Seemingly endless travel and 14-hour days were the norm for Debra and Gerald Ricks when they founded JD Services Inc. in 1992 in Salt Lake City.
The couple's hard work paid off, however, now that the full service telecommunications company is flourishing. In fact, it recently was named the fifth fastest-growing firm in Utah.Debra Ricks, president and chief operating officer, worked for several years for AT&T when she met and married Gerald Ricks, and more recently as an independent contractor for Sprint, working with her husband when he was employed there.
JD Services chief executive officer Gerald Ricks sold long distance time as an independent contractor for Sprint, worked as an independent agent for Network 2000 and spent 20 years working as an independent sales representative for a range of different companies.
The couple's familiarity with telecommunications combined with the go-getter approach of sales agents has served their own company well.
Gerald Ricks began by selling prepaid long distance service, then added other services such as toll-free 800 service, and embarked on wholesale reselling of long distance time. He also made arrangements to let JD Services independently connect to the major telephone carriers and negotiate better rates.
Debra Ricks used her people skills to hire good employees, expanding the staff from five people to more than 180, and did such things as develop the company's internal departments like customer service, technical support, marketing, art and design, production and shipping.
Throughout the company's short history, the couple has continually sought new ways of doing business, looked for new opportunities to improve service to its customers and embarked on innovative programs.
In 1997, JD Services had grown so much that it tripled its office space in Salt Lake City and by that time had 1,200 customer/distributors. The customer/distributor base is now at 1,949.