By Mark Thomas
Cecil Webb comes from El Paso, in the farthest-west corner of Texas. Now he has his own company, Webb Technology Group, with an office in the historic Livestock Exchange Building in Kansas City’s West Bottoms.
What was the journey to Kansas City like for Webb and for his company?
In his early years, Webb says, “I knew I wanted to go to college, but I knew I couldn’t afford college.”
When he learned that an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point would offer that education and would pay all expenses, he became determined to achieve that dream. After being nominated through the secretary of defense, he attended the Academy’s Preparatory School on the West Point campus. He spent one year there, then was accepted into West Point itself. His field of study was engineering.
After graduation, he entered the Army, commissioned as a second lieutenant. He served at Fort Lewis, near Tacoma, Washington, and then was deployed to Iraq for the 2003 invasion.
A brief return stateside was followed by a deployment to Afghanistan. While he was there, Webb, a young father at the time, realized that a military career was not the best choice for his family.
After his discharge, he was living in Colorado Springs. Webb had enjoyed building websites while in military service, even though that wasn’t part of his job description. He was offered a job at Kansas City’s HNTB, a civil engineering and construction management firm, by his former battalion commander.
He continued to build his technology resume with a master’s degree in information technology and certification as a project management professional.
Ultimately, Webb struck out on his own and opened a company in 2006 with a focus on what he calls “Three Pillars.”
“We do three things really well: responsive web design, mobile applications, and social media management,” he said.
His firm has four full-time employees and the ability to bring in other skilled contractors as needed. It has national-level clients, he said, “but we make sure we maintain a local feel.”
“About two years ago, we started going to [Mid America Gay & Lesbian] Chamber events,” Webb says. “The B2B [Business 2 Business] meetings have been valuable for meeting members with reciprocal services.”
Through connections at the Chamber, the company also developed a serious focus on involvement with charities and the community as a whole.
“We support minority- and women-owned businesses. ... We recently did work for the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project. We really try to put our money where our mouth is on charities,” he said.
Webb Technologies was one of the corporate sponsors of the Trolley Run in April, a benefit for the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired.
In his office, Webb admires the view from the sixth floor of the Livestock Exchange Building and says he loves the structure’s history.
“We did a whole 1920s-themed party for the Hispanic Chamber after hours,” he says. “It was based on that whole thought of, where is your technology today? Stuck in the 1920s? Or the ’20s yet to come?”
He notes with a laugh that “there is so much activity in the West Bottoms. ... I hope my rent doesn’t go up!”
As far as Webb’s activities on his own time, he says that he is an avid volleyball player, but that most of his free time is taken up by family activities that center on his three children.