He built a company that sold printer ribbon into a national solutions provider that, when he passed away in 2003 at the age of 61, had revenues of some $125 million.
But the RAM Group, the proud firm that motorcycle-loving Michael Schweitzer assembled, seemingly couldn’t live without him. Behind the revenues that other VARs envied were weaknesses that not even the man who succeeded him as CEO, Ken Killin, nor his brother, Alan, who inherited the business, could patch.
In 2005 it sought bankruptcy protection with debts of $12 million. NexInnovations purchased RAM’s assets, but ironically it went into bankruptcy protection in August.
Born in the Bronx, in 1942, Harvard Business School graduate Schweitzer came to Canada in the 1970s to helm the restaurant division of General Foods International.
In the early eighties, seeing the potential for explosive growth in the area of IT, he started RAM Computer Supply. “He would quite often work 20-hour days,” recalled an executive. “It was not unusual to get an e-mail from Michael at 3:30 in the morning.”
That work ethic and Schweitzer’s ambition helped RAM expand, along with acquisitions such as Toronto-based Questech, Ottawa-based Bloom MicroTech and Genicom’s $60 million Enterprising Service Solutions Company.