Pacific Daily News

May 24, 2004
Section: Business
Page: 9A
Column:Small Business


Web developers click on successful link
Gene Park
Staff

By Gene Park
Pacific Daily News

epark@guampdn.com

At first glance, the Web sites for Citibank, the Guam Visitors Bureau, the Office of the Public Auditor and St. Anthony's School have little in common, but all have been constructed with the Midas touch of iCON Corp.

The Web development company is the contractor for various high-profile organizations and companies within the public and private sectors on the island.

One click at iCON's corporate Web site reveals that its clients also include Budweiser, the Guam Chamber of Commerce, Hit Radio 100 and Sen. Rory Respicio, D-Chalan Pago. iCON's active client base is close to 40, with close to 28 more Web sites being developed.

Besides Web design, iCON offers other services associated with running Web sites, such as programming, training and maintenance. It also provides other information system services, including e-mail management and Flash, an advanced and more interactive way of presenting Web sites.

The business took root in an extra room at co-founder and iCON President Steve Dierking's home in 1998. Its new Hagta office is more akin to an apartment, complete with kitchen, posters and action-figure toys.

Dierking and Alan "A.J." Rosario, chief executive officer for iCON, started the group, along with "two other guys," who have since left the group and were replaced by two other guys, Vice President Ron Brigman and Christian Urquico, senior Web developer.

Brian Chong, an 18-year-old recent graduate of Trinity Christian School and Web developer, is the last of the five who make up the iCON team.

"The difference with our company is that each of us put our own strengths and specialties," Urquico said. "You're getting the whole team. It's like medicine - we all have our specialties. You get a pool of resources, not just one person claiming to be a Web genius."

Rosario said they saw the potential for market growth for Internet services on Guam and decided to offer higher quality Web sites and programming.

"It's a great market because not everybody has sites," Rosario said. "And if they do, they're in dire need of an update. Demographics change. Budweiser's demographic is obviously different from Citibank's. A lot of people are enjoying our work not knowing we did both sites they just visited because they're so different."

Rosario said they have seen a change in the corporate attitudes toward Web services throughout the years.

"We spent the first year of our business explaining to people what the Web was," Rosario said. "The second year we were trying to explain how we can apply it to their organization or church or school. In the last leg up to now, we're in demand. They know why they want it and need it."

Rosario said some clients approach them to construct a basic corporate Web site, but months down the line, the company wants a more expansive information database on the Internet. Triple J Ford's Web site has information on each of the vehicles and services they offer.

"The clients are getting smarter in that now we can start doing databases and better levels of interactivity for our clients," Rosario said. "Maybe, like three to six months down the line, the client starts to get these new realizations because they actually see a product in front of them."

Urquico said although the economic climate of the island took a turn for the worse the past few years, companies have realized that Web sites are an indispensable tool. iCON has lost only one client through its six-year history because the company went out of business.

"Businesses don't cease to advertise when the economy is down," Urquico said. "In fact, it's a more economic way to get their product out there. For us, business is picking up."

TO THE POINT

s Hi-tech know-how and market need have fueled the transformation of iCON Corp. from a small Web development company to one of the island's more prominent Web site hosting businesses.

AT A GLANCE

s Business: iCON Corp.

s Owners: Alan Rosario and Steve Dierking

s Location: 140 Route 8 in Hagatna across from Club Cosmos

s Phone: 472-0008

s Web site: www.iconpacific.com

s Small business tip: "If you're getting partners, there's a lot of trust involved," Dierking said. "I think it's better because it's more brainpower. I couldn't probably do this business by myself if I started alone. There's too many factors involved."

Masako Watanabe/Pacific Daily News/mwatanabe@guampdn.com

iCon team: Members of the iCON Corp. team, Steve Dierking, 34, left, Christian "C.J." Urquico, 27, center, Brian Chong, 18, and Alan "A.J." Rosario, 34, right, show the company's home page, right, and Web sites they've developed for local businesses.