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Baltimore’s Top Workplaces, midsize No. 1: Advancement is the opportunity at Advance Business Systems

For 56 years, Advance Business Systems has provided technology solutions for businesses throughout Maryland, and Jeff Elkin, the firm’s president and CEO, has been there — almost from the start.

Elkin was born two years after his parents, Alan and Lois, founded Advance. He grew up around the company, which in its early days sold copiers and copying supplies. As technology advanced, so did its business. Today, Advance provides everything from printers and copiers to software enhancements, print production, information technology and document management.

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“Our mission statement is that we are a people company with an intense passion for improving our customers' businesses, and enhancing our team members’ lives,” said Elkin, who officially joined the Cockeysville-based company in 1990.

That means “aspiring to do the right thing” for both customers and the company’s 160 employees, he said.

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Advance offers employees tuition reimbursement, passes to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and the National Aquarium, and an on-site wellness program, which includes fitness classes and events on financial and emotional health. Partnerships with the Ravens and the University of Maryland also give employees access to special game day events.

In 2019, Advance launched a service initiative called “We Live and Believe This Stuff” — a play on the company’s tagline, “We live and breathe this stuff.” Advance employees volunteer with several organizations, including the Believe in Tomorrow Foundation, the Maryland Food Bank, the Arc Baltimore and Blue Water Baltimore.

“We realized that when we mobilize our entire workforce in this way, we can contribute over 1,250 hours of community service, and that can have an incredible impact,” Elkin said.

Employees say they appreciate the company’s commitment to community service, as well as its family-like feel.

“We’re a 56-year old family-owned company, and our founders, Alan and Lois, used to always say that we are a full family,” said Olivia Bushong, the manager of marketing and communications.

Employees also say they are thankful for the company’s growth opportunities.

“There are so many stories of people who entered Advance as an entry-level job,” Elkin said. “We have people that build not only these great careers but great lives while they’re part of the journey here.”

People like Jeff Sanzone, who joined the company in 2008 as an entry-level service technician. Shortly after he posted his resume online, Advance recruited him for a job.

“I knew it was for a technician role, but I had no idea what I was going to be fixing. It could have been a printer, it could have been an X-ray machine, a car, I had no clue,” said Sanzone, now the director of sales operations for Advance.

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