Features

Angela Tyczkowski – Marco Technologies

In-house law not just an acquired taste

There has been just too much growth for Angela Tyczkowski to personally quarterback all acquisition matters in her capacity as general counsel for Marco Technologies. More than 20 since she accepted the challenge of starting an in-house legal department for the St. Cloud, Minnesota-based business-to-business technology provider in 2012. The pace has only picked up, among the most recent buys being Phillips Office Solutions.

She’ll entrust the St. Cloud firm of Gray Plant Mooty to work acquisitions while concentrating on integrating the newcomers and their product offerings. Phillips seems an especially promising addition, its status as a leading provider of copiers, printers and document management solutions further complementing Marco’s already formidable technological acumen depended upon by some 35,000 customers worldwide. Based in Pennsylvania and with a strong presence in Maryland, Phillips also extends Marco’s footprint from the Upper Plains to the East Coast.

Got to make the new operations right at home, Tyczkowski tells Vanguard in March, noting that in the past decade Marco has achieved roughly 20 percent annual compound growth on the top and bottom lines. Half of that has come from the organic route with the rest from acquisitions. She and the rest of her legal team—that’s contractual specialist Jessica Brigman—relish in sustaining the company’s success, though the task is becoming more and more complex, including serving customers with international locations.

Far more complex than Marco founders Gary Marsden and Dave Marquardt could have anticipated when they opened a small typewriter shop in St. Cloud in 1973.

Strength in diversity

“Our product offerings have become so diverse that I’m spending a lot of time learning new technologies and how they are essential to our customers’ success—in both market competition and cybersecurity,” Tyczkowski says.

Bolstered by more than just a working knowledge of technology, Tyczkowski is well-positioned to select key vendor partners, establish strong compliance and risk-management tools, and guide Marco through myriad product introductions that include cloud-based solutions, digital voice and wide area network services, security assessments and data protection technology.

She oversees all legal matters of the company, including employment law—no routine responsibility as the workforce has grown to over 1,400 in 11 states—and serves on the company’s Information Security Leadership Team, a role that is crucial as the clientele includes financial institutions and health care providers. Given the need for enhanced data protection everywhere, she’d advise any such company to assemble that kind of team.

“What’s exploding is privacy and security legislation around the world,” she says, noting that Europe’s year-old General Data Protection Regulation has caused other countries—and U.S. states—to come up with similar legislation. “The IT side of our business is constantly evolving with new technology, and we focus on staying ahead of the curve.”

The United States being a rare modern country without a federal data-privacy law, Tyczkowski can see that changing in the not-too-distant future. Such a law might enable easier compliance compared to the evolving regulations at the state level, she says, but reaffirming Marco’s commitment to compliance at any level.

“For every bit of convenience that new IT brings, there is a corresponding security risk to manage,” she reminds. “That’s just how it works as we ride this wave as a top IT provider.”

And she’s glad to practice that skill in-house.

From Marquette to Marco

Having earned her undergraduate and law degrees at Marquette University, Tyczkowski would cut her legal teeth as an associate with Godfrey & Kahn in Appleton, Wisconsin, from 1991 to 1996, then go to Appvion Inc.—formerly Appleton Papers—climbing the ladder to vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer for the next dozen years.

“Private practice was fine, but in-house you get to be part of the business and I like that,” she says. “You’ve got one client, and it’s your role to contribute to that client being profitable, efficient and successful. It’s a ball, being able to involve in all areas of the company.”

She’d leave Appvion in 2008 to pursue a much different passion for the next four years, serving as president, board chair and general counsel at Fox Valley Jail Ministry, which brings bible studies and worship to Wisconsin’s inmates. Though Tyczkowski would leave the ministry in 2013, her commitment to serving humanity endures.

“I measure my success by how I have loved others, not just how well I’ve practiced law, and that includes taking the time to mentor others,” says Tyczkowski. “The ‘test is how you love’ is the advice I give to others. When you’re 53—as I am—and look back, I’d better be able to say that I’ve contributed to the well-being of others. That’s the wellspring of real fulfillment.”

It’s a lesson she emphasizes to her two daughters, one of whom is an aspiring doctor. Should she earn that medical degree, mom might be ready to assist her patients, though from an unconventional angle. You see, another member of the Tyczkowski family, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Hope, is undergoing training to be a therapy dog.

“Her name is Hope because that’s what she brings to people,” Tyczkowski says. “She has just had her first class and is a real snuggler. I’m thinking she’ll be just right to visit hospices and children’s hospitals.”

Tyczkowski will continue to make a difference on and off the job while making every day an adventure. She has caught the running spirit from her marathon-running daughter and recently ran a 5K in her new Nikes in minus-20-degree temps. Her other daughter being a California sun lover and avid traveler, mom hopes the two can travel to Africa to visit an elephant sanctuary.

“Life is a wonderful opportunity for fun and to serve others,” she says.

And with all that technological savvy, she certainly plans to use it in all of her adventures.

Published on: June 13, 2019

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