Class of 2011
Justin Wampach's innovative business and his role in community groups such as Kids Against Hunger won him honors in the 5 Under 40 Class of 2011.
What are you doing now?
I am the president and chief executive officer of Adjuvant Technologies, which specializes in physician scheduling software in St. Cloud.
How did the 5 Under 40 award affect your life?
The award was a fantastic honor, and I received many kind notes of congratulations.
Other big changes since you received the award?
I have become much more active in a National Healthcare Technology association (HIMSS) in which I am the Minnesota chapter president this year.
What will make the St. Cloud area greater in coming years?
What will continue to make St. Cloud greater this coming year will be our continued focus on building and supporting a more diverse community and growth in economic development.
Originally ran: January 8, 2012
Thanks to Adjuvant Technologies, if you end up in the emergency room, your hospital should be able to locate the correct physician for your treatment without difficulty.
Justin Wampach started the health care technology company a few years ago. The business focuses on physician schedule creation and maintenance software and hospital on-call management software systems.
His innovations help reduce hospital and physician risk, promote positive employee communication and improve patient care. With two employees, Wampach built the business model from the ground up, developing his own software and Web-based applications.
What influential factor led you to your current career?
As odd as it sounds, I would say it was the Internet. In 1994-95, when I was graduating from St. Cloud State, I did an internship in the academic services department. The Web was just coming online and becoming popular. My task was to put the undergraduate bulletin online. I got to develop a website and a home page because it was so new St. Cloud State didn't have one.
From that point, everything that I've done in business has revolved around the Internet in some way, shape or form. I was so fascinated by what it can do, and I got a paid internship to do what I love. And there are still skills and techniques I learned then that I use today because our business is very Web-based.
What's the best part of your workday?
Working in a small office with the same people, day-in and day-out every day, often what becomes fun is getting out of the office and seeing what's going on at Rotary or some of the things you're involved with in the community, where you can take a break from your business mind and turn that stuff off.
The job that I do, because we're a startup company, is a constant puzzle and challenge every day. You're trying to figure things out that you don't have an answer to — nobody has an answer to. It's a lot of trial and error and there can be a lot of frustration. You spend a lot of time beating your head against a wall and trying things that don't work. It's nice to drop that and go out and do something else.
And yet there are different types of people — those who like to set things up and run things and those who don't like to do either but want the safety and security of working somewhere where somebody else does those things.
I definitely am the set-things-up person ... my passion as an entrepreneur doesn't extend too far into the operations. I like to build things to a certain level and then step out and try something new.
You have a three-day weekend without obligations. How do you spend it?
I am a work-hard, play-hard type of person. I enjoy hanging out with my friends, having a few beers and really letting loose and not having to think about work.
When you're single, as a bachelor, I have even more of that luxury when I leave for a weekend. I still have my phone with me because I'm on call, but I have a lot of opportunity to go and do what I want.
It's nice, because you put in a lot here. Last night, my phone rang at 10 o'clock. It was a doctor who needed help with something. You've got two choices. You can say, "I'll give you a call back tomorrow," which is what they would tell you. Or you run a startup and you call them back on a Sunday night to talk them through their issue, hoping they're going to tell their partner or other people, "Boy, I got this great service last night. It was worth the investment."
I enjoy spending time at the lake. Our family has a lake compound up north. And I find a lot of passion in my free time in doing things with Kids Against Hunger or doing things with my fraternity.
I do a lot of reading. I always have at least two or three books going — a business book, a fun book and a lunch book that I take with me every day. I try to keep the fun going, like the fun anti-terrorism books, the Scot Harvath and things like that. But I love reading business books and understanding what people are doing and seeing how we can apply those things — even though each may have just one or two pearls of wisdom.
How do you continue to learn new skills that will keep you on the cutting edge of your business?
A lot of blog reading. I think blogs are one of my best tools. Good businesses blog about educational topics. They don't blog trying to sell you something. You can learn so much from reading a vendor's blog, whether it's about inbound marketing or search engine optimization, there is a lot of stuff out there.
I go to conferences, of course, with other professionals and see how they're doing it, trying not to reinvent the wheel.
I also surround myself with very smart people and consultants who are much more knowledgeable than I am and have a greater education than I do. That challenges me to continue to ask tough questions — especially the "why" questions.
How do you see the greater St. Cloud area in 20 years and what would be your role in it?
I think in 20 years we will continue to have a great, diverse community. We'll have started to see a lot more assimilation with our newest community members — let's say the Somali population. But there will probably be new faces or a whole new group of people who are new to the community. We're going to really be able to enjoy a lot more diversity, which I think will be beneficial.
It's interesting, in my role and at my age, you speculate back and forth. I live in St. Cloud. I went to college here. I started my first company here and my second company here. I've thought maybe with my next company I'd want to go somewhere else. But you become networked and involved in the community and you're ingrained. I hope if I'm not physically living in the community in 20 years that the success that I hope to have achieved will allow me to give back.
I continue to look at some of the older leaders in our community, and I'm amazed at what they're able to give back and how generous they are and how those contributions can make a big difference. Those people are all passionate about something. They're not just throwing money around. I've got a great passion about feeding hungry people.
Education: St. Cloud State University.
FYI: Wampach works with Kids Against Hunger as a major event organizer and coordinator, volunteer and board chairman.