October 2019 – Making Waves

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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E N T R E P R E N E U R O F T H E Y E A R 2 0 1 9 / T E C H N O L O G Y 40 BCBUSINESS OCTOBER 2019 W I N N E R Laurie Schultz P R E S I D E N T A N D C E O , A C L S E R V I C E S , d b a G A L V A N I Z E n Galvanizing steel or iron involves applying a coat of zinc to protect the metal against rust. In modern usage, the verb also refers to shocking or exciting someone into taking action. The word was a fitting choice for the new name of audit analyt- ics software company ACL Services, which rebranded in 2019 after 32 years in business. "It's a dual metaphor for what our customers do," president and CEO Laurie Schultz explains. "They galvanize change in their organiza- tion, and they protect their organization." The word could also be Schultz's professional motto. "I've always, for whatever reason, been put in jobs where I've been asked to do things that haven't been done before," she says. "In the case of ACL, I had not ever taken a successful global business and turned it on its head." Born in Alberta, Schultz, who has a bachelor's degree in com- merce and an MBA from the University of Alberta, was invited to become CEO of Vancouver-based ACL in 2011 by then–chief executive Harald Will, whose father, Hartmut Will, developed the audit command language ( ACL) software. Business had flat- lined, but rather than sell the company, Will passed the reins to Schultz. "We're a re-startup," she says, adding that Galvanize has acquired two companies during her tenure to foster growth. Another major change that Schultz spearheaded was to shake up Galva- nize's business model. In 2014, the company went from a perpetual payment model to subscription- based. As a result, the number of customers has stayed about the same—7,000 in some 130 countries—but spend per client has increased. "We are seeing, on aver- age, 35-percent revenue growth," says Schultz, adding that 60 percent of Fortune 1000 companies use Galvanize products. She notes that the number of employees has nearly tripled, now hover- ing around 500, working out of seven offices world- wide. "If you consider us being three times the size, that would imply the rev- enue we get per customer is three times the size." Reflecting on the changes at Galvanize over the past 12 years, Schultz credits employees for taking risks and embrac- ing the unknown in the name of advancing the company. "We turned our business upside down for a few years," she says. "But today, we are witness- ing double-digit revenue growth as a result of that change." —J.N.W.

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