No matter what oddball demands your customers make, they can't compare to those Vanessa Morganti encounters. Morganti, 28, is the owner of Future Solutions Inc., a Broomfield (Colo.)-based purchasing agent specializing in hard-to-find supplies for government agencies and vendors. Two hundred recycled computer disks? No problem. Need 400 individually sized packets of sunblock, SPF 15? Coming right up.
As contractors know, government projects have extremely detailed requirements, with federal law often mandating the use of recycled products. But most vendors can't find such arcane stuff. Morganti's specialty is recycled goods, but her willingness to tackle even the strangest requests--from compostable cutlery to specialty surgical caps--has won her the loyalty of contractors throughout the region.
Morganti stumbled into her niche by accident. She was working in sales for a toner-cartridge recycler when a local contractor asked for help locating 17 other recycled products, from trash bags to concrete parking stops. "I thought she'd find one or two items," says the customer, William Freeling. Morganti came back with all 17. Soon she was attending recycling conferences, schooling herself on government mandates, before starting Future Solutions in April, 1997. "I was totally green, but I just had the focus and the drive to do this," she says. The five-employee company brought in $480,000 in 1999 and is on track for $750,000 this year.
According to Morganti, you can find just about anything--if you look hard enough. She relentlessly works the phones, the Web, and a growing network of suppliers in search of the obscure. Morganti found the sunblock by calling local tanning salons. The surgical caps came from a mortuary supply company. And what about that compostable cutlery? Sorry, says Morganti. She's keeping that one a professional secret.