From the time he was a student at Wooddale Elementary School in Farmington Hills, Craig Hearn dreamed about being in business.
Now the 1999 graduate of works on Hills Tech Dr. with Sector 7 Design Studio, a company he founded with partner and tech guru Brian Hernandez. Both are Novi residents, but chose to locate in Farmington Hills after speaking with economic development director Teri Arbenowske who "had nothing but good things to say" about the area.
Hearn graduated from Michigan State and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on graphic design. But his love of computers started much earlier.
"We didn't have a family computer until 1998," he said. "I learned everything about computers in middle school and high school ... Mr. (Bruce) Sutton was such an influential teacher in my classes, it was unbelievable."
Hearn credits computer-aided design (CAD) classes at North with getting him interested in a design career. After working for a few years in the field, he decided to partner with Hernandez to offer a kind of one-stop shop for small businesses and start-ups.
For those that have little or no Web presence, Sector 7 Design can build a website, maintain it and handle the company's social media, from blogging to Twitter.
"We continue working with you and become a marketing agency," he said, handling corporate branding, logo design, tag lines and other materials.
What's more, customers experiencing technical problems with computers or software can stay with Sector 7. One of the things that drew the partners to their current office space, Hearn said, was a large storage space that is now filled with computer parts and other equipment.
The three-person business – including "operations and comic book expert" Jeremy Helle – is looking at hiring sales people. The partners want to grow the business, but not too big, in order to develop long-term relationships with clients who are as dedicated as Hearn and Hernandez are to their business.
"I've worked for agencies and enjoyed the work," Hearn said. "I'm more passionate about working for clients of my own. It's a lot more time, but it's so much more gratifying."
To learn more about Sector 7 Design Studio, visit sector7designstudio.com