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Conversations with the Council featuring Deana Pizzo, Founder & CEO of IT Solutions of South Florida

It may not be as famous as Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard’s garage, but Deana Pizzo’s former living room has an origin story worth knowing.

"My husband Jason was working for a telecom company that wanted him to move to Charlotte, but we didn't want to leave Palm Beach County,” Deana recalls. “He knew his way around computers and with two toddlers I was already an experienced juggler. So I said, ‘If you take care of the computers, I can handle the rest.’”

And that’s how I.T. Solutions of South Florida was born in an already-crowded Lake Worth living room. “Jason spent the early days and nights fixing other people’s PCs on our coffee table. Meanwhile I’m handling sales, accounting, purchasing and collections with a three-year-old and a nine-month-old strapped to my hip.”

 Twenty years later, their full-service I.T. company provides I.T. support to more than 200 small and medium-sized companies both locally and nationally. They’ve set themselves apart from other providers by starting every client relationship with a hard look at cybersecurity. 

“Most managed service firms approach security as something they bolt onto their regular services,” Deana explains. “We start there, and it informs everything we do. The cyber threat is so pervasive we wouldn’t do it any other way.”

If the obsession with security accounts for part of the company’s extraordinary success, Deana credits her employees for the rest. “Our people are what make us great and allow us to succeed,” she says. “They bring the best of themselves every day, and we’ve tried to reciprocate by creating a culture that fosters collaboration and fun. I’m especially proud the South Florida Business Journal named us a Best Place to Work." 

Like many local CEOs, Deana is worried that her employees are being priced out of paradise. "Their rents are dramatically increasing, and they don't know what to do. Single people are getting roommates. Some are downsizing, which is very concerning for me." 

She believes affordable housing remains one of the most critical issues facing Palm Beach County's business community. "The workforce is the backbone of any business, and they must be able to afford to live here in order to work here. This issue is one of the reasons why I am very active on the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, lending my voice and efforts to make it an employee-friendly county."

Deana joined the council 2 years ago and serves as Chair of the Dwyer Awards. "I’ve been a fan of the council’s work for years, and I think it’s been THE critical driver in keeping our county business friendly. To be counted among this strong group of business leaders is an honor. The council is extremely important to me. It is the organization that I have seen make the most difference in our county. " 

In addition to the macro-level influence the council has demonstrated, Deana likes emphasizing the collaborative aspect of membership. "I really enjoy engaging with other professionals who all share the goal of making Palm Beach County a desirable place to work, live, and play. And that means now and for future generations.”

Perseverance is a word that describes Deana. "I am one of four girls, and my mother taught us never to take no for an answer." However, she wasn't always that way. "If I could go back in time, the advice I'd give to my younger self is don't quit. Believe in yourself more than anyone.” And she has found the path to pursue her passions. She is a problem solver, ready to make a difference, whether through her work as a board member with Nonprofits First, Leadership Palm Beach County, or advancing the technology sector as Vice Chair of South Florida Tech Hub. “It’s important to me to give back.”

Deana’s connection to Palm Beach County goes back to the cradle. "It's grown immensely since I was a kid. I remember when the world stopped at Palm Beach Gardens because that's where 95 stopped." She graduated from Lake Worth High School before going to Palm Beach State and then FAU. 

“I fell in love with earth sciences because I enjoy the different landscapes from the Everglades to the mountains and the oceans and learning how they all evolved." That passion made her want to become a geologist. "I worked in the field for four years and ran a local office for an environmental consulting company." However, that's when her family was faced with the decision to either relocate or embrace their entrepreneurial spirit. Thankfully for her clients and the community, Deana and Jason chose the latter. "I can't imagine a more idyllic place to raise my family and to create a business than right here." 

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