Degree: Computer Systems Technology
Year of graduation: 2017
An entrepreneurial spirit
How Matthew Zarrillo turned a passion for tech and customer service into a winning IT business
For many college students, convocation represents a moment in time when they’re forced to jump from the safety of school into the working world. Rather than take a leap into the unknown, Matthew Zarrillo opted to build a bridge, starting his information technology management company while he was still a student.
Zarrillo is the founder of Zarr Tech Canada — a company that provides managed IT services, cloud computing, IT consulting, IT security and on-demand services and support for small-to-medium-sized businesses in the GTA.
The self-made entrepreneur used the skills he developed in Sheridan’s Computer Science and Security program early on, starting the company part-time while still in school and going on to focus on it full-time after graduation.
“I’ve always had a passion for technology, and I was taught, especially in the early years, that you need to follow your passion,” he says. “It’s the old saying that if you do something you enjoy, you’ll never have worked a day in your life. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to do that.”
Adding to Zarrillo’s experience and skill set was Sheridan’s co-op program, which had him working with the IT department at TD Bank. The experience not only gave Zarrillo insight into the inner workings of a large-scale enterprise, but also a glimpse into how the IT industry could change over the years.
“I knew I didn’t want to get stuck in a job that wouldn’t be there in the next five, ten or even 15 years — I wanted to move with the trends. As I was shaping my career, I thought about my co-op and my studies, and the success I was seeing with Zarr Tech even while building it slowly part-time, and I thought now was the time to see if I could expand.”
Although Zarrillo struck out on his own to start Zarr Tech, he was able to build the company through roots that he had already forged in the community. Zarrillo was born and raised in Oakville, going on to graduate from Sheridan’s Trafalgar campus. Since then, he’s made an effort to immerse himself in the Oakville community through attending local workshops, tradeshows, seminars and webinars.
Embedding in the community not only helps educate Zarrillo and his staff about the challenges and questions facing the businesses he serves — it also gives him the opportunity to give back and support the city that has helped him along that way. To that end, Zarr Tech also makes an effort to hire Sheridan co-op students, fostering those looking to establish a career in IT.
“It’s a way for us to grow internally, being able to reach out and bring in students that want to seek opportunities in the info tech industry…we’re able to see what they know and what they don’t, and relate that to what we’re doing in the industry or need to start doing,” he explains. “It helps me as an employer, but also as a company and a service provider to stay in tune and communicate with schools such as Sheridan. They’re staying current, which helps us stay current as well.”
An emphasis on reliability and trust have been key to Zarr Tech’s success and growth over the past few years. Zarrillo says he was able to earn the trust of clients during his time at Sheridan, which in turn stayed with him after graduation and passed on positive reviews to other companies on the lookout for IT support.
“We have a small team, which works well with the needs of the clients we serve in the Halton community,” he explains. “We get back to them in a timely manner, and they like working with a local partner because they like to support small businesses and community members as well.”