Flexible Systems’ story begins in the fall of 1980 when its founders, Seth Belous and Joe Saggio, met playing hockey in the “Pit” at Stony Brook University. Shortly thereafter, Seth and Joe became teammates on the Stony Brook University ice hockey team. As it turned out, they were both economics majors, so they also spent a good deal of time studying and collaborating on projects with each other.
At their commencement in 1983, they sat together discussing their plans for the future. One thing they knew for sure was that the computer revolution was just beginning. So, they decided to use the proceeds from their graduation gifts to purchase personal computers. The thought was that having computer skills would make them more marketable. Joe invested in an Atari 800, Seth a Kaypro II.
As with all recent graduates, the priority for Joe & Seth was finding a job. As they plodded through the tedious task of applying for jobs, they realized there had to be a better way. That’s when they had the light-bulb moment – start a business that used the hardware and software they already owned to simplify the job application process. Seth and Joe wrote software that automated the job application process and invested in a TTX 1014 daisy wheel printer.
The service was popular, but unfortunately, their daisy wheel printer couldn’t keep up with demand. This constraint made turning a profit difficult, and they lacked the capital to invest in high-speed printing technology. Since they had bills to pay, they put this project on the back burner and looked for jobs. Seth became the Personal Computer Coordinator for a large International company, and Joe found work as the Operations Manager at a small business. While they worked at vastly different companies, both were responsible for finding ways to use PCs to automate business processes.
The two friends collaborated to find solutions to problems they encountered at work. They soon realized they had enough knowledge and experience to offer computer consulting services to small businesses. Before long, they had more work than they could handle, so they left their full-time jobs, added Marty Schmitt to the team, and decided to form Flexible Business Systems.
The initial focus of the company was developing custom software applications that ran on IBM PCs. Before long, many of their clients were asking if there was a way for multiple people to use the software at the same time. After some research, the company started developing multi-user applications using a programming tool called DataFlex (this is where the company’s name came from). DataFlex worked in conjunction with a new type of multi-user system developed by Alloy Computer Products. The combination of the Alloy product with the DataFlex software was magical.
Within one-year Flexible Systems had become Alloy Computer Products’ largest value-added reseller. Joe, Marty, & Seth, rented a one-room office in Melville, NY, and moved out of the kitchen in Joe’s apartment. Fast forward to today: Flexible has over 100 employees and operates out of a company owned 40,000 square foot building in Hauppauge, NY.