By David Blanchette
Springfield-based entrepreneur Ram Talluri reaches for the stars with his numerous business ventures around the world, ranging from technology to film production to jumping really high on trampolines.
“It has been a great run so far, and I look forward to adding more value in whatever way I can,” the 45-year-old Talluri said. “I want people to know that with the right attitude and the ability to work hard, together we all can make an impact.”
Talluri has certainly made an impact on Springfield, although people driving by LEAD IT Corporation headquarters at 1999 Wabash Ave. probably don’t realize it is an international company with more than 300 employees. LEAD IT is an information technology services company serving large and small businesses and government clients with their IT service needs. The firm, founded in 2005 and headquartered in Springfield, is one of the Midwest’s largest minority-owned IT consulting service providers and also has offices in Chicago; Albany, New York; Vancouver, Canada; and Hyderabad, India.
Talluri first came to Springfield on a project with the Illinois Department of Insurance and decided to establish his own company in the capital city.
“I always found Springfield to be nice and a great place to raise a family,” said Talluri, who is married and has two children. “When I decided to move, the business opportunities with the state and access to talent were readily available, which made my decision to start the business in Springfield an easy one.”
The company’s first client was the State of Illinois. “When my partner and I started the company, we won our first contract with the Secretary of State, and from there we never looked back,” Talluri said. “We both used to work 18 hours per day on the initial days when the company was growing.”
That opportunity to work hard and succeed is what drew Talluri to the United States from his home country of India.
“It was always my dream to come to the U.S. to pursue my career,” Talluri said. “I quickly
realized the amazing business opportunities available and the various ways to add value to customers, employees and society.”
Talluri currently owns businesses in the United States, Canada, India, Singapore and Dubai.
Like LEAD IT, the primary focus of two of the other firms is technology services.
StackNexus, Inc., is headquartered in Albany, New York. The firm has more than 85 employees and delivers cloud computing and CRM-based technologies.
Smartbridge Education Services, based in India, has more than 70 employees and is an educational technology organization that aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Their experiential learning programs on emerging technologies include such unique learning methods as technology boot camps, hackathons and internship programs.
Talluri also has his hand in the Indian film industry. His company, SRT Entertainments, is a production house that delivers world-class films by assisting independent filmmakers and new talent.
And then there is Sky Zone, with locations in Springfield, Bloomington and three cities in India. Sky Zone is an indoor trampoline park where people of all ages can jump, try out the Challenge Zone, play tug-of-war, compete in sky jousting and other forms of high-sprung entertainment.
“I always wanted to give something back to Springfield, and that is the reason for me to venture into Sky Zone to bring entertainment to kids here,” Talluri said.
Talluri has also become involved in real estate development, buying up several of the properties surrounding Sky Zone, located behind Target in Parkway Pointe.
He purchased the former Carpet Weavers shopping center at auction at the end of 2017 and renovated it to attract new tenants, then built storage units on an adjacent property. Talluri also constructed a 9,800-square-foot strip center across the street from Sky Zone, which now houses Gypsy Soul and Little Lincoln’s Toys.
The list of his business interests seems diverse, and that’s just the way that Talluri likes it. But technology is at the heart of most of what he does and, combined with strong teamwork, it produces the recipe for his success.
“I align myself with a great team and a strong vision,” Talluri said. “I have been fortunate to always have a great team for all my business ventures.”
At the moment, Talluri’s time is split between the United States, India and Dubai, and he is slowly starting to allocate a little time to Singapore.
“As hectic as it might sound, it is so much fun,” Talluri said. “I enjoy meeting with new people, new customers and learning a bit of the culture. That gives me the ability to add value for my customers as I can bring any best practices I learn to them.”
David Blanchette is a freelance writer from Jacksonville and is also the co-owner of Studio 131 Photography in Springfield.