Featured Bozemanites: Amanda and Ty Dingman
Liz Krause Williams | Sunday Aug. 31st, 2014
I sit across the dark wooden booth of my favorite pizza and beer joint listening to Amanda and Ty Dingman, owners of Fast-Teks® On-Site Computer Services, chat about growing up in Bozeman. I take a sip from my IPA while the couple—married for five years—engage in storytelling about how they met. They were twelve years old and Amanda came over to “hang out.” For some reason, I instantly imagine Ty with bowl cut hair and a tucked-in polo shirt.
Amanda and Ty were high school sweethearts at our very own Bozeman High School (BHS). At sixteen years old, Amanda asked Ty to “Twirp,” the equivalent of a Sadie Hawkins dance. Amanda tells me they were both really shy. I believe it about Ty, her naturally quiet other half, but I’m not sure I believe she’s ever been too shy.
Amanda’s parents are both career entrepreneurs. They were the original owners of a Hutterite chicken farm near Logan, Montana. At the time, they raised the chickens and sold them to the Hutterite community. After her parents divorced, her mother turned over operation of farm to the community and embarked on new businesses and her father started a steel building operation he still owns today in the Gallatin Valley.
Her mom pursued various business opportunities that took Amanda to Livingston, Helena, Lewistown, Hardin, Custer, and Emigrant between the ages of eight and twelve. She thrived in the tiny school setting. In the seventh grade, she was a high school cheer leader…the small town didn’t have enough students to make up a squad of high school aged cheerers. She also attended her first high school prom in the seventh grade. Life of small town Montana!
When they returned to Bozeman, Amanda found the 1200 students at Bozeman High a bit overwhelming coming from a class of seven. She enrolled in the Bridger Alternative High School for its smaller class size, in addition to BHS and zipped through high school in only two and a half years.
While Amanda’s entrepreneurial roots seem to be blood-born, Ty’s were self-nurtured. His parents had very different—though equally impressive—career paths. Both demonstrate rare longevity and company dedication. By the time they retired, his mom had a thirty-five year tenure with Kmart and his father worked for the Bozeman Parks Department for 30 years.
They value hard work and consistency and even though Ty always planned to be a business owner, he inherited that same set of values. He’s been putting it to use since he was eight years old, picking up trash in the parks. By the time he was in his teens, he had his first business mowing lawns. He knew at a young age he’d be the one making jobs, not filling them.
And so, when Amanda and Ty hit it off at the dance when they were 16 and 17 years old respectively, their early life experiences had set the stage for a powerhouse entrepreneurial team. Less than two years later, both had graduated high school and both were pursuing small business opportunities.
Ty started a sprinkler company and also worked for Management Associates doing landscaping and construction. Amanda was a Pilates instructor and managed Spruce Haven Wellness, her mother’s business. Noticing a market gap, Amanda and her sister Kim started a construction cleaning business.
Both Ty and Amanda noticed a niche: customer service. No matter the business, there was always need for exceptional attention to serving the client or customer. Fortunately, that happens to be a gift both of them have. When they looked for a new business opportunity, they were drawn to ideas that could deliver the greatest customer impact. That’s when they found Fast-Teks® Computer Services franchise.
The Dingmans opened the local business in 2011 and have grown to a staff of four technicians in under three years. It works like this: you have a problem with a computer, they will come to you – where ever you are (Costco parking lot, the M trailhead, your office). If you call, you will speak to someone in under four hours, guaranteed. It’s all about convenience and getting rid of your technology headache as soon as possible. And they guarantee their work for thirty days.
The local Fast-Teks® technicians are fully certified, professional, and have over twenty years of combined experience. And, if all that isn’t enough, the team practices honesty and integrity with each and every client. It’s no wonder they’ve been successful.
The company is seeing most of their growth helping large companies with complex networks. Companies like real estate agencies and car dealerships that have one umbrella company with 12-80 mini-companies underneath.
When I ask what keeps them interested in business-ownership, Ty says “Job creation is my personal (mission). A lot of people want to stay in Bozeman. Most college graduates can’t stay here (because they can’t find work). I give people an opportunity to stay here.” I nod my head in approval.
For as fun loving as they are (trust me, they are fun-loving, music-watching, party-having, playful-entertaining, outdoor enthusiasts, friend and family passionate), there’s an old wisdom to them. They may be light, but they are grounded. They are often silly, but always thoughtful. You are just as likely to find them on a tube with a cooler full of beer as you are to find Amanda in an apron baking a from-scratch cheesecake and Ty opening the front door with a bowler hat on his head and a briefcase in his hand. If I had to sum them up in one word, I’d call them charming.
It’s entertaining to listen to their storytelling. They speak at the same time. Sometimes giving the same answers in their own words (at the same time). Sometimes filling in each other’s answers with details—the classic “finishing each other’s sentences.” It’s endearing. Amanda with her peppy voice, crescendo-ing in line with her enthusiasm and Ty with his even, low beat.
If I had more space, I’d tell you about Ty’s competitive soccer days and both of them winning in Bridger Bowl snowboarding competitions. I’d tell the remarkable story of survival and family love that emerged from a traumatic brain injury. I might even spend some time talking about the growing population of nieces and nephews or the new business ideas the pair are working on (investors welcome!). But, I’ll keep it short and end with these thoughts:
The couple is the epitome of opposites attract and balance. She’s outgoing and boisterous. He’s shy and slow to jump in the middle. She’s going, going, going; he’s encouraging a rest day once in a while. Amanda tells me of Ty, “He is just one of the nicest people you’ve ever met. When things aren’t going as you planned, he makes you feel like it’s going to be okay.”
I ask Ty what I should know about Amanda that she’d never tell me. He pauses pensively for a minute and I see Amanda holding her breath and wriggling in the booth. The silence lasts two beats before she pipes in with “I tell everybody everything!”
Ty laughs and agrees, looking at her lovingly. He adds, “She cares about everybody and everything – more than most people do. She’s always been the “mom” in our friend group. She takes care of people. That’s one of my favorite things about her.”
Amanda and Ty are creating jobs in Bozeman with their dogs Rain and Kya and their cats Daisy and Pepper. Three months from now, just before Christmas you’ll find Amanda on petfinder.com trying to fulfil her fantasy of finding a puppy under the Christmas tree. And you’ll find Ty smiling gently at her efforts.