Rodney Gullatte Jr. didn’t waste a second getting to know his new community upon arriving in Colorado Springs in August 2015. When the 37-year-old Air Force veteran relocated to the city with his wife (who is currently in the Air Force) and their two daughters, Gullatte promptly joined a handful of networking groups. He’d just expanded his Florida-based company, Firma IT Solutions & Services, to the Pikes Peak region and he was ready to get down to business.

His network has since expanded considerably, and in the past few years, those who have gotten to know Gullatte will often hear him ask what he can do for them.

Leanne Schmidt, co-founder of the IT company Springs Technology, was one of Gullatte’s nominators for the Rising Star award. She said his selfless attitude is the main reason she nominated him.

“When I think of someone who embodies the philosophy of give first, I think of Rodney,” Schmidt said. “He also deserves recognition for his commitment to excellence, raising the bar professionally for himself and his clients. Those around him can’t help but be influenced for good by his energy and example.”

Ansley Reese, owner of Ansley Marie’s Salon and Spa, used Gullatte’s services in the past, and also nominated him for the recognition.

“He is definitely a Rising Star! All of his networking and community projects that he is constantly a part of and helping with is incredible! He is the type of person I know everyone would like to do business with,” Reese said.

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Gullatte said, “I guess I’m doing something right. … It’s a nice feeling.”

Both new and established business professionals should make community involvement a priority, he said.

“It’s not just young people but anybody trying to be successful in their community,” Gullatte said. “The community is going to make you successful. … I do what I can to give to the community because, at the end of the day, it’s the community that gives me business and awards and makes me feel special. All I have to do is concentrate on the giving piece. I think a lot of people focus on taking. You can have some success being a taker, but at the end of the day, it’s more fulfilling to not just make money but know you’ve had a positive impact on your community.”

Gullatte said setting priorities led to his success.

“Young people sometimes think they’re too young to be taken seriously,” he said. “If you’re good, focus on your excellence. Don’t focus on the money. Not all money is good money and if you focus on money, you’ll always chase money. Focus on the relationships you build with other people and what you can do in your sphere of influence to help other people achieve what they want to achieve.”

— Bryan Grossman

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be an example of what the measure of a man should be for my daughters … an example for the people in the community I live in — and a kick-ass businessman.