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Houston software entrepreneur discusses company growth and the importance of remembrance during Pride Month

For Cody Gremminger, this month is about remembrance. Courtesy of Cyber One Solutions

One day, Cody Gremminger sat down with his fiance, Brian Carrico, and decided going into business together was something they wanted to explore. They put their heads together, thought of a name — Cyber One Solutions — and created a management, service and IT support company that serves the greater Houston area with satellite offices in Austin, Dallas, Lufkin, Brenham, and Beaumont.

Cyber One Solutions has experienced massive growth in less than two years of being in business, and InnovationMap sat down to talk with Gremminger about Cyber One's next steps, what it's like working with your partner, and the importance of the support gained by the LGBTQ community.

InnovationMap: Your company is less than two years old, but you’ve had massive growth and success. What are some lessons that you’ve learned throughout that time?

Cody Gremminger: We're an IT company, so definitely making sure that we have a huge book of processes and everything like that. Organization is one of the most important things. Finding good people that treat your clients that way that you treat them. Whenever you start off with a company and it's just the two founders, you know how you want to treat all of your clients. But it is hard to find people to treat the clients the same way you want to treat them.

IM: What do the next steps of Cyber One Solutions look like?

CG: The next steps of the company at this point are to keep growing and keep taking care of our current clients, just like every company in their infancy age.

IM: Are you planning on growing your team or slate of services anytime soon?

CG: We are looking into both. We have a couple of our team members working on getting further certifications and further training into new aspects of IT. We're also working on growing our current client base past what we already have.

We have some clients that we work with every month because we have a contract with them, and we have some clients that kind of come and go. On a monthly basis, we probably work with about 25 to 30 clients and then as far as people who need a hard drive replaced or something like that, it adds about 10 to 15 extra clients a month.

IM: You and Brian own the business together. What are some of the pros and cons of being a couple and working together?

CG: There's a lot of pros. It's really good because you are both fully committed. We're normally on the same page; we're always on the same team. We're both here for Cyber One Solutions. It kind of helps that this is how we pay our bills too.

We're very actively involved and dedicated to it. Some of the cons could be that work never quits. Once you get home, what are you going to talk about? Well, we've been working together all day so we're going to talk about work.

I suspect that other couples talk about their different jobs, while we talk about things we worked on at the same company. It is a different dynamic. My parents actually own a company together and work together too, so it's not abnormal for me, I guess.

IM: As members of the Greater Houston LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, you’re connected with a wide variety of entrepreneurs in the LGBTQ community. Why is having that support system so important?

CG: We're members of the LGBT Houston chamber, and we're also recently, as of March or April, we got our National LGBT Chamber certification. The Houston LGBT Chamber is one of our favorites. It's just a place where we feel like everybody is actually there for each other. They are there to meet new businesses and talk to everybody. It's super friendly, and it's a place where you can just be yourself. It's awesome. I love going to all of their events.

IM: What does pride month mean to you?

CG: Pride month to me is all about celebration, awareness, and remembrance. At Pride, everybody is there and we are all celebrating the fact that we are who we are, and we're all celebrating each other. Awareness kind of goes with celebration.

We start to see corporate logos change color. For example, I took a photo of the HP float at Pride because we are HP partners here at Cyber One, and I do a lot with HP computers. It was cool to see them have a float in the parade. A couple of our vendors that we use, their logos turned rainbow. It's just been really cool.

I would say that remembrance because at pride, they give you a second to stop and look back and see how far this community has come. We've had the Pulse nightclub shooting…we've had Stonewall, which was a theme of the Pride parade this year. It's just all of that wrapped together.

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Portions of this interview have been edited.

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Dr. Darren G. Woodside (right), Dr. Ronald J. Biediger, and their team at the Texas Heart Institute received a $1.14 million grant from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to develop a novel, first-in-class drug. Photo via texasheart.org

Atherosclerosis is a prime pathway to heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. In fact, one in every five deaths recorded in 2021 was due to cardiovascular disease, much of which was caused by atherosclerosis. The thickening and hardening of arteries due to plaque buildup causes the blood vessels to narrow and block blood flow. That leads to the chronic inflammation that causes cardiac events due to atherosclerotic plaque rupture or erosion.

But what if we could lower that inflammation and cut those cardiac incidents off at the pass? Last week, The Texas Heart Institute announced that it had received a two-year, $1.14 million grant from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to develop a novel, first-in-class drug to treat the cardiovascular disease that arises from atherosclerosis.

“Given the sobering mortality statistics associated with heart disease, a novel therapy that could change disease trajectory and delay or prevent events associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease would be a significant improvement to current treatment regimens,” Dr. Darren G. Woodside, vice president for research, senior investigator, and director of the Flow Cytometry and Imaging Core at The THI, says in a press release.

The most common way to prevent an adverse event is through prescribing patients a statin drug, which lowers lipids. There is ample evidence that this isn’t enough to prevent an incident and most current treatments for atherosclerosis are targeted at helping patients only after plaque rupture has already occurred.

The new technology being developed by THI is focused on a new strategy that will suppress white blood cell activation within atherosclerotic plaques before plaque rupture can take place.

Woodside’s co-principal investigator is Dr. Ronald J. Biediger, director of Medicinal Chemistry at THI. Alongside other members of the Molecular Cardiology Research Laboratories at THI, the two doctors are responsible for the technologies that could lead to drug development.

“If successful, our approach would represent a first-in-class therapeutic, as no drugs marketed today take advantage of this specific strategy of targeting integrin signaling through Syk,” says Dr. Woodside, referring to the intracellular protein important to the production of interleukin.

This is just the latest news THI has to celebrate. Earlier this month, the organization received a $32 million donation received a $32 million donation from a patient — the largest charitable donation in its history. Shortly after that news came out, the institute announced a new partnership with the University of Houston Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine that allows those UH medical students to join a clinical rotation at The Texas Heart Institute. The alliance means valuable insights and experience with both inpatient and outpatient cardiology for UH's future doctors.

Dr. Joseph Rogers, president and CEO of THI, shared on the Houston Innovators Podcast his dedication to THI's 60-year legacy and continuing to find new ways to reach heart health care patients.

"Despite all of the advances, cardiovascular disease is still one of the largest killers of Americans. It actually kills more Americans than all types of cancer combined," Rogers says on the show.


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