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MC Weekly

September 25, 2013

RAY MOSCOWITZ: Born in Peru, 1up! grows up in Kokomo

Former photojournalist David McChesney takes web-based business global.

The two Daves sat exhausted in a van along U.S. 31, waiting for a traffic light north of Westfield, when along came Tiger Woods — sort of.

This was autumn 1998, and David McChesney and David Sutton were facing a deadline to register their new company’s name with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, as required by law.

They were listening to the news on the radio, when the announcer reported that Tiger Woods was “one up” in a golf tournament.

“It was perfect,” McChesney, now 49, recalls today. “We knew our competitors couldn’t keep up with our flexible business philosophy … so, 1up! was it.”

Today, 1up! — born in Peru and raised in Kokomo — is at the forefront of providing Web-based content-management systems to several hundred community newspapers, small businesses, municipalities, non-profits and content distribution customers.

The company also works with a variety of publications that transform their print products into electronic editions. Other clients use 1up! for electronic commerce, email and custom programming projects.

While firmly based in Kokomo, 1up! hosts its website in Indianapolis, rubbing shoulders with some world-renowned companies, including Eli Lilly.

It hasn’t been easy, but what 1up! has achieved in 15 years illustrates how foresight, faith, financing and — literally — sweat can pay off.

One day in the 1990s, McChesney and Sutton faced one of their first technical challenges at 1up!

“Before the Internet was mainstream, we had a few setbacks in the form of sporadic power outages,” McChesney remembers. “On a very hot summer day, we were trying to cool the servers in a darkened office. We gathered up a portable generator, household room fans and huge buckets of ice.

“Computer servers will turn themselves off when they hit too high a temperature. Our challenge was to quickly enough get the portable power running and the fans and ice working to cool the servers.

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