As an avid cyclist, Larry Schwartz knows a thing or two about endurance. It’s that sense of settling in for the long-haul and logging hard-earned miles that fueled his early entrepreneurial drive and kept the momentum going over the last several decades.
Growing up in the Philadelphia area, Larry spent his childhood investigating computer pieces and parts and building and rebuilding computers. He was always fascinated by the intricacies that kept the machines running. He knew early on that he had a knack for understanding the inner workings of different hardware, software, and technology. So it only fits that he grew up to become the Founder, President & CEO of MidnightBlue, the IT managed services company based just outside of Pittsburgh.
“I came to the Pittsburgh area as soon as I could,” Larry said. “I felt there was a sense of potential and opportunity that I needed to be a part of. “
Larry has built and expanded his technology services company over the years on the promise of managing, securing, and protecting small and medium-sized businesses across Pittsburgh and the tri-state area in all of their technology needs, opportunities, and challenges. But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride.
“I’ve learned a lot of things the hard way. You think you know the reality of how to run a business—and keep it running–until you actually experience what that entails firsthand,” Larry said. “Any entrepreneur knows this takes a lot more than hard work and an idea. There’s an operational and logistical mindset required, building the right team and trusting the right people, and so much more. It never stops.”
But Larry is no stranger to both ideas and hard work. His first service-based entrepreneurial endeavors kicked off when he was 13 years old, and he continued his business aspirations throughout college. He launched his first “real” company during his senior year at Washington & Jefferson, a school he chose specifically for their Entrepreneurial Studies program. Larry started a coffee shop near campus, where business was booming, and caffeine was flowing, not just for students, but for the local business crowd as well. The coffee shop endeavor lasted through Larry’s senior year and two years after. But blizzards and other business challenges still meant that the coffee shop was not going to make it.
“I was undercapitalized,” Larry said of the coffee shop. “But I learned a lot. You could say I got my MBA the hard way.”
As Larry explored the business world and sought a way to blend his love for technology and his entrepreneurial spirit, he became acutely aware that small and medium-sized companies were particularly challenged when finding reliable and trustworthy technology solutions. That’s where MidnightBlue began.
MidnightBlue started with a defined purpose, an unwavering mission, and a live-or-die commitment to shared core values that prioritize transparency and trust in providing comprehensive IT services and solutions. This commitment has lasted since its inception. Now, as MidnightBlue celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, Larry is reflective of the road he and his company have taken to get to this significant milestone.
“As a company and as a team, we’re in a good place now, but we haven’t always been,” Larry said. “There have been many challenges, many ups and downs, and people don’t always see that when they think that you’ve ‘made it.’ There is a lot to reflect on and a lot to celebrate over these last 15 years.”
MidnightBlue’s mission and mantra, “Always On,” resonates with the entrepreneurial drive Larry has carried throughout every endeavor. More importantly, it instills the promise of a level of service delivery and commitment to business continuity that stands out as differentiators in a crowded market. Having spent years in the hospitality industry, Larry brought that level and expectation of service and experience to MidnightBlue.
“That’s what sets you apart,” Larry said.
As Larry and the team focus on the unprecedented times his company and his clients face, they’re committed to keeping the Always On promise.
“Our number one priority right now is to take care of our people and our clients, just as we always have,” he said. “This time has given us a renewed commitment to digging deep, preparing fellow small and medium-sized businesses for continuously changing technology landscapes, pushing our own team to get up-to-speed and work around-the-clock, and enabling new remote work environments and transitions for countless companies across the region.”
Larry credits his business successes to his commitment to family, including building a family within the walls of MidnightBlue.
Larry’s final word of advice to all entrepreneurs: “Work hard, play hard, and prioritize your family—both your family by blood and your business family. Always,” he said.
At Midnight Blue, we’ve been serving our customers for 15 years. While our 15th year anniversary is going a little differently than we expected, we’re still here taking care of our customers, and we’ll continue to be here for another 15 years–and many more. We look forward to keeping your businesses running, and we look forward to celebrating together soon.