Local businessman shares his story and commitment to serving his community
By Debra R. Messick
Photos by Maire Mcardle and Stephen Walker
Building a successful business is a great accomplishment for anyone. But Jason Lee, founder of Jason’s Computer Services of Easton, found a way to do so after life dealt him an especially daunting hand.
In 1987, at age 4 ½, Lee was diagnosed with deadly ALL and ALM Leukemia. At that time, the odds of surviving, much less thriving, were exponentially against him. But throughout three years of chemotherapy, radiation, remission, relapse, and a pioneering bone marrow transplant, Lee and his family drew on core values of strength, persistence, a positive attitude and a fighting spirit that wouldn’t quit.
Over the past 20 years, the character traits that helped him confront and battle cancer also unwittingly contributed to the steady growth of Lee’s “homegrown” brainchild, which has become the area’s leading tech resource enterprise.
Knowing from experience that each day is a gift, Lee has worked tirelessly to do the most he can with each one. From that energetic pursuit, he’s created a fulfilling career, provided employment for others, and contributed to the community, always focusing on the future and staying committed to excellence.
As Jason’s Computer Services grew, Lee relentlessly sifted through overflowing numbers of applicants to pinpoint the best people for his team. Today, six staff members, including mom Holley Lee, Nathan Allen, Ryan Protos, Punit Patel, Jordan Lane, and Chris Broadka, comprise one of the area’s most highly respected businesses offering stellar expertise and customer service.
When last year’s COVID-19 pandemic emergency entailed a new normal, suddenly working via computer from home almost overnight, the team he assembled provided a vital lifeline to Lee’s loyal client base plus many first timers, who reached out to the service they trusted by experience and reputation to help successfully navigate the transition.
Lee’s childhood, where he discovered his love of and gift for computers and tech, was itself marked by unchartered waters. Smaller in stature due to his early treatments, Lee’s parents, Jim and Holley, guided him into tech pursuits instead of the traditional childhood sports.
Holley Lee recalled how nurses at Johns Hopkins called on him to help fix the hospital playroom’s computerized drawing program whenever it would “tear up;” the youngster also cleared the floor’s dot matrix printer’s operational difficulties.
As a youngster, Lee’s Uncle Tom worked for IBM, and he had ready access to the computer at the home of his Uncle Mike. Growing up in Cordova, Lee became the neighborhood “go-to” computer guy for his neighbors. “At first, I would just help them out, but soon they started paying me,” Lee recalled.
His first official “regular” job, meanwhile, was in horticulture at Murdoch Gardens. “I love plants,” Lee confided, adding that he’s landscaped home and office property. But once, when Murdoch’s computer messed up, and Jason fixed it, his employer, impressed, asked him, “Son, what are you doing here?”
While earning an A.A. degree from Chesapeake College, Lee already had accrued a sizable client list. After graduating, he continued to grow his computer operation out of an office loft at his parents’ home, but soon needed to relocate to his current standalone property at 9231 Centreville Road, which houses the facility serving as workshop, office, and showroom. Lee recently purchased the property next door, enlarging his customer parking area, completely renovating the current building and adding a second outer facility for more overall office, workshop, and showroom space (augmenting the showroom set up last November).
Throughout it all, his passion for providing the highest quality materials and personal service continues to burn brightly as a driving force. Looking back on the incredible, journey he’s been on the past 21 years, Lee is not only fulfilled by what he’s accomplished, but also excited for what lies ahead, day by day.
Lee feels especially proud to offer an unconditional satisfaction guarantee, to every Jason’s Computer Services client. This covers remedying problems large and small, occurring immediately or much farther down the road, with a total refund or replacement, and assurance of being back up and running that day.
He credits his manager, Ryan Protos and the rest of his staff with ably meeting each client’s needs, freeing him up to oversee the big picture. But he never completely takes his eye off the ball, always curious about what each person needs and seeking affirmation they’ve come away satisfied. “I’m slowly learning to let go and delegate,” Lee added with a smile. He admits, though, to still being energized by the enterprise he cultivated each step of the way.
Along with going the extra mile for each customer, Lee lends his technical and entrepreneurial expertise to North Caroline High School’s Tech program, hoping to guide and inspire youngsters, and hiring several graduates to work in his business.
Lee also hopes his educational path via a community college sends a message to those pursuing higher education, that its not necessary to bury yourself in debt with a four-year degree. Most of all, he hopes his success story urges others, especially those starting out, to focus on their potential instead of the challenges in their path, and to just get out there, take a chance, and reach their goals, whatever they may be.