Adventures in Data: SectorNow’s Evelyn Bartlett Brings California Data Know-How to Nebraska
There was a time when SectorNow‘s Evelyn Bartlett vowed she would never again live in Nebraska.
“I grew up in Waverly,” Bartlett said. “I went to UNL and just basically bolted.”
After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she briefly touched down in San Diego before settling in Los Angeles. There, the small-town girl with big-city dreams found a job as an account coordinator at a small but growing advertising agency and began an unlikely love affair — with numbers – that would shape the rest of her life.
“My original background was in advertising and marketing; then I went into direct marketing and through that ended up working on an account that started collecting data,” Bartlett said. “I really fell in love with the data.”
Bartlett would eventually work her way up to vice president of operations before partnering with others to found M/S Database Marketing in 1991. The company would prove to be wildly successful at building databases for major brands like GM, Disney and HP to help them identify their most profitable customers.
M/S Database Marketing won a number of awards before Bartlett and her partners sold the company in 1999 after eight years of success. She stayed on at M/S, which changed its name to SourceLink, first as chief information officer and then as CEO from 2003 to 2005. After that, she moved on, first doing security audits and then eventually database marketing consulting in 2007.
Bartlett hadn’t completely severed her ties with the Cornhusker State during her California career – she still returned two or three times a year to visit family. And it was during one of those visits in 2007 that she ran into her old college flame in the Lincoln airport. Sparks flew, and after a whirlwind eight-month romance which led to marriage, Bartlett was moving back to Nebraska.
So Bartlett settled down for the second time in her life, this time in Lincoln, where she lived a semi-retired life. “Semi-retired” because although she’d closed the books on SourceLink, she didn’t slow down much. Bartlett was still subcontracting out to a large marketing company and ran Bartlett Business Growth Solutions with her new husband.
But living in the city with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate and a booming economy made it tough for Bartlett to stay even semi-retired for long.
“Apps came along and I’ve always liked new technology,” Bartlett said. “Then somebody came to me and knew my background and said, ‘Hey, do you think it’s possible we could put together an app to collect data?””
“We got to talking about database marketing and I mentioned this book that I was reading by this guy named Arthur Hughes,” Priefert said. “And she said, ‘Oh yeah, Arthur used to consult for my company in Los Angeles.’ And that was when I knew she knew was the real deal.”
That was also the origin of SectorNow, Bartlett’s newest foray into the world of business. For Bartlett, it’s back to square one again as SectorNow makes its way into the market. It’s a rewarding experience but not an easy one, according to Bartlett.
“Investing our own money to develop an app before we make any money off of it is nail biting at best,” she said. “That part of it is very challenging because you’re just nervous about where the money will come from.”
Currently the new company only has one app on the market, the WasteFinder Green App. SectorNow utilized Bartlett’s data collection experience in designing the app to monitor and analyze a company or government’s waste disposal and recycling and then generate a report that suggests best practices that are more environmentally sound and cost-effective.
SectorNow is developing another app called MySocius which has yet to be released. The app, developed in conjunction with University of Nebraska Medical Center professor of psychology and pediatrics Keith Allen, is designed to help children with autism develop their communication skills.
SectorNow’s focus on “functional” apps like MySocius and Wastefinder was a concious decision. According to Bartlett, the company has intentionally steered clear of the gaming and entertainment market. Instead, SectorNow focuses on developing apps that can have a positive impact on the world.
“I love data and being able to use it with new technology to really see something happen,” Bartlett said. “That’s something that’s really worth doing.