Melanie Suria has a passion for computers—not the fun, user-friendly side, but the inside, where most people are afraid to go. Melanie is the owner and operator of Memphis Computer Support, as well as a mother of three. She is a good person to know in a computer crisis, and her genuine account of the path to entrepreneurship is inspiring. Welcome, Melanie, our can-do computer engineer and today’s FACE of Memphis.
Have you always called Memphis home?
Well, kind of, sort of … I was born at the Baptist Memorial Hospital that used to be in downtown Memphis. However, I was taken home to Walls, MS. That is where I grew up. Then, I attended the University of Memphis and have been living in Memphis ever since.
Looking back, what are a few of the traits you discovered in yourself that are key to being an entrepreneur?
I was super driven and always followed my intuition, even if it meant making changes. One example of feeling driven: While working towards my BA in Electronic Engineering Technology, I was focused and busy with two to three jobs at once most of the time during college. I have also been willing to redirect when necessary. I experimented with and learned from a range of jobs before founding Memphis Computer Support. I always remained flexible and listened to the voice in my head that said to make a change, and each change was key to arriving where I am now. I am glad I listened!
Briefly list the benchmark experiences that led you toward ownership of a computer company.
Eager to get an internship before I graduated to gain some hands-on experience, I chose an opportunity with the city of Memphis. I sat in an office and rarely did much except draw schematics for plans around the city, and I was terribly bored.
One day, I finally went down the hall to the information technology department and talked to some of the friends I had made. Next thing I knew, I was running around to different city of Memphis locations fixing everyone’s computer. It was so much fun! I tried to get a position when I graduated, but there was nothing open, and since I wanted a “real job,” I was an engineer for HP for about two-and-a-half years and enjoyed it to a certain extent, yet again, I was awfully bored.
After leaving HP, I worked in a computer support job at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My role was to support a floor of computers for researchers/scientists. I stayed there six years before I left to be at home with my 3- and 1-year-old boys. I did not want to leave, but I was unable to go part time, and I was having that mommy guilt about leaving my children at day care in order to go to work.
A day in the life of Melanie Suria?
Wake up. Hit the snooze button about three to six times on average. Figure out that it really is time to wake up, and from that moment, it never stops until I finally crash at the end of the day. It is nonstop phone calls, texts, emails, picking up computers, dropping off computers, remoting into computers, tearing apart computers, putting them back together. I do everything except throw them out the window (like most people want to do, I am sure). Add cook/prepare dinner somewhere in the mid-afternoon, and try to wind down, but everyone knows that you cannot do that with three small children.
How is Memphis Computer Support different from other similar businesses?
Whatever You Need, Wherever You Are is our mission statement. That means we come to you at your home/office; you come to us; we can remote into your computer and fix issues that way; we also meet people at Starbucks, Panera, Best Buy, even the Apple Store parking lot, to help our clients! Our service is more boutique style and personalized, as we consider our clients’ needs and provide a sort of IT overview when we are with them at first. We may even suggest things they never considered.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My absolute delight is when we get referrals from another client. We may have worked with them two or three years ago, but they remembered to tell someone about Memphis Computer Support, and that helps me know that we are making a difference!
After a long week at work, what are your favorite Memphis restaurants to enjoy?
I love East tapas restaurant on Park. They have a great tapas menu and are about to open for lunch later this month. I love the Honey Fire Shrimp, and they always have great music on the weekends and an eclectic choice of libations.
What are some words of wisdom you can offer our readers based on your professional experience?
I believe that we are all blessed to be a blessing to others, and that is what I try my best to do.
Is there a fall 2015 fashion trend you are looking forward to wearing?
Not especially; maybe some really rustic brown boots, but I enjoy the thrill I get from receiving my Stitch Fix every month. For five minutes, it is like Christmas, and I am a kid again. Since I do not have any spare time to shop, this is the perfect solution for me!
How do you recharge your batteries away from work?
I am at the gym at least twice per week for some killer classes (or what I think is killer), and I love road biking with the Memphis Hightailers Bicycle Club. Every Tuesday, my husband and I ride about 25 miles with a large group, and the best part is the ice cold Abita Strawberry Cerveza with a really delicious loaded pizza from Mellow Mushroom afterward. It is what I work so hard for!
What are three lighthearted things you cannot live without?
I cannot live without my iPhone 6, Mongo Kiss peppermint Chapstick from Whole Foods and my Bluetooth headset. If I can add one more, “the” iCloud, not to be confused with any other cloud.
Thank you, Melanie!
Today’s photos at Memphis Computer Support were taken by Micki Martin.