Whether you head a secret organization, run a large company, or you simply don’t trust throwing away old hardware with sensitive data, Data Killers can help. They will destroy tapes, hard drives, and other items to protect you from people who may want the information on your old electronics.
I recently asked Elizabeth Wilmot a few questions about her company, and the inspiration behind it.
Q: Tell us a little about Data Killers.
A: Data Killers is the data & product destruction arm of Turtle Wings, Inc., an environmental services company that provides electronics recycling and de-installation services.
Q: What inspired it?
A: Turtle Wings was conceived and run from my kitchen table until we outgrew my house and moved into a warehouse. The original concept was to be an electronics recycling company. However, we were repeatedly asked by our customers to shred their hard drives and tapes. We seized this opportunity to grow and expanded our capabilities and called that service “Data Killers.” We started with a large plant based shredder and then launched a mobile shredding service which we expanded nationwide. Hard drives are very difficult to shred, unlike paper, so a specialized shredder and power system are needed.
Q: How does your service work? Cost?
A: There are a number of ways our service works, depending on the needs of our customers. Costs vary according to services performed and the quantity of products that need to be destroyed. Some of our customers come to our site and in other cases we go to the customer’s site to destroy their products and materials – we can even shred Kevlar.
Q: Who would benefit from your service?
A: Our customer is usually a large company or a federal agency that needs a substantial amount of media or equipment destroyed. These customers usually need to comply with corporate or government data destruction regulations. They are required to obtain certificates of destruction from a certified company.
Q: What separates you from the competition?
A: Since Data Killers is a nationwide vendor, we provide assured compliance with standardized policies, procedures and training. We have an in-depth knowledge of government regulations and often provide consulting services about the regulations. Our procedures exceed the legal guidelines for destruction of all types of materials. We provide the same level and quality of service for all of our customers, no matter where they are, as opposed to local ‘mom and pop’ operations. We also have the ability to shred to a very small particle size on-site due to our specialized trucks and equipment.
Q: Do you have any goals that you would like to accomplish over the next year or so?
A: We have multiple offices nationwide and we will be expanding our footprint this year.
Q: What are some lessons your business has taught you?
A: This business has taught me a lot of lessons. Most importantly: “Poor execution will eat good strategy for lunch every day.”
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: The thing that I have enjoyed the most about operating Data Killers is working with people over many years and witnessing their growth and development into roles that they never imagined they could perform. Their eyes light up and you can see the wheels turning in their heads. To be a part of those moments in the lives of the people I have worked with has meant so much to me.
Q: Do you have any advice you’d like to offer entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
A: Be open to the ideas that your customers bring to you. Also, set up your systems, policies, and procedures from the beginning and modify them as you grow. It is easier to grow a business when policies and procedures are already in place.