee retention, the
hallmark of Venture’s success, remained high – despite record demand for IT talent relative to supply, a
dynamic that made competition for talent fierce.
Clearly, the strategy of preserving equity by financing the growth via unsecured debt was creating material
shareholder value, while affording significant upward economic opportunity for Venture team members.
All stakeholders – staff, customers, technology partners, investors and shareholders (many of whom were
employees) were benefiting from Venture’s value creation.
The strategy of combining companies where major shareholders exchanged equity for equity in Venture
resulted in a board of directors with diverse long-term objectives, particularly as it relates to equity
monetization and exit. Some board members wanted to monetize their equity, while others wanted to
continue the acquisition strategy to create more long-term value.
In April 2017, by a 4-3 vote, the board of directors adopted a resolution to engage an investment banker to
market Venture to prospective financial and strategic buyers.
After a grueling fourteen-month process, Venture signed a letter of intent (LOI) to sell the company to
public company ConvergeOne (CVON) for $92mm. That transaction was completed in January 2019.
Gibert’s personal objective was to scale Venture to a billion-dollar IT powerhouse, with headquarters
remaining in Mississippi. Prior to Venture’s merger to CVON, the ingredients to achieve that objective
were in place. Financial sponsors, creditors and investors were supportive. Systems and organizational
structure were institutionalized. But the board had other plans.
One journey ended; time to start the next one.
Public and Community Service
Gibert is the Chairman of the Board of Empower Mississippi, a policy advocacy organization that focuses
on removing barriers to success through education freedom and criminal justice reform. He has served in
this role since inception in 2014.
In October 2018, Governor Phil Bryant appointed Gibert as the Vice-Chairman to the inaugural Board of
Directors of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation.
In August 2018, the Madison County Board of Supervisors appointed Gibert as the at-large board member
of the Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA).
Gibert serves as the Chairman of the Steering Committee advising the Board of Directors of Innovate
Mississippi, a Division of the Mississippi Development Authority, and the related Central Mississippi
Chairman of the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association’s Annual Heart Walk.
Celebrity Chef at Annual Salvation Army Souper Bowl.
Member of the Board of Directors of Canopy Children’s Solutions whosemission is to help children thrive and families overcome extraordinary challenges by providing a continuum of behavioral health, educational, and social service solutions.
Member of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Region of the American Red Cross.