Homegrown entrepreneur commits to big expansion in Norwalk

By Editor | Media Coverage

As a kid growing up on East Avenue, David Pennino recollects days when he would head down to South Norwalk to go fishing — and as a furtive diversion, explore the cavernous expanses of an abandoned brick building on Marshall Street just off the riverfront.

 That building is now filling up fast as Pennino’s LogicSource expands, though he candidly admits the company was nearly among the ones that got away.

On Tuesday, the Connecticut State Bond Commission approved $4.5 million in funding for Norwalk-based LogicSource, the first of two equal installments to help underwrite the addition of 100 new employees at 20 Marshall St. where LogicSource already employs more than 50 people.

LogicSource aims to help companies save on the products and services they purchase, focused particularly on retail chains and purveyors of consumer products that often cycle through not just marketing materials and floor displays, but in the case of retailers the floors themselves as they refresh and rebuild their spaces to keep up with the times. CEO David Pennino likens LogicSource’s appeal to that of Aon Hewitt, which has a Norwalk office providing outsourced services for human resources departments.

LogicSource has expanded its customer base to entities that might have been outside its comfort zone at its launch seven years ago — among others, the Ultimate Fighting Championship uses LogicSource’s procurement services today.

Prior to launching LogicSource in 2009, Pennino worked for Stamford-based Gartner and for Williams Lea, a business process outsourcing firm with a New York City office. Since then, LogicSource has reported $28.5 million in funding to the Securities & Exchange Commission, with its backers including Boston-based Bain Ventures.

Pennino said the company had considered expanding elsewhere — it has a satellite office in Dallas and mulled some 400 other locales for their cost advantages and other considerations — before Connecticut circled around with an offer of assistance for it to add jobs here.

It was a welcome development for Pennino. Besides Norwalk being his old stomping grounds — he lives in Wilton today — the city makes sense for its easy proximity to a wellspring of people who know LogicSource’s niche well.

“Do a simple LinkedIn test (and) look up ‘chief procurement officer’ — there’s something like 13,000 in the Greater New York City area,” Pennino said. “The neat thing about a business like ours is there’s so many different kinds of roles. Our final product is people, and we are always hiring folks with category expertise — in retail, construction, travel, packaging … We need to grow those teams of experts.”

The company is reliant as well on its OneMarket procurement platform it picked up in its 2009 acquisition of a Whippany, N.J.-based company called Cirqit, which was well-established in its own right with a customer base for its procurement services that included the likes of Nestle. OneMarket functions as a centralized-buying depot of sorts — Pennino draws an analogy to the economies of scale generated by wholesale clubs like Costco — with LogicSource’s people leveraging their own expertise in the procurement process to spot gaps where its clients might be suffering extra costs or delays in delivery.