2017 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll
Sumner High School, 1967
Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Stowe, Kealing, Northeast Junior HIgh
Ronald Harland, Sr., aspired to own his own company one day, but almost didn’t make his dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true. A manager at his former job gave him some advice that helped him make up his mind. He said, “one thing you don’t want to do is get to the end of your life and have regrets about something you wish you had done,” said Harland.
In April 2002, Mr. Harland went after his dreams – opening the doors to eVolv Solutions, LLC, an Overland Park, Kansas headquartered office equipment provider of copiers and printers to mid- and large-size companies. As the president of the company, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the business. His two sons, Ronald Harland II, and Eric Harland, work side-by-side with him in the business. His wife, Patricia, also served as office manager during the businesses first two years of operation.
“It has been a wonderful and challenging experience – having the business and working with family to make it successful,” he said. The company has acquired clients such as MetLife, Johnson & Johnson, Truman Medical Centers, Kansas City Power & Light and Huntington Bank. In 2007, eVolv Solutions was named the #1 Fastest Growing Business in Kansas City by Ingram’s Magazine and was listed #80 in Inc. 500 during this same period.
Prior to starting his company, he worked for 26 years at Xerox, where he held the position of global account manager handling some of the company’s largest accounts, plus manufacturing assignments in Shanghai, China and assignments in Rochester, New York as product development manager.
He was also a former electronics technician at Bendix Corporation, now Honeywell. He attributes his career path to the great foundation he obtained as a student at Sumner High School. “The three years of electronics training I had at Sumner enabled me to pass the Electronics Test at Bendix and begin making some pretty good money right out of high school,” he said.
While working at Bendix, he attended classes at Kansas City, Kansas Junior College. He would later go on to earn a bachelor’s of science and a bachelor’s of arts from Avila College. He completed the Kellogg Advanced Management for entrepreneurs at Northwestern University in 2003 and the Tuck Advanced Management Training for Entrepreneurs at Burns & McDonnell, sponsored by Dartmouth College in 2016.
He is a member of the National Minority Supplier Council, Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce, and a member of The Strategic Alliance Partners for Xerox, Konica Minolta, HP, Lexmark, Toshiba, and Brother Business Products.
What advice does he have for budding entrepreneurs? “First, you need to decide the type of business you want to open; doing something you already know makes it easier than embarking on an industry you know nothing about. Next, you want to write a business plan and obtain financing.”
Most of all, he said, “do not be afraid of failure. In anything you decide to do, you will fail at some facets of it, but you will have other doors open and successes along the way. Each will teach you something powerful that you will use for a lifetime.”