With its yearly Share the Magic charity event and 1,600-person-strong workforce in Greenville, Synnex has become a strong presence in the local community since expanding to the Upstate in 1996. This year, SYNNEX celebrates its 40th anniversary without much fanfare due to the pandemic, but still recognizing its long history as a leading distributor of technology solutions — providing a range of distribution, logistics and integration services.
Robert Huang founded SYNNEX, headquartered in Fremont, California, in 1980. Over the years it has expanded globally, including to its locations on Pelham Ridge Drive and Wade Hampton Boulevard in Greenville. The company’s more than 225,000 employees work in North America, South America and Asia. Its Greenville offices are considered its sales and marketing headquarters, according to a company statement.
Huang’s open communication and support of employees has been the foundation of the company’s success, says Peter Larocque, president of North America technology solutions.
“He had principles for the business, and they carried through until today,” Larocque says.
SYNNEX provides services to over 25,000 resellers and solution providers that support small to medium businesses, enterprise companies and the public sector. The company’s concentration is on IT systems, networking, unified communications and collaboration, peripherals, components, IoT, software, security, analytics and integrated solutions. It counts as vendor partners, HPE, HP Inc., Microsoft, ASUS, Google, Cisco, Lenovo, Intel, Panasonic and Samsung.
The company currently sits at #130 on the Fortune 500 listing. It reported $23.8 billion in revenue at the end of Q3 this year, marking 133 consecutive profitable quarters, according to a statement from SYNNEX.
“As the business grew, and as brands developed, versus little companies building things, you know, the HPs, the Compaqs, the IBMs, the Microsofts as they develop, the business spread out because a lot of the commerce is done on the East Coast …,” Larocque says. “So we opened up facilities.”
Larocque says the move to Greenville was a bit unexpected. He had planned to move somewhere like Charlotte, North Carolina, or Orlando, Florida, but he changed his mind when he saw the dedicated, potential employees in the Greenville area.
He told a colleague who recommended Greenville that if the colleague could get 25 resumes of people in Greenville willing to come work for SYNNEX by the time Larocque got back from a two-week vacation, he’d move the office to Greenville: “Lo and behold, when I got back to Fremont, California, from my vacation, on my fax machine rolling out was 25 people.”
The rest is history.
Many in the Greenville area will know SYNNEX from its events that bring thousands of its customers and partners to the Upstate each year — normally. Though this year has been different, SYNNEX’s teams are already planning on next year and a return to glory.
One of those events, Share the Magic, is a charity event that’s raised more than $12 million since 2011 for several local nonprofit organizations. This year the event was held virtually due to the pandemic.
One of the people behind SYNNEX’s events and marketing in Greenville, Bob Stegner, SYNNEX’s senior vice president of marketing for North America, says Greenville has always drawn attention from their vendors and partners. At one point for SYNNEX’s Inspire event, Stegner gave customers a choice of where the event would take place. He listed Charlotte, Atlanta, and a few other major cities in the Southeast. He also included downtown Greenville. “Eighty percent of the customers voted for downtown Greenville,” he says.
SYNNEX isn’t leaving the Upstate anytime soon. Both Larocque and Stegner say it’s not only the city but the employees they’ve found here.
Stegner remembers when he interviewed one person for a job. He asked the man who applied, “How did you find out about SYNNEX?” The man said he found out from his mom and dad who both already worked there. “That’s probably the biggest compliment a company can get, when you have other members of your family actually working there with you,” Stegner says. “Because, you know, you hear everything — the good, the bad, and the ugly — at the dinner table.”
The leadership at SYNNEX is impressed in the quality they find in their employees in Greenville.
“We are in a people business, we need smart people, we need hardworking people, we need people who work together. We need people who are totally committed to taking care of their customers,” says Larocque.