When the economy went south, many people found themselves reevaluating their career choices in the face of unemployment. Monmouth Junction resident Ian Scherzer was no different. The 2003 graduate of South Brunswick High School went to work for Merrill Lynch straight out of college, until the realities of the recession caught up with him.
"I was 23-years-old, right out of college, and I was working in mid-management. I worked hard, was making good money and was moving up in the company," Scherzer, 26, said. "Life was going well. I was on a roll. Then I found myself at Merrill Lynch watching a meltdown. People who worked there for 30 years were getting booted. I saw people who had given their entire lives to corporations getting abused. They were basically told they're disposable, and I thought wow, this world is really tough."
Like so many others faced with unemployment from the corporate world, Scherzer was at a crossroads in his career and his life.
"I went to college for business and computers, I had a good job, and then when the market crashed I was wondering what my next move was," he said. "I was in my early 20's and I was unemployed. With the economic downturn nobody could predict what was going to happen. I was upset and I didn't know what to do."
Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Scherzer opened up his ears. The one thing he kept hearing around town were people upset with the services they were getting in the area of computer repair. With a strong educational background in computer repair and having spent four years working IT in college, Scherzer began to realize the chatter about dissatisfaction with tech repairs could be his true calling.
"I kept hearing people complain about 'The Geek Squad' and other repair places," he said. "The community was asking for help because they weren't happy. That's what I was listening to. It wasn't easy; I had to ask what do I do with this? It was a blank canvas and I had to decide how to paint it. So I decided it was time to take a risk, which wasn't easy at my age, but I felt I needed to try."
So three years ago, Scherzer started his own small business, My Expert PC, which specializes in computer, iPhone, iPad, and iPod repair.
"Finding a good computer guy is like finding a good mechanic," Scherzer said. "Our niche is our free, in-store diagnostics. We pride ourselves on honesty. If it's not worth repairing, we'll tell you it's not worth pouring money into it and what the next step is. We want people to say I trust them and I want them to do the work. The hardest thing to find is people who actually care about what they do, but that's what we do. We're honest people who take pride in what we do."
In addition to at-home and in-store repairs, My Expert PC offers computer optimization services, tune-ups, anti-virus, wired and wireless networking work. With their free diagnostics, My Expert PC's motto is "Why Hire a Geek When You can Hire an Expert?!"
"We kept hearing from people that they would go to Best Buy and hear things like 'what do you mean you don't know what that means?' When they come here we take the time to explain what everything means," he said. "We take pride in our customer service and answering every question. We're all South Brunswick guys, all SBHS graduates. Getting positive feedback from the community is what makes us happy."
As a longtime resident of the township, Scherzer praised the educational background he received growing up in South Brunswick.
"South Brunswick is what prepared me to do what I do now," he said. "From the Blue Ribbon schools in Monmouth Junction, to Crossroads, to SBHS, I was always on the computer in the classrooms. We've also been going to the South Brunswick Public Library giving seminars and doing free repairs for the last couple of years."
Scherzer said his experience at the SBPL in middle school and his time in college helped prepare My Expert PC to handle any problem that arises.
"I've seen everything a student can do to a computer, from pouring beer on it to throwing it out of the window," he said. "I've been playing on computers, breaking them and fixing them since middle school. South Brunswick helped with my growth in computer repairs in a big way. When the economy went sour I didn't have a choice, it was either sink or swim, so I put my heart into repairing computers."
As he continues to pursue his dream driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Scherzer said he doesn't regret his foray from corporate employee to small business owner for even a moment.
"Small businesses support America. We’re the backbone, so people need to support small businesses," he said. "Here, people get personalized service that you don't get from a corporation. In this economy, we need to stick together and support each other. People say you should go get a corporate job again. But it's the American dream to work for yourself and not be bossed around. We treat people well, and I sleep well at night. And that's worth more than money."
My Expert PC is located at 683 Georges Road in North Brunswick. Click here to visit their web site or call 732-982-7144 for more information.