Tompkins Builds Web Sites the Aptuitiv Way
Eric Tompkins, who majored in business economics at UMF, is now president of and chief Web architect at North Wind Media in Farmington, Maine. Working primarily as a software designer and Web site designer, he explains the rationale for developing Aptuitiv, his proprietary Web site management software, this way:
“You shouldn’t have to contact the general contractor when you want to paint the walls of your home,” he says. “Our approach is, we’ll build you a Web site, but if you get an idea in the middle of the night about what you want on your site, you should be able to add that content without being dependent on your Web designer.”
Tompkins developed Aptuitiv (combining the words application and intuitive) in response to client demands for a simple means of managing online content. Other similar software solutions exist, but, he says, Aptuitiv—which requires no software to install or large licensing fees—is “extremely flexible,” freeing clients from a “templately look” and page structure.
“We’ve put a lot of effort in developing [Aptuitiv] from an end-user perspective,” Tompkins says. “It’s easy to customize for client needs.”
Among many clients, Tompkins has built Web sites for large, publicly traded international companies that must go unmentioned, as North Wind Media is what he calls a “silent partner” for some of Maine’s best-known advertising agencies.
“They hire us for our development expertise. They’ll handle the graphic design of a Web site, but we’ll build it,” says Tompkins of his advertising agency clients. He may not receive “Site by North Wind Media” credit through the subcontracting, but the arrangements provide a steady flow of work while “keeping marketing expenses way down,” he explains.
Tompkins started North Wind Media in November 2004 out of his apartment. Now headquartered in a suite of offices on Broadway in downtown Farmington, he employs a staff of five locals, including fellow UMF graduate Justin Reed.
“Ever since the ninth grade, I dreamed of owning my own business,” says the Farmington native who worked in banking and insurance before launching North Wind Media. And while he envisions staffing 10 to 15 employees in the future, Tompkins wants to keep the operation small—and small-town based, “to keep that casual work environment, where you don’t have to go through a chain of command to see me,” he says. “I like that we can work in Farmington and have an international reach.”
-- By Marc Glass, managing editor of the UMF alumni magazine.