Reinvention Leads Local CEO to Success

October 27, 2011

By Adam Van Brimmer

For the Savannah Morning News

Susan Speros counts reinvention as just one of her company’s four “pure” principles.

No concept defines her success better, however.

Speros started her company, Speros, Inc., in 1984 in the wake of the breakup of the AT&T phone system monopoly. Speros existed largely as a consultant business, aiding companies in making telecommunications decisions.

As the industry evolved, so did Speros. The company branched into computers and networking, then into surveillance systems and now is touting its cloud-computing service.

“Speros thrives because of our willingness to embrace new technology and make it work for others,” Speros told approximately 100 Savannah business leaders Wednesday during a Business in Savannah (BiS) Forum at the Savannah Morning News Auditorium.

Such reinvention comes naturally to Speros. Her father, George, was a second-generation Greek-American and an entrepreneur who operated a restaurant, a foam insulation enterprise and sewing machine sales business during his business career in southwest Ohio. Her mother and three siblings all started and operate their own advertising businesses.

As for Susan Speros, she worked a multitude of odd jobs as a young woman, including the oddest of all – as a diver and dolphin training assistant in a Mexican water circus.

Her sister, Roz, saw a classified ad for the circus, known as Acuarama, in their hometown newspaper.

The show was looking for water ballet performers, but Roz thought Susan’s background as a competitive swimmer and gymnast would appeal to organizers as well.

“She dared me to call and see if they needed a diver,” Susan Speros said. “They did. I went.”

Speros’ tenure with Acuarama changed the way she looked at college. She dropped out and began to search for her “passion.” Once again, a call from her sister and a water circus would change her life.

Roz told Susan she was leaving her sales job with a communications company to work for a dolphin show in Luxembourg.

She told her sister she should apply to be her replacement.

“I got hired, and right away I knew I had found my passion,” Susan Speros said. “I was – and am – a technology sponge.”

Speros went to work in the job that would launch her career in the telecommunications industry in 1978.

Four years later, another telecommunications firm offered her a position running a branch office in Savannah.

She quickly fell in love with her adopted hometown and started her own business two years later. Today, Speros employs 17 in Savannah and operates a local data center.

“Speros survived in the face of challenges, both economic and technological,” she said. “Where there’s a will there’s a way has kept me going for a long time.”