Tim Crown

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Timothy A. Crown (born 1964, in Tucson, Arizona [1]), is the co-founder and current Chairman of the Board of Tempe, Arizona–based Insight Enterprises, an IT solutions company with annual revenue exceeding $5 billion.

Life and career[edit]

Tim was born in Tucson, Arizona,[2] in 1964. He has one sibling, Eric Crown. Their father, Jerry Crown, was in the military. As a result, they lived in many locations, both within the United States and in foreign countries. Tim attended three high schools, ultimately graduating in 1982 from Blue Valley High School, which is located in Stilwell, Kansas. Tim Crown also became an Eagle Scout during his youth.

Crown studied computer science and business at the University of Kansas,[3] and he graduated in 1986. He was an active member of the Delta Chi fraternity. After one year working at NCR Corporation in Jackson, Mississippi, Tim moved to Phoenix, Arizona to start Hard Drives International with his brother.

Tim Crown's brother, Eric, studied at the W.P. Carey School of Business. Eric's senior project was a business plan for a company that directly sold computer components via the telephone (without currently having the inventory in stock that was being sold). To fulfill orders, the company would order units from a supplier, and then directly ship the components to the buyer, if possible. Eric received a grade of C for the project, because a grade of A was reserved only for projects that were viable in the "real" business world.

Hard Drives International[edit]

Upon Eric's graduation in 1986, the brothers obtained a $2,000 credit card advance to place a single advertisement in Computer Shopper, a computer parts magazine. The brothers wrote an advertisement and sent it to Computer Shopper for them to publish in their next magazine issue. At the time that the brothers wrote the advertisement, they were advertising a hard drive for a sales price less than the cost of purchasing the hard drive from a supplier. They were gambling that in the 20 days it would take to publish the magazine issue, the cost of a hard drive from a supplier would decrease so that it would be less than the selling price they wrote in the advertisement. This happened and their gamble paid off, making Hard Drives International famous for having the lowest prices on hard drives.[4][5]

Insight Enterprises[edit]

The brothers repeated the strategy and scaled the business, changing the name of the company to Insight Enterprises in 1988.

Originally, Insight attracted customers through advertising and the use of inbound toll-free telephone lines. In 1993, it expanded its marketing mix to include catalogs and added outbound telephone account executives to focus on establishing a larger customer base. In 1995, Insight debuted on the World Wide Web.[6]

The core company values, which established its culture, were:

  • Total Employee Commitment
  • Total Customer Satisfaction
  • Operational Excellence
  • Entrepreneurial Growth

Individuals who exemplified these core company values received Award Cubes, such as the one show below, in acknowledgement of their efforts.

Insight Enterprises Timeline[edit]

Insight Enterprises became a publicly traded company in January 1995.[7] At the time, the company's annual revenue was approximately 200 million.

Then in 1997, Insight acquired TC Computers. In the same year, Insight Enterprises, Inc. became an international company with a startup in Montreal, Canada. The city of Montreal was chosen as a startup location because of its bilingual characteristics (English and French were prominent in the city). At the time, the theory was that a startup in Montreal would act as a learning opportunity. This learning opportunity occurred before the Insight brand advanced into non-English speaking nations.

After the Montreal, Canada startup succeeded, the Insight brand was launched in the United Kingdom and Germany. The United Kingdom expansion was accomplished through the acquisition of Plusnet and Choice Peripherals. Plusnet Technologies Limited was an internet service provider (ISP) and web site hosting company based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.[8][9] Pulsnet was doing business as Force9, and Insight Enterprises, Inc. purchased 85% of the company. Choice Peripherals was based in Workshop, England. It was founded in 1992 and at the time of acquisition, it was the United Kingdom's leading director computer marketer. According to Tim Crown, who was President at the time, "Insight and Choice/Force9 have similar business philosophies and we believe the UK business community is primed for the introduction of Insight's successful model - outbound telephone sales to businesses, supplemented by electronic commerce and highly targeted direct marketing".[10]

Then in 1999, the Insight brand launched in Winnipeg, Canada.

Insight acquired Action Computer in 2001. Action Computer Support, Ltd. was based in Chelmsford, United Kingdom. Founded in 1996, Action Computer Support, Ltd. provided small businesses with services designed to maximize technology investments. They provided managed services (which focused on prevention policies to deter downtime due to broken equipment), on-demand services, business continuity plans, etc.[11]

In 2002, Insight acquired Comark in Chicago, Illinois. Comark was a software and network equipment retailer.[12] As of 2000, its revenues were 1.56 billion dollars. In the same year, it had 1,364 employees. The company was also a private company, which was founded in 1977.[13]

In 2006, Insight acquired Software Spectrum, a global software reseller which specialized in enterprise software license sales and software asset management. With the acquisition, Insight increased the number of countries in which in operated. Before the purchase, the company operated in 3 countries (US, Canada and the UK). After the acquisition it became a 24 country global powerhouse in information technology (IT) supply that rivaled Dell and Hewlett-Packard. The acquisition enabled Insight to supply its products to 170 countries. After the purchase, Insight started the process of expanding its product range in each country.

In 2008, Insight acquired Calence, LLC. The company, based in Tempe, Arizona, was founded in 1993. Calence, LLC provided networking solutions and built, managed, and optimized networks to enable organizations to plan, build, provide, and operate their network security, and communications infrastructure. This included network strategy formulation, network assessments, wireless infrastructure solutions, and IP convergence assessment. Currently, it operates as a subsidiary of Insight Direct USA, Inc.[14]

In 2011, Insight acquired Ensynch, a Tempe, Arizona professional services firm which held multiple Microsoft Gold competencies. In the year prior to the acquisition Ensynch's service revenue was $16.2 million.[15]

In 2012, Insight acquired Inmac in Germany. Inmac was founded in 1982, and it was a direct sales information technology organization. It then evolved into an information technology trading organization and ultimately it grew into the information technology procurement industry. It currently is a medium-sized company with more than 50,000 active customers and it offers more than 50,000 information technology products.[16]

Today, Insight has more than $5 billion in annual revenues, and Tim serves as Chairman of the Board. Additionally, Insight is currently one of IBM's largest national resellers.[17]

Direct Alliance Corporation[edit]

In 1993, the Crown Brothers and Mark Fife started a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Enterprises. The concept was to leverage the Insight direct model to help companies like Toshiba, IBM, HP, Compaq, Xerox, and Lenovo compete with Dell's direct model. The Toshiba America Accessories program was first, followed by IBM.

Direct Alliance Corporation was sold to TeleTech in 2006.

Insight Computers[edit]

During its history, Insight Direct, a subsidiary of Insight Enterprises, became a computer manufacturer by producing a computer. At one point, the company was one of the top 10 computer providers nationally. But, the Crown Brothers, seeing competing giants like Dell, Gateway, Acer, and Packard Bell meld into a grouping of small, strong, manufacturers, changed the course of the business and withdrew from the manufacturing operations. At the time, manufacturing sales accounted for approximately 40% of the company's revenue. While the manufacturing division was healthy, it was not considered to be a safe future operation.

Instead, the company focused on utilizing its former-competitors in the manufacturing business as suppliers, so that Insight Enterprises could upgrade and customize the supplied computers to fit specific customer specifications.

As of today, the former business-to-consumer (B2C) company has evolved into a business-to-business organization that delivers value-added products and services. Some of these include project management, storage, and software licensing management solutions.[18]

Summit School of Ahwatukee[edit]

In 2001, Tim and Eric Crown, along with William Andrew, created a 501(c)(3) (not for profit) community school serving Phoenix. They founded this organization after Tesseract Schools (a public company with over 40 schools nationwide) declared bankruptcy. Eric and Tim created an organization which became the debtor in possession (DIP). It provided financing for Tesseract in an attempt to ensure that no school closed during Tesseract's liquidation process. Tim and Eric Crown were ultimately able to purchase fixed assets and learning materials from the bankruptcy trustee. They then purchased the school building and property from a REIT. At this point, Summit School of Ahwatukee began, and it initially enrolled 50 students. It has now grown in size and it teaches 350 students (Pre-K through 8th Grade). Summit School of Ahwatukee is a private, non-profit, independent school. Elementary and middle school are accredited, by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), a division of AdvancED®. Preschool is also nationally accredited, by the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). The school's mission is to "foster academic excellence and the love of learning through a liberal arts education".[19] Now, Tim and Eric Crown are on the Board of Trustees of the organization.

Crown Foundation[edit]

In 1997, Tim and Eric formed the Crown Foundation to benefit charitable causes. This non-profit organization is based in Arizona.


Tim Crown has started, invested in, and assisted in the growth of several dozen businesses. These include AVAI, Redcat Racing, StormWind, TrueCloud, LeaseStation and Sports Logo Lights.

Insight.com Bowl[edit]

In 1997, Insight Enterprises sponsored a small NCAA football game that was based in Tucson, Arizona. Renaming it from the Copper Bowl to the Insight.com Bowl, this small bowl game eventually moved from its Tucson-home to Chase Field, the Major League baseball stadium in Phoenix, Arizona. At this time it was renamed the Insight Bowl. A few years later this bowl game moved again to Sun Devil Stadium. This move occurred when the Fiesta Bowl moved from Sun Devil Stadium to the new football arena in Glendale, Arizona, which is home to the Arizona Cardinals.[20]

Race Across America[edit]

Tim Crown has been an active participant in Race Across America (RAAM), an organization which sponsors an endurance cycling event. The first RAAM began in 1982, when four people raced from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, CA to the Empire State Building, in New York, New York.[21] This event was televised. Tim Crown has been involved in three of these races. In his most recent participation, in 2012, he was part of an eight-member team, which included his son and daughter. The event began in Oceanside, California and finished in Annapolis, Maryland. In that year's event, Tim Crown's relay team road for approximately 3,000 miles, climbed 170,000 feet, crossed 12 states, and passed through 88 counties and communities.[22] It took Tim Crown's team 7 days, 1 hour, and 8 minutes to complete the event.

Young Presidents Organizations[edit]

Tim Crown is also a member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO). This organization "connects you with successful young chief executives in a global network unlike any other".[23] The organization was founded in New York, New York in 1950 and is composed of leaders from 110 countries. To join the organization, one must be under 45 years old and hold the title of President, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Managing Partner or Publisher of an organization that fulfills the corporate size requirements identified on their website.[24]


  1. ^ Hot Zones, Setting Up a New Office Article - Inc. Article
  2. ^ http://www.deltachi.org/quarterly/spring_summer_01/spring_summer_01.pdf
  3. ^ KU News - Ettredge named to Crown/Sherr professorship in School of Business
  4. ^ Insight Enterprises shifting focus to IT services - The Business Journal of Phoenix:
  5. ^ Insight Direct Inc. (IDI)
  6. ^ Growing a Successful Sales Force
  7. ^ http://www.insight.ca/en-ca/content/History
  8. ^ http://www.forbes.com/global/1998/0824/0110078a.html
  9. ^ http://www.forbes.com/forbes/1998/0824/6204080a.html
  10. ^ http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/36111/Insight+Acquires+Choice+Peripherals+in+UK.htm
  11. ^ http://www.woorank.com/en/providers/company/action-computer-support-ltd
  12. ^ http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20020426/NEWS01/20005245/comark-sells-for-150m
  13. ^ http://www.20minutesfromhome.com/techieprofiles/comark.html
  14. ^ http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=4339227
  15. ^ http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110919006649/en/Insight-Acquire-Ensynch
  16. ^ http://www.inmac-online.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=26&lang=en
  17. ^ https://images01.insight.com/media/pdf/IBMWarrantyResourceCenter.pdf
  18. ^ http://knowwpcarey.com/article.cfm?aid=359
  19. ^ http://www.summitschoolaz.org/Mission
  20. ^ http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue2/1997/12/25/181259-insight-com-bowl/
  21. ^ http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/raam2.php?N_webcat_id=21
  22. ^ http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/rcracer.php?s_N_Entry_ID=2906&s_N_Year_ID=36
  23. ^ http://www.ypo.org/about/
  24. ^ http://www.ypo.org/join-ypo/

External links[edit]