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Rite-Solutions is an award-winning software development, systems engineering, information technology and learning development firm based in Middletown, RI with satellite offices in Pawcatuck, CT, Dahlgren, VA, and Washington, DC.


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Middletown, RI 02842

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The 20th Anniversary of Doing the “Rite” Thing

In the first of two posts that celebrate Rite-Solutions’ 20th anniversary, we look back at the company’s origins—creating a culture of innovation based on fostering meaningful relationships with employees. 

Twenty years ago, stars aligned and made starting Rite-Solutions a logical and meaningful venture for co-founders Joe Marino and Jim Lavoie.

During their entire careers, both men were motivated by enhancing the Navy warfighter’s ability to dominate the undersea warfare environment. From their days in the Navy, to their years at Electric Boat, to their long careers at Analysis & Technology (A&T), they felt their work was important and relevant.

But there was a void. As is often the case with bureaucratic, hierarchical, numbers-focused companies, something was missing. So, when a large defense contractor bought A&T in 1999, they had an opportunity to create a different kind of organization.

They read a lot about the knowledge economy and how people were smarter and bringing more to the workplace than decades prior. Combined with a deep-rooted belief that there was a much better way to relate to employees than traditional, top-down business practices dictated, they determined that feeling relevant, important, noticed, valued, and heard were fundamental desires that every human shared. “We thought an environment that makes people feel safe, liked, and important would encourage smart, ambitious people to make contributions from day one,” recalls Lavoie.

Based on this realization, they decided to start Rite-Solutions. The goal was to make “work” more than a transaction between a company and employee, which only satisfies the fundamental physiological and survival needs in Maslow’s theory of human motivation. Joe and Jim wanted to create an organization that would also meet the psychological and self-fulfillment needs in Maslow’s pyramid. “The idea was to create a community where people genuinely enjoyed working with and supporting each other—a community where a meaningful relationship would engage employees more readily than a transactional relationship ever could,” says Lavoie.

As a commitment to their culture, everyone’s title on their business card is One of F.E.W., which stands for Friends Enjoying Work. This is not merely a slogan hung in the company’s lobby. It’s a core belief that starts right at the top—that meaningful work, approached in a team fashion, rather than a hierarchical pyramid, can be stimulating and rewarding. Joe and Jim demonstrated this philosophy of Friends Enjoying Work in their own approach to work, and it extends to every corner of the organization to this day.

Creating an organization where people feel relevant has also helped Rite-Solutions innovate for its customers and become a thought-leader in the defense industry. “The One of F.E.W. belief has not only attracted smart, ambitious people, it has also allowed them to thrive,” says Marino. Today, Rite-Solutions is run by individuals who live by the adage “No one is as smart as everyone” and leverages the synergy of teamwork to accomplish mission-critical work for very important clients.

Success for Rite-Solutions is not based solely on financial numbers. It is as important to Jim and Joe as to how these metrics are achieved as the numbers themselves. Twenty years ago, they set out to prove that people don’t have to be “managed” as much as challenged, empowered, trusted, and heard. The success of their company has shown that it is the best way to draw out the intellectual capital of the organization and maximize its collective genius.

(To learn more about Rite-Solutions’ culture, read Jim Lavoie’s Creating an Innovative Climate blog series).

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