To many, being an executive in the Walt Disney Company would be a dream job.
As the firm’s senior network engineer, Oscar Rodriguez oversaw the installation and management of hundreds of computer servers, including those supporting Disney California Adventure, the Downtown Disney District and ESPN Zone restaurants.
“I always say Disney is the happiest place on earth, and it is the happiest place on earth to work for as well, but it just wasn’t for me,” said the Rancho Santa Fe resident. “It was a little too slow for me. ... We didn’t have much to do, so I decided to start my own business.”
Rodriquez left the theme park giant in 1998 to start his own firm, WorldEdge Technology, which specializes in supporting computer systems employed by businesses.
“Originally, my mission was just to establish a small business and keep it running,” Rodriguez said during a recent interview at a Rancho Santa Fe coffee shop. “I made it a point in my life to say I’m going to spend time with my kIds and that’s going to be my priority. ... I offered computer services to small- and medium-sized businesses.”
Now that he and his wife’s two children have graduated from Torrey Pines High and are attending college, Rodriguez said he is expanding the business with an emphasis on preventing security breaches at medium- and large-sized companies.
In particular, the firm offers assistance in combatting cyber-ransom, in which individuals illegally access a business’s data base, encrypt the information so it cannot be read, and demand money from the company to decrypt the data.
“Sixty to 70 percent of the businesses that get hit with ransom ware go out of business within the next year because they cannot recover from it,” Rodriguez said. “I consider it being at war with these people because they’re hitting us so hard and it’s hurting the economy big time. ... We have found ways to decrypt the material so you don’t have to pay the ransom.”
Rodriguez said his staff has grown to 11 employees and he expects that number to escalate. He plans to open an office in New York in the coming months, followed by one in Chicago.
“Our goal is to grow nationally, and once we establish that, we’re going to go international,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to go all over the world, but we’re going to start with Europe. ... We’re focusing on the biotech world here in San Diego. They have a lot of presence in Europe so that’s why we want to start with Europe.”
Such expectations do not appear unrealistic given Rodriguez’s nearly lifelong immersion in the world of information technology.
In forging his career path, Rodriguez followed in the footsteps of his father, George Rodriguez, a computer programmer for NASA and later an IBM representative.
Born in Texas, Oscar lived in several places in the U.S as a boy, stemming from his father’s NASA assignments.
Then, Rodriguez said, he was about 8 or 9 when his dad took a job in Chile at Aura, one of the largest space observatories in the world at the time.
When George Rodriguez joined IBM in Chile, his son, then a high school student, began working with him.
“He was opening up offices all over Chile for IBM,” Rodriguez said.
Oscar returned to the U.S. to attend college at Cal-State Fullerton, then launched his career by working for airlines as an operations specialist. After stints at several airlines, Rodriguez brought his skills to the health-care industry. He worked for Baxter Healthcare and Regency Health Services before taking the Disney job.
He and his wife decided to move from San Clemente to Rancho Santa Fe about a dozen years ago because his business performed well in this area and his wife worked for a biotech here.
The success of WorldEdge enables Rodriguez to contribute to nonprofit causes, including the United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County and the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.
Now, the 54-year-old entrepreneur is preparing to take his business, which will be rebranded, to the next level.
“We want to grow to the point where it’s international and it’s an engine that drives itself,” he said. “In our world, there’s so many of us (IT businesses) that the competition is fierce out there.
“We don’t know everything. ... We do have the expertise to do the research and figure things out. ... We’ll come in and we’ll become more of a strategic consultant for these businesses.
“We’re able to provide funding for these businesses to help pay for training and IT. We’re able to bring in significant amounts of money to these businesses.”
Information about WorldEdge Technology can be obtained by going to the website, worldedgetech.com.