PPP funds give Shamrock Solutions the resilience to help other businesses
“I am constantly on the go and need things done yesterday. Commerce’s responsiveness is huge for me. It is so reassuring to work with people who understand what we are going through and are willing to support us along the way.”
Robert Albright, President & CEO
Robert Albright knows what it feels like to have life hand you lemons. He also knows how to make a good pitcher of lemonade.
In his case, the lemons came in the form of a layoff from an IT firm during the economic downturn of 2008. By January 2009, however, his luck began to change when he applied his experience to create Shamrock Solutions, a business that would focus on streamlining inefficient business processes.
In need of a bank, the bootstrapping entrepreneur opened a free business checking account at Commerce.
Based in Overland Park, Kan., Shamrock has since grown to 21 employees who offer a full suite of automated solutions that eliminate repetitive tasks, create paperless workflows and make business operations more efficient. Its banking needs have likewise grown to include a lockbox, remote deposit and other banking services that help automate Shamrock’s own financial processes and speed-up cash flow.
“Efficiency-wise, we believe in practicing what we preach,” says Albright, Shamrock’s president and CEO.
As 2020 began, the firm’s client list included more than 350 organizations in healthcare, higher education, transportation and other various industries. Shamrock’s staff was busy. New business was up.
And then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Many of Shamrock’s customers, he explains, immediately went into a cash freeze. “Some were wanting to hold their payments and negotiate a discount on work we had already completed,” says Albright. “Given everything going on, you’d feel bad if you’d say no.”
Shamrock, meanwhile, had its own employees’ paychecks to worry about. “In our line of business — delivering services and then billing for our work — we are always cash poor,” Albright explains. “The pandemic made things worse.”
When word of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding became public, Albright didn’t waste a moment’s time. Shamrock was among the first companies to submit a PPP application once Commerce began accepting applications.
“Commerce was my guardian angel throughout the PPP process,” Albright says. “My banker was on top of her game, emailing back and forth at all hours to get the application figured out. I’d forget something, and she’d remind me. Our application couldn’t have gone through as fast without Commerce’s help.”
Days later, when the funds arrived in their account, Shamrock began using them to help cover payroll. “The PPP funding gave us confidence that we could get through this period with just some temporary salary reductions,” Albright says. “It really helped us make it through a difficult period.”
“We’re in the business of solving complex business challenges,” he adds. “That includes our own.”