Focusing on two very successful companies: American Services Technology, Inc. (ASTI) and One Source Office Products, Inc.
This story began way back in February at the Grant Street Center when the South Brevard NAACP ACT-SO and UMOJA enrichment program hosted a “Meet the Professionals” networking session for local high school students. This session was attended by local companies, engineers, scientists, educators, medical personnel, financial and other experts. I attended this activity and had the pleasure of chatting with the company reps, several of the professional attendees and the young people as I wandered around the room taking pictures. Among the many companies that volunteered their time to support this very worthwhile event was American Services Technology, Inc. (ASTI) owned by Mr. and Mrs Moses Harvin. As I chatted briefly with Mr. Harvin, I grew more and more curious about his company and wanted to learn more. My first thought was that this story should be told; it should be shared with the community via the Ebony newspaper. So I asked him for his permission to write an article about his very successful family run company. The following week I contacted Mr. Harvin for an appointment and spent a very interesting couple of hours interviewing both Mr. and Mrs. Moses Harvin. After dealing with my GPS issues, I arrived at their offices, signed in at the receptionist’s desk and was shown into Mr. Harvin’s very handsomely decorated office. I was distracted for a moment and impressed by all the awards on his walls presented to both him and to Mrs. Harvin; they truly exemplified a very successful business career. I also noticed several musician figurines and learned that Mr. Harvin is in fact a musician; his bachelor’s degree is in music. Mr. Harvin retired from the US Army as shown in plaques documenting his military career. He retired in June 30th 1994.
Audrey: Tell me about American Services Technology, Inc.
Mr. Harvin: We were incorporated in December of 1995. We started in our home in Viera and later moved into the NASA and the State of Florida Incubation Business Center at Eastern Florida State College formally known as BCC NASA Titusville. We started in what was called the Technology Transfer Program. We took government inventions, re-invented them and miniaturized them for commercial use. We did that for a little while with NASA’s blessings. Things were going well until we realized that it took more time than we had anticipated to start producing any revenues, so I had to change my business plan. Rather than stay in the technology side of the house, we went with a facilities support maintenance program for military bases and agencies throughout the country. ASTI is an experienced multidisciplinary support services firm specializing in Facilities Support, Operations and Maintenance, Logistics Support and Construction Services. The business is certified as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE).
For your information, we have two companies. The other company is One Source Office Products; which was born out of ASTI. We noticed that the government, especially NASA, was purchasing lots of office products from American Services; which is a company that provides services from building maintenance, vehicle, food services, small and large administrative and procurement contracts, logistics and more to bases. What American Services did not provide was office supplies We recognized the need and formed One Source Office Products to fill that need. There are currently some 12,000 office product line items online at our website, Click Here. Both companies are Tier One Suppliers for our team partners Office Depot/ OfficeMax. We perform all the tasks at our corporate office. We host a state of the art website. We provide all of the customer services such as invoicing, all of the
front-end “stuff” to ensure the delivery of products from over 30 warehouses throughout the country. One Source was born in January of 2008. One Source’s primary contract is with the DOD General Services Administration (GSA); however, the company does extend its services to the general public as well. So anyone with a credit card can purchase general office supplies from the One Source website and depending on the product, the item will be delivered the next day.
Mr. Harvin: I’ve told you about both companies because I wasn’t sure which company you’d write the article about.
Audrey: Well, you know, it’s interesting that you mentioned this because I’ve been thinking about my approach for this article. Actually, I wanted to focus not only on the business but also on the family, i.e., the man and his wife and their children, i.e., the people who worked very hard to get to where you are today. So I came to the conclusion that you really can’t do one without the other, so I’d like to write about this very prolific family and their business.
Mr. Harvin: It’s a family business. I am the majority shareholder of ASTI and my wife Emma is the majority shareholder of One Source. So we assign tasks between the two businesses. We complement each other very well. We also have a very professional corporate staff which rounds out the team.
Audrey: Why did you decide to go into business?
Mr. Harvin: Well, it’s been a dream for many years. When I was in the military, I thought about what I might do when I retired. I didn’t really want to work for someone; I really wanted to own my own business. I came from entrepreneurial stock. My mother was a hairdresser, as a matter of fact; I was born in her beauty shop. I think I got my entrepreneurial genes from her. My father was a factory worker and my mother had her little shop that was located in an extension to our house. My sisters are running the shop today. It took a while to come to that realization, though. I didn’t want a beauty shop; neither did I want a little mom and pop shop, nor a retail shop; I wanted a full corporation. I figured, if other people can do it, so can I. So I thought, how can I do this? We were blessed to meet a couple; Jake and Joyce Dixon, who were the owners of Creative Management in Cocoa Beach. Mr. Dixon has since passed away and Joyce moved to North Carolina. I didn’t know him very well but when I was getting ready to retire, I called him an asked him for a job. He gave me a job and I shared my dream with him about owning my own company. I worked for Mr. Dixon for a year and learned from that experience. Then one day he politely told me to go follow my dream. Of course, there’s never a good time to leave a perfectly good job. I kicked myself for opening my big mouth about my dream but Jake had taught me how the business end works; he had prepared me and he knew it was time for me to step out on faith. When we started, there were only three employees. We’ve grown our company to more than 230 employees. Our oldest daughter Cheri is in Ohio who handles some internet and social media outlets for us. She also conducts event, trade shows and attends meetings not only in Florida but also in Ohio and North Carolina. Moses II, our son, is located at our corporate office in Rockledge; he is the Director of Business Development and Marketing for ASTI. He also is very skilled in technical proposal writing. Belinda, our other daughter, is the One Source Office Products Operations Director. We are so proud of all them. I hear so many horror stories about kids today and thank God that ours are doing so well. Their business involvement leaves Emma and me available to explore other business ventures.
Audrey: What are your goals and objectives for the company?
Mr. Harvin: My goal was to build a premier company. The hallmark of our companies is honesty and integrity. We’re Christian based Company who strive to keep ourselves grounded in faith. We’re here to hire people, to create jobs for folks that are less fortunate than us. Mrs. Harvin is good at hiring people. Emma has this knack for selecting quality employees. She’s very intuitive; sees deeply into people. She has a gift to select good people; which is a trait that is very beneficial to the businesses.
Audrey: I was very impressed with this facility when I drove up.
Mr. Harvin: This was another dream, i.e., to build a 10,000 sq. ft. facility. Both companies are housed here. ASTI in this section and One Source is on the other part of the building.
Audrey: How do you give back to the community?
Mr. Harvin: Through our church. One of our primary projects is the Annual Summit of Seven; which is a Boys and Men’s Conference. It’s held at Mt Moriah Missionary Baptist Church of Palm Bay. It’s a three day program geared towards uplifting and exposing young boys, youth and men to opportunities that will make them successful in life. Last year’s keynote speaker at the banquet was the Honorable James E. C. Perry, Florida Supreme Court Justice.
Audrey: Mr. Harvin was appointed by the governor to be a member of the Board of Trustees at Eastern Florida State College, he’s on the executive board of United Way, he’s on the Civilian Military Counsel, Eastern Florida State Foundation, he is also on the Board of Trustees at his alma mater Claflin University of Orangeburg S.C., he’s on the board at the King Center for the Performing Arts, and the first African American to be the chairman of the board of the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Audrey: After our interview, Mr. Harvin took me on a tour of his beautiful office space. We visited the ASTI side first and then wandered over to the One Source side of the building where I met his daughter, Belinda, the other employees and I settled in Mrs. Harvin’s office to chat with her for a few minutes.
Audrey: Mrs. Harvin, many business textbooks tell us that when considering starting a small business, the entrepreneur should look for a “need” in the community. Obviously, you found a need for making office supplies available, so you started One Source Office Products. Tell me about One Source.
Mrs. Harvin: One Source Office Products, Inc., a woman-owned and minority- owned and small business, is a full service office product company providing a diverse product offering to fulfill your office needs. The company offers an extensive selection of office products, office supplies, technology products and office furniture in a one stop environment. One Source is a web based store. It was born I 2008 in this office with 5 or 6 people who shared the same vision. All of us had something to contribute. The end result is a fantastic website. Office Max is excited to work with us because they don’t have to hold our hands; we stand on our own. We need them but we don’t need their systems. One Source contracts to the government as well as ASTI. God has blessed us. He puts things in our way and says “do this” and we listen. We recognized early on that God blesses us to bless others.
Audrey: The Harvin’s are both from South Carolina and they’ve known each other since they were children. Mr. Harvin attended Claflin University, a historically Black College and Mrs. Harvin graduated from Sumter Cosmetology School and attended the University of Kentucky. They married very young and have been married for 40 years. They
settled in Brevard County after Mr. Harvin retired from Patrick Air Force Base. As noted in the article, the Harvin’s attribute their success to being in tune with God’s Blessings, their strong family ties and a passion for following their dreams. It was my pleasure to interface with and to share the story about this remarkable family. I wish them continued