Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ten Questions with Richard Tisdale, Web Developer (and Local Band Member)

(photo courtesy of Rich Tisdale)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Rich Tisdale.

What is your job title and description?

Vice President/Lead Web Developer of Web Development Technology Partners, Inc (WDTP).
WDTP provides website development, graphic design, corporate branding, social media management, search engine marketing, and custom web application development.
(Rich is also a member of the local rock band Bad Habit.)

How do you interact with the local community?

Although creating a website could be done for clients anywhere in the world, the vast majority of our clients are local. People want to physically meet the person they will be spending money on and get to know them. I always encourage clients to come to our office for an initial free consultation to sit down and talk. That really sets up the project for success.
Also, playing in a local band is another way I get out into the community. It’s funny because more than a few times I’ve had a client realize I’m the guy they saw in a local bar playing classic rock and they can’t believe it’s the same person. That’s always good for a laugh.

Who do you interact with the local community?

The great thing about having been in business for over 26 years in Williamsburg is that we’ve been fortunate enough to meet so many local business owners. Helping small and large entrepreneurs in Williamsburg is incredibly rewarding.  I especially love to help people who are starting a business in order to do what they love and realize a dream. Some of our clients include Liz Moore and Associates, New Town, The Cheese Shop, Fat Canary, The Williamsburg Institute, Wythe Candy, The Carousel Children’s Boutique, Michael J. Hipple Builder, and The Williamsburg Symphony.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

That the key to a great website isn’t just technology, although technical knowledge is critical. Technology is just a tool to get you there. The real key is knowing your business, your audience, and your message, and presenting it in a clear, concise, and organized fashion. This demands client participation in the process. We don’t just go into a cave, develop a website, then come out and hope you like it. It’s a very approval-driven process that requires the client to pay attention to reach the maximum benefit. Participation in our web development process will inevitably help you know your business better than you ever did.
But you also need to have a very broad knowledge of web-related technology to fully serve a client. Although the tools that allow you to create websites have gotten very good at hiding complexities, there is no substitute for knowing things like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, DNS and all sorts of related stuff. It can be overwhelming to the uninitiated.
(photo courtesy of Rich Tisdale)

How do you define success?

Getting to do what I love and am good at and exceeding our client’s expectations. I want to be able to point to at least one thing in every website we build that wasn’t included in the contract specifically. If the client feels that they got more than what they paid for then it’s a win-win situation.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

Having been in business for over 26 years is our greatest accomplishment.  If our clients are happy, we continue to receive referrals which is how we get the vast majority of our new clients.
We also designed the logo for WYDaily.com and we’re pretty proud of that!

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

I’m a Williamsburg native who’s lived here my whole life. My father worked for Colonial Williamsburg, I graduated from Bruton High, attended Bruton Parish Church and was married there. I earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and worked as an engineer for 13 years as a civil servant for the Navy. I developed an interest in web development in my off hours. WDTP was started in a small office on Jamestown Road in 1998. I quit my government job in 2000 to run WDTP full time and we’ve been serving the community ever since.

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

I love the unchanging nature of the restored area and it’s strong connection to my childhood and our country’s founding. Running into clients and seeing familiar faces all over town is great also. The benefits of living and working in a small town mean you get to know quite a few of your customers outside of the office.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

I love music and play electric guitar in a local classic rock band, Bad Habit.

What is the next step in your journey?

When you’ve kept your company intentionally small in order to provide the best quality, it doesn’t leave you with a lot of free time to ponder the future. Technology changes so rapidly it keeps me on my toes with having to adapt. It will be interesting to see how AI will impact how we develop websites down the road.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people who live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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