Programmed for Success
Juan Vides arrived in America as a child, came to Farmingdale, and built a successful career around computers.
“Giving Back”— this people-driven personal and professional trait may define FSC alum and web technology entrepreneur Juan Vides ’03 more than anything else in his life — just ask him.
“Yes. When you give back to the universe you get back good stuff. ‘Givers gain’ has always been my motto,” Vides says.
One way Vides (Computer Programming and Information Systems) gives back is through his company, TechACS Corp., which provides web design, web development, and promotional services. He regularly offers his expertise pro bono or at significant discounts to Long Island non-profits. He is a former board member of the American Heart Association of Long Island and donates to the Red Cross. Vides has served the Latino community through the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and received an award as Top Advocate for Latino Empowerment from the Hispanic Network.
Vides spectacularly defied the odds — in a way many could never dream of — to become a tech-savvy business owner. He was born in El Salvador at a time when the country was being devastated by civil war. His family fled to America when Vides was four years old. The conflict still weighs on his psyche.
“War is something you cannot forget,” Vides says. “It is the most evil a person can see. That is why I am set to do what is right in this world. I do this by my actions.
“I am grateful and count my blessings every day. I appreciate everyone and everything in life. Life is too short to let evil win.”
Vides’ parents arrived in the States with a seventh-grade education, speaking no English. That didn’t stop them, though, from immediately entering the workforce — his mother as a self-employed domestic and his father as a maintenance man at a golf course clubhouse. When his father lost his job after Hurricane Sandy, the family started a carpet-cleaning service that today serves hundreds of clients. Vides does marketing and advertising for the business.
Having that as a model, it is no surprise that Vides took an entrepreneurial path, which had its roots in his boyhood passion for video games and computers. His father bought him an Atari, and soon after Vides invested $3,000 in his first computer. Those twin interests were why Vides majored in Computer Programming and Information Systems.
“Computers were a hobby for me, so when you enjoy something it is easy to do,” Vides says. “You don’t think about it. Almost like riding a bicycle. I also loved anything with technology. From Star Wars to Star Trek, anything tech fascinated me. I always was curious about how things worked.”
In 2001, after earning an associate degree at a local community college, Vides enrolled at Farmingdale. He was 25 years old. Concurrent with his studies, he fixed friends’ computers. He was so busy he began charging $35 an hour for his services. At the same time, he became president of the campus computer club.
TechACS, which grew from an ad Vides placed on Craigslist pitching web design, has developed more than 1,000 websites over the last 17 years. A more recent niche is creating sites accessible to users with disabilities. Vides credits FSC with giving him the tech tools to become a high achiever. An article in Newsday and a segment on FOX 5 Latino have trumpeted his achievements.
“Farmingdale taught me the basics and fundamentals of understanding how technology and programming work. I now have the confidence to know how things work because of my Farmingdale education,” Vides says.
“Farmingdale gave me confidence in my passion. Confidence plus passion equals success.”