The Download: Sharat Nagaraj, President and CEO, celito.net

Sharat Nagaraj is President and CEO of celito.net.  Sharat launched celito in 1999 with a passion for providing “desktop to the internet” solutions for business. The company creates technology solutions for businesses both large and small across all sectors, including supplying high-speed internet service, VoIP telecom service and turnkey solutions from the desktop to the internet.

A Raleigh resident since 1985 and a graduate of NC State, Sharat’s interest in computer engineering began as a student at Enloe High School. While at NC State, he worked in a co-op program for Cisco Systems and started his first business, Onsite Computer Services.

Sharat enjoys teaching and has taught numerous security classes, utilizing Cisco Systems hardware devices, to large corporate and governmental organizations. He has planned and implemented security systems in organizations throughout Wake County and consulted on large corporate projects around the country.

1. What is in your pockets?
I have two sets of keys to the same car, Aleve and my wallet. I found these keys buried deep in my backpack so I put them in my pocket so that I wouldn’t forget. I’ve got Aleve because I hurt my knee skiing and I need to be taking it to reduce the inflammation. Classic Murphy’s Law. Last day skiing, and close to the last run. Just a slight sprain so I should be okay in a few days.

2. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
We’re finally getting validation as a true local provider doing something really grand, in a sense that you got a lot of people who try to enter the market and can’t. The classic example is Google Fiber. People ask me “You don’t own your own fiber, do you?” and the answer is that we do, we actually do. We have the right of way. We work with the town and cities. So, being the smallest person playing in this enormously large capital-intensive business, it’s just cool for me to get the light validation. I don’t need it, but it is an elevating feeling.

3. What is your favorite coffee spot?
I like Jubala Coffee a lot.  Mainly because it’s near NC State, I’m a huge State fan. You can sit inside the coffee shop and see my favorite view, the Bell Tower. NC State took a chance on me 20 years ago and now I have a Computer Engineering degree.

4. What keeps you up at night?
I’m very much a life-is-now kind of guy. Like you need to live life now and be where you want to be within reason. We all need to work and do other things. I am thankfully in a position where I don’t necessarily need to do everything I don’t want to do, so my worry is not always being able to do that. It’s probably a very cyclical problem. I try to make sure that I’m always able to take time with my kids very importantly. I saw an ad that said “18 summers” and that’s true, you have 18 summers with your kids. How do I stay in that moment? What may prevent me from doing that is what keeps me up at night.

5. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
I love bourbon and whiskey but my favorite would be Second Empire. Chef Shurr is a really wonderful person. He remembers us and it’s really wonderful and I asked my wife to marry me there in 2001, so it’s really a special place.

I love going to the Umstead for drinks. We are very lucky to have a highly rated hotel just right around the corner. It’s just gorgeous and the staff provides world-class service.

6. What is next for you or your organization?
So really there’s not “next.” I’m a firm believer that probably the craziest thing everybody’s been told is that there’s a destination. I don’t think that. I’m truly trying to enjoy the ride of life. I know that one day my kids are going to leave and we’re going to have to retire and I’ll physically not be able to do it. I’m trying not to let little things consume me. So, what’s next is really sharing that feeling of giving, helping one another. There’s no next, it’s just another step in the journey.

And for the company, what’s next is continuing to grow at a very logical rate and making sure we do not become obsolete. I’m very lucky. We are preparing to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

 

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About Brooks Malone 24 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and HQ Raleigh.