30 in Their Thirties: Joseph Lambert // 36

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Founder, Sequoia Applied Solutions Inc., Ann Arbor
Sales: $750,000 // Employees: 10

Joseph Lambert is an engineer at heart, but when the engineering firm he worked for decided to venture into manufacturing, it went too far outside its area of strength and ultimately went out of business. That could have been a blow to Lambert’s career, but it turned out to be exactly the opposite. Longtime clients contacted him, urging Lambert to find a way to continue his relationship with them because they valued his engineering expertise. So Lambert founded Sequoia Applied Solutions, which opened in 2012 with just
a handful of clients. A year later, Sequoia has grown to 10 employees, and 80 percent of the firm’s business comes from new clients. “Where we really play well is helping to prioritize technology,” Lambert says. “A customer has something they do well, but we build the product around it. If they do radar, we’ll build the radar system with platforms and all that stuff. We’re kind of the guys in the back room that make the things you see.” Management is a new endeavor for Lambert, but he focuses on empowering people and trusts them to deliver for him. “It’s a different skill set, but it’s very rewarding building a team of people and giving them the tools they need to be successful.” — Dan Calabrese

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