Age 21: President, Valley Computer Works / Valley Technology Outreach
Delcie Bean had a lemonade stand in his youth like a lot of other kids, but his took the concept to a slightly higher level than most.
“I remember we had four tables with snow cone machines and laminated signs,” he said with a laugh, noting that, as long as he can remember, he’s had that entrepreneurial drive. “I’ve always loved the idea of running a business, making things grow, and seeing things change.”
He also didn’t wait long to move on to more serious pursuits after cornering the lemonade market. As a freshman in high school, Bean founded Valley Computer Works (then called Vertical Horizons), a computer-repair service. He wasn’t old enough to drive a car or open a checking account, but with some help from his family, he parlayed equal interests in business management and technology into a successful venture that continues to grow today.
Valley Computer Works still offers repair services, and also works with small businesses to manage IT operations. A third concentration, selling and servicing point-of-sale hardware and software, especially within the hospitality and restaurant industries, is growing.
At 21, Bean has already accomplished more than many seasoned professionals, but his ongoing interest in facilitating growth and change is not relegated to his own business. Six months ago, he launched Valley Technology Outreach, a nonprofit agency that collects and refurbishes computers in order to pass the hardware on to other nonprofits in the region.
This philanthropic endeavor is the latest in a string of efforts Bean has already put forth. At 17, he organized a ‘climb-a-thon’ of Mount Monadnock to raise money to build a women’s shelter in his native New Hampshire — “I loved seeing a need gradually turn into a building we could actually walk into,” he said — and after moving to Western Mass. with his family in 2000, he joined the board of directors for the Amherst Ballet, for which his sister is a dancer.
In the future, Bean has a few other ideas up his sleeve, including a foray into the real-estate sector. He’s also a consummate student, happy to admit he’s got plenty left to experience.
“I’m entirely self-taught,” he said. “I’ve always loved taking stuff apart and putting it back together — the more I pull things apart, the more I diversify my experience, and the more I learn.”