Serving Clients with Fixed Asset Consulting Services Since 1985
For 35 years, Paragon has championed fixed asset-driven businesses and the people who lead them forward.
In 1985, Rick Swarts was a senior vice president, overseeing 17 offices and 153 people. Then, the company experienced financial struggle and was sold. The original culture of integrity and deep respect for people vanished under the new owners. True to his values, Swarts made the difficult decision to resign after 18 years of loyal service.
Finding a new position, he thought, would be easy. It was the Reagan boom years and the Ohio native had an impressive engineering and business background, but he couldn’t find the right company fit. In a “bet-the-house” move, he launched Chicago Business Consultants. Not sure about the services he would offer, Swarts felt “consultants” was broad enough to cover all options.
The company grew, focusing on fixed asset consulting services, including cost segregation analyses, property valuations, and equipment appraisals. Swarts rented an office and hired an administrative assistant. His team soon outgrew the space. During the mid-nineties, Swarts moved the business to its present location in Schaumburg.
Expansion into Technology Solutions and Services
In that same decade, the debut of the World Wide Web, cell phones and DVDs changed the way people lived and worked. Companies began turning to Swarts for technology guidance. A large insurance company asked Swarts’ team for handheld barcode technology to tag their fixed assets. More companies sought similar solutions. Swarts’ company became the first business reseller of barcode products for then Best Software.
Two sides of Swarts’ company emerged. In 2000, after a career as a CFO, VP of operations and network administrator, Swarts’ son Scott joined him to market the Best Software fixed assets solution. Best Software was acquired by Sage and the solution is now known as Sage Fixed Assets. As demand for asset management services grew, Paragon added implementation, data conversion, training, inventory, and cloud hosting services to its offerings.
Shortly thereafter, global fixed asset consulting opportunities proved the company had now outgrown its name.
An oil company followed by a major food company sought fixed asset consulting services in Europe. Chicago Business Consultants got both contracts, but the company had to work harder to compensate for its regional brand. Always ready to find a way through, Swarts gathered his team and held a naming contest. By day’s end, his daughter Shelle triumphed. Paragon meant excellence. Adding “International” put the company on a global stage. They set up two divisions, with Rick overseeing Paragon Valuation Group and Scott leading Paragon Systems. Chicago Business Consultants continues as a fully licensed business brokerage division under Paragon International.
Remaining True to Our Founding Values
The same founding values still guide the company today:
- Integrity first
- Relentless pursuit of opportunity
- Relationships matter
- There’s always a way through
- Enriching the lives of people we serve
As the company progressed over time, Paragon’s story has come full circle. What started out as one man’s career decision post-acquisition has led to a remarkable impact for hundreds of companies around the world.
“For me, it is gratifying and a blessing to know that Paragon was meant to be. Life is like a long hallway with doors on both sides. You try to open those doors and you forget to look at the one door at the end. Then you open it, and what do you know? There’s the sunshine! That’s what you were trying to find all along.
That’s the moment you realize you are living your purpose and helping others in meaningful ways.”
– Rick Swarts, Paragon Founder & CEO