BRICK – Dan Carroll was a born entrepreneur.
“I started out cutting our neighbors’ lawns and also managed a lemonade stand at the end corner of the street I grew up in,” Carroll said. “At school, we had fundraisers and I sold cookies with the goal in mind to be the number one salesperson, ahead of everyone else. For me, it was all about putting something out there that everyone could use and have an interest in. They were able to purchase it and it did something for them. When I got something in return for all of my hard work, it felt like I was making something happen for myself.”
That’s what he has developed with Monmouth Computer Associates, his business that provides technology support for business and individual consumers.
“People need the help,” Carroll said. “There are so many people out there who are not tech-savvy and we provide that assistance and peace of mind for those individuals who need guidance to keep their devices working steadily and the technology that comes along with them.”
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Carroll’s interest in computers goes as far back as he can remember.
“Ever since I was little, I began a fascination with computers and technology,” Carroll said. “I was enthralled with the way the wires worked and I started taking things apart and putting them back together. I remember when I got my first computer. I dismantled it and reassembled it again. I just knew how to connect everything and make it work. I loved the mechanics part and the electronics part. Just seeing everything work in the end really made me happy and I continued to evolve with it as I got older.”
‘Something inside my mind just clicked’
Carroll became the go-to guy at his high school for electronics. He developed a reputation for figuring out computers and he put that experience to good use.
“I fixed computers and showed people how they worked,” Carroll said. “I was able to look inside a computer and understand how all the parts functioned. Something inside my mind just clicked. Once I saw the computer light up or the software run successfully, I loved it and it made me happy to see how I could make it all work properly.
“I always had something going on in the back of my brain that was interested to see how everything came together,” Carroll said. “I think that that happens for everyone, in terms of how they can figure out a puzzle like that. This was my puzzle and I loved to constantly solve the equation. It was a nonstop challenge and I always welcomed it.”
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Carroll helped people with computers as a side hustle while pursuing an associate’s degree in business from Brookdale Community College in Middletown.
“I was working on computers for residents and businesses while in school, even before I started Monmouth Computer Associates,” Carroll said. “I really enjoyed my time at Brookdale because I loved the business major. It kind of went hand in hand with my computer gig. It taught me how to market myself and keep track of my financial records with my business.
“There is always something to do in the technical world,” Carroll said. “There are all different things you have to deal with when perfecting the art of technology. People come to me as an expert essentially for their businesses and homes. They want to take advantage of what is out there and what is available to them. There are so many things you have to stay on top of and understand. That’s how quickly and efficiently the technology advances.”
Upon graduating, Carroll knew he had the skills to develop his own full-time business.
“I knew that I really loved this business,” Carroll said. “I knew the ins and outs of computers and I had a lot of experience at this point in my life, so it made sense to do something big with what I was extremely passionate about. It was a no brainer.”
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‘Noticed by word of mouth’
So in 2004, he started Monmouth Computer Associates in Belmar. (He has since moved to Brick in Ocean County, but retained the established name.)
“I loved to work with computers and I also enjoyed helping people,” Carroll said. “It was interesting and fun to me and people needed the service. I felt like it was something like nothing else I had ever done in my life. I got busier and it turned into a full-time business.
“After really racking up my customers and getting my name out there, I just got more and more noticed by word of mouth,” Carroll said. “One day, you help one person or business, and a colleague or business will hear about you and reach out to request that same service to be performed. That was, over the years, how the business grew.”
Carroll and his staff of seven provide information technology (IT) support for anything involving computers, as well as other forms of technology with businesses and residential customers.
“With residential customers, we provide support for any device at home and the technology that goes with it,” Carroll said. “That includes anything inside the house that is technology related. For businesses, we do 24-hour support for local businesses. We focus on businesses that have anywhere from 10 to 50 employees. We make sure that everything is secure for them and they are protected from hackers or anything potentially dangerous in the technological world.”
COVID-19 affected many businesses in different ways and Monmouth Computer Associates is no stranger to making adjustments.
“We had enable our employees to work remotely,” Carroll said. “With the effects of COVID-19, nobody needed as much remote work as they do now. We are able to access people’s computers and devices from a single location and still perform the services they would need as if we were physically there working on their devices. It was a lifesaver and really gave us the edge we needed to accomplish the same tasks and still be successful with helping people and businesses alike.”
Carroll wants his team to become major players in the industry.
“We want to be the go-to for businesses and residents alike,” Carroll said. “We are already established so far, but we want to become bigger and more well-known as we continue to serve our customers. That is the plan and we will stick to it.”
Monmouth Computer Associates
Owner: Dan Carroll
Location: 308 Drum Point Road, Brick
Hours: Weekdays 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.