Want to know more about The Ballard Group?

CEO and Founder of The Ballard Group, Marini Ballard, was recently interviewed by her alma mater, Principia College. Principia reached out "to a handful of alumni entrepreneurs to learn about their work and find out how their Principia education has contributed to their career." The following is a part of the interview:

The Ballard Group
Automated testing and quality assurance for large-scale computer systems

What is the most unique or innovative aspect of your business?
Automated testing can be very expensive, but we have copyrighted automation framework that makes it affordable for clients, especially those in the government. Additionally, we take the work/life balance very seriously.

How do you hope your services benefit your clients?
We work with a variety of customers--government agencies, publicly held corporations and private companies. In each case, the customer, on the one hand, and programmers, on the other, who are developing massive computer systems (for electronic voting or airline reservations, for example) don't speak the same language. So it's common for us to discover through testing that the system isn't working the way the costumer expected. If we're brought in early enough, we can troubleshoot problems and help customers and programmers understand each other. This improves efficiency and can save millions of dollars--and the customer is a government agency, that means we're saving taxpayer dollars.

What makes you an entrepreneur?
I didn't start out thinking of myself as an entrepreneur--I just wanted to help people. But the more I saw employees in consulting firms traveling constantly and working around the clock, I wanted not only to help my customers with their computer systems but also to help myself and my employees live a balanced life. So I'm an entrepreneur because of the unique work we do and the work-life balance we maintain while doing it.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like helping people. When I was 33, my father passed on, and I went home to Indonesia for a while. He had always helped others, and I wanted to do the same. When I returned to the U.S., my mom gave me $10,000. I used half to start The Ballard Group.

How has your Principia experience contributed to your work?
Dr. Tom Quirk's class on business ethics made a big impression on me, even though I just audited it. I'm often in the position of knowing what's not working or what went wrong, so I've been offered bribes and asked to lie about test results. Of course, I don't engage in any of that. And when I'm hiring, smarts come second after integrity!

- Excerpted from the Summer 2016 issue of Principia Purpose.