So this is how companies are named. Tony DiBenedetto and his co-founders got a case of beer in 1998, watched Fletch and went boating on Tampa Bay. They came up with about 100 bad names for their new IT company before Tribridge emerged as a play on the bay bridges, the three of them, a bridge for clients and so on. Tribridge they thought was laughable but, on reflection the next day, it resonated.
From that provenance, Tribridge grew, reaching $65 million in revenue in 2009. The 300-employee company provides 1,800 customers nationally with IT services and business consulting. A hot area: Managed services, in which customers pay a fixed fee for Tribridge to take care of desktop, server and IT support.
DiBenedetto was raised by his grandparents in Fort Lauderdale. After his grandmother died when he was in middle school, he lived in 13 different houses, on a friend’s couch and the like, while attending Fort Lauderdale High. “I’ve seen some pretty crappy things, I guess. I always viewed it as a learning experience,” he says.
At Florida State University, a friend, a confident entrepreneur type, convinced DiBenedetto to join him in starting a Brazilian art import business. They didn’t do well, but DiBenedetto caught the entrepreneur bug. And he couldn’t shake it during the 11 years he spent at Arthur Andersen after graduating from FSU with a degree in business management information systems. He started a truck leasing business on the side and a restaurant and bagel shop before launching Tribridge. His idea of leadership is drawn from James C. Hunter, author of “The Servant” — that the CEO is at the bottom of an inverted pyramid with the role of removing obstacles in the way of employees helping clients.
“To me, you have to create the attitude of winning,” says DiBenedetto, 44.