Painting the Town Orange: The Story of Grade A IT…So Far

It’s true what they say; you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t look to see where you’ve been.

Recently, we celebrated our 16th year in business as Grade A. As CEO Mathew Lafrance cut into the celebratory cake during our all-staff party, we all looked at each other with the same question in mind: wow, where did the time go?

It seems like just yesterday, four crazy University students – Mathieu Bouchard, Allan Ghosn, Christian Ste-Marie and Mathew Lafrance – set out to provide the best at-home computer service that Ottawa had ever seen, under the name


Humble Beginnings

After moving into their first office space back in November of 2002, it’s safe to say that the boys of had no idea what this crazy venture would become 16 years later.

Their dream of providing the best at-home computer service, would eventually become a premier, managed IT services company with offices around the world, serving multiple locations (more on that in a bit).

At that time, the goal was simple: get a roof over their heads, grow the team, and paint the town Orange!

And paint the town Orange they would.


Cue the Wildfire

Following their move into their new office in 2002, the next few years would see the company grow like wildfire.

Within three years, the company would rebrand itself and consolidate all of their service offerings – which now included both residential, and corporate services – under one, unified name:

In 2007, the company would expand and launch two new offices to better serve their clientele. One office would open in Portugal, while the other would open up in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Forget about painting the town Orange, this movement officially became an international takeover!


If You Love Something, Let It Go

Sometimes in life, you just have to leave it all behind to become the company you were destined to be.

Cue January 2011. A bittersweet day in Grade A’s story. As the company’s corporate services were taking off, the owners of Grade A decided that it was time to leave their flagship, residential services behind.

With an incredible nine years of service to the residents of Ottawa, Grade A sold their residential services to original partner, Christian Ste-Marie, now owner of “Keep Connected”. Additionally they handed back keys to any franchisee who wanted to continue to operate independently.

Although Grade A left the residential services game, their legacy would live on. This was the start of something new and exciting!


Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

The wildfire would continue to burn for the next several years. Over the course of the next 5 years, the company would celebrate its 10th anniversary of being in business, move into a new office (twice!), and rebrand the company once again.

With a desire for a more sleek and stylish look, would become the company you know and love today…

Grade A

The team would continue to grow, becoming a powerhouse in the corporate, managed IT services space.

More than that though, they would build a family. A crazy group of like-minded individuals that would create an amazing culture consisting of cartoons, superheroes, and Nerf gun wars (if you know, you know).

And that brings us back to today.


What’s Next for Grade A?

Yes, as we all stood around that cake we thought about where all the time went. But the conversation then changed to, what’s next?

Well, judging by the last sixteen years, I think it’s safe to say that anything is possible. What we are doing today could be vastly different than what we will be doing sixteen years from now.

As for right now however, I think Pinky and the Brain sum it up best as to what we will be up to…

Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

Brain (Grade A): Same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world! (aka paint the town Orange).


**Make sure to head to Instagram and follow @gradeait as we document this story visually over the month of July! 

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