WISE GUYS: Marcus Lopez (left) and Peter Strickler (right) make the most of an empty space.
Peter Strickler has always been one to act on instinct. Three years ago, the then-26-year-old entrepreneur was enjoying a hearty sales career when one afternoon, while hanging out with his black lab in the courtyard of his downtown Dallas apartment complex, he struck up a conversation with a computer guy named Marcus Lopez. Strickler was itching to start his own enterprise but needed the product. Lopez had the product but needed the operation. What came next was the classic melding of time, place, and talent.
The two kept in communication, and seven months later they formed Digital e-plans LLC, a company specializing in corporate and event space-planning.
“It’s like making a loaf of bread from scratch,” says Strickler, who serves as CEO. With Lopez as president and versed in technology, Digital e-plans has risen solely on the premise that customized software can help event venues maximize the space of any room, including seating and table arrangements, down to the chafing dish. Gone are the days of hand-drawn floor plans. With Digital e-plans, once a room is measured, the software allows the user to drag-and-drop icons into place, resulting in the most useful—and most profitable—seating arrangement for the specific event. Users can then e-mail floor plans to clients.
Strickler and Lopez count as clients The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Hotel ZaZa, Las Colinas Country Club, Petroleum Club, and the City of Plano, in addition to venues across the U.S. and Canada.
“Getting things going, I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights as an entrepreneur,” Strickler says. “But at the end of the day, it’s all worth it.”