Leading Change: KOMAX Business Systems
Bob Maxwell, a Dunbar native and KOMAX Business Systems co-founder, always enjoyed sales and helping people. “When you sell somebody a piece of equipment or fix a problem with their existing equipment, you’re serving people. We know if we serve our customers, everyone will prosper,” he shared.
KOMAX is an office equipment and IT solutions company serving churches, schools, and businesses in half of West Virginia, as well as several counties in Virginia and eastern Kentucky. Additionally, they are the sole provider of copiers for WV State Government, which has more than 8,000 employees. For six years, Office Dealer Magazine has recognized KOMAX as an “Elite Dealer” – the only one in WV – because of their excellence in customer and community service.
KOMAX has made a huge impact in the community. They’ve raised nearly $150,000 granting wishes for children with serious illness through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and recently became a YWCA Leader for Change. YWCA Leaders for Change are corporate partners whose support sustains all of YWCA Charleston’s programs, which serve the most vulnerable people in Kanawha, Clay, and Boone counties. Leaders for Change tailor their support of the mission of the YWCA and can choose to sponsor any of the YWCA’s signature fundraising events with their annual gift.
As a 2018 YWCA Leader for Change, KOMAX sponsored Women of Achievement, Girls Night Out, Guys Night Out and the YWCA Race to End Racism. Additionally, they provided in-kind support with office equipment, including a new printer for the YWCA Hope House domestic violence shelter.
Maxwell shared what motivated him to become a YWCA Leader for Change: “It seemed like the right thing to do. With all the turmoil and discord in our country today, maybe we need to show our respect for women as best as we can because some people don’t. And unfortunately some of our leaders don’t. It just kind of hit a chord as something we should be doing.”
Supporting Girls Night Out was easy for Maxwell, because he saw it as an opportunity to help survivors of domestic violence and treat his female staff to a night of fun. “To show that we are supportive of your mission, and the same time, if our ladies here can benefit from enjoying the event and the evening, it’s kind of a win-win. And, I knew Renee [the GNO sponsorship chair] wouldn’t go away if we didn’t do it,” he laughed.
Through their 2018 Leaders for Change commitment, KOMAX was a sponsor of the 2nd annual YWCA Race to End Racism – and organized a big team of runners and walkers to take part in the event. Bob’s reason for supporting the cause of eliminating racism stems from his childhood.
"I grew up in Dunbar. And you know, I went to school and grew up with black kids. How does someone become a racist? You’re not born a racist. It’s a learned behavior. I was raised where you treated everyone as equal – the way you’d want to be treated. I have people who are good friends that never had interaction with a black person till they got to college, or the first day of their first job. Because WV is so homogenous, I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones. I was raised in a real-world environment where I learned firsthand: it doesn’t matter what color you are or what street you grew up on, it matters how you want to be treated. If you don’t have that experience, you’re going to go by what your parents say. They’re going to help mold your behavior and your beliefs. Sometimes if you haven’t experienced something firsthand, you might not get the true picture, until you experience it firsthand. I was very fortunate to grow up when I did, where I did, with the parents I had. It made me a better person, more accepting of all people."
On behalf of YWCA board, staff and the people we serve, we thank Bob Maxwell and KOMAX Business Systems for being a Leader for Change!
If your company is interested in deepening your commitment to the community through a once-annually multi-event sponsorship pledge, contact Kate Flack for more information – the deadline for 2019 commitment is December 1.