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Best Web Design Firm
Even as a teenager, Christopher Dalton knew he wanted to have a tech career.
“I’ve been dabbling with website design since high school. “My high school friends and I were computer nerds. It seemed inevitable.”
He and his schoolmates used their skills to modify video games and craft websites for fun, he said. After graduation from Worcester State University in 2005, Dalton held a series of IT jobs at help desks for a variety of companies.
In 2014, his breakthrough moment came when he was hired by Cinch IT to be its full-time web designer. The Worcester firm offers tech support for businesses, and Dalton’s job was to build websites for their clients.
While he won’t name the companies, Dalton said he created sites for businesses of all sizes, from a hair salon to a manufacturing plant with $50 million in annual revenues.
But when Cinch sold the web design portion of the business two years ago and laid him off, Dalton faced an uncertain future. For a time, he lived off savings as he tried to figure out his next move.
“I was lost and unsure of what to do,” he said. “I knew I was tired of the lack of job security and wanted to launch my own website design business. But I didn’t have a cent to get started.”
He got a business license, created a website for what would later become his new company, and spent a few bucks on business cards.
“It was terrifying,” Dalton said. “I was confident of my web design skills, but running a business was a foreign concept to me. I read everything I could get my hands on, like I was cramming for a final exam.”
In those early days, Dalton called people to say he had started a web design company.
“I let them know I was business for myself and if they needed help with web design, I was their man,” he said.
And it worked.
His first three clients included creating websites for JTB Wellness, the Uxbridge yoga studio, Sitec Environmental Inc., an engineering and land use planning group in Marshfield, and Live Action Escapes, the Worcester entertainment company locking customers in a room and giving them 45 minutes to solve puzzles and escape.
Today, most of his work comes from referrals, Dalton said. He employs a web designer, a marketing specialist, and a part-time accountant. He sold the firm to Cinch IT President Rick Porter in August, although Dalton remains its CEO.
“Within five years, I hope to expand and have an even larger staff,” he said.
Best Video Production
With more than 35 years of experience, Pagano Media enhances storytelling with the latest digital tools, to create engagement and measurably achieve results. Its team seeks to be at the forefront of artificial reality, virtual reality and digital application development to immerse viewers in product or service experiences.
Best Commercial Printer
In the evolving world of printing – where businesses need less materials printed but are looking for a higher quality – Curry keeps a strong focus on understanding clients’ needs, in order to help them achieve their objectives. This includes saving those clients time and being more efficient with their print communications.
Best Awards & Promotional Products
A third-generation business priding itself on customer satisfaction, Engraveables has invested in new technology and training for its small staff to enable the company to engrave virtually anything on almost any surface.
Best IT Services Provider
Cinch I.T. differentiates itself in the tech world by providing fast and friendly computer support to businesses, in an industry plagued by slow response and a lack of customer service skills. Cinch’s newest product is cybersecurity training for businesses, including simulated phishing emails, security awareness training, and weekly micro-training to keep security top-of-mind.
Best Internet Service Provider
Spectrum Enterprise is a part of the national Charter Communications, Inc., which offers fiber technology for business and communications service providers. Its products include internet access, ethernet access and networks, voice and TV solutions.
Best Advertising Agency
With a management team bringing more than a century of leadership expertise, PENTA offers a strategic and holistic approach to help clients achieve their desired advertising results through a wide spectrum of services, including events, marketing and public relations.
Best Sign Company
Serving industries ranging from health care and real estate to corporate and architecture, Sunshine’s portfolio includes the Worcester Public Library, wayfinding for the Town of Lincoln, and Marlborough medical device manufacturer Hologic, Inc. The company focuses on hiring highly skilled workers, who use the best materials available.