People

Stephen J. McFarland

Co-founder and President
Steve McFarland

Steve McFarland brings extensive executive and leadership experience to ORBIT Systems. As Co-founder and President since its inception in 1999, Steve has led ORBIT through yearly double-digit growth. His vision for combining technology and customer service has been a driving force behind ORBIT's reputation for world-class IT and personalized service. In addition to his role as President, McFarland leads the sales and marketing divisions.

McFarland's background of IT services, product and services fulfillment and account management gives him a unique understanding of everything IT services can and should be. Prior to founding ORBIT, McFarland was Vice President of the Network Services Division of Comdisco, a Chicago-based firm providing technology services worldwide; the division experienced record growth and profitability during his tenure. From 1986 to 1996, he served in positions of increasing responsibility within Northern States Power Company.

McFarland has been recognized by numerous professional organizations for his leadership in the IT managed services sector as well as best practices in business. He is a frequent contributor to industry publications.

Outside of business hours, McFarland can often be found on various watercrafts. An accomplished sailor, he has sailed and chartered many types of sailboats throughout the world. He also enjoys hunting, golfing and spending time with his family.

Phil Palmquist

Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer
Phil Palmquist

Phil Palmquist combines decades of IT experience with a diverse business background—he's been a Nuclear Reactor Program Analyst, Statistician, Consultant and Systems Architect as well as a Forest Ranger and Fisheries Biologist. This gives him unique insight into a range of business realities and IT demands.

At ORBIT, Palmquist and his team leverage sophisticated technology resources for clients. The work they do brings mainstream computing services and infrastructure to small businesses, allowing these organizations to take advantage of large scale design and reliable, robust system operations they couldn't afford or maintain on their own.

Prior to starting ORBIT Systems, Palmquist worked with Comdisco Network Services, where he designed distributed computing environments for Fortune 500 companies such as TWA, World Savings, Pennzoil, and Honda America. It was during this time that he became known for his work creating designs oriented toward supportable enterprise computing environments. Palmquist also served as a System Architect for Northern States Power Company and as Internet Services Product Manager for Deluxe Corporation. Before ORBIT, he founded and led Square Software, Inc., a provider of systems consulting, environmental and construction software services. Mr. Palmquist is a Microsoft Certified Software Engineer.

Palmquist serves as an active board member for several organizations, including the Northern Clay Center, which provides an outlet for his interests and training as a ceramic potter. He enjoys hiking, skiing, camping, canoeing and other wilderness activities.

Gary Milne

Executive Vice President, Process & Performance
Gary Milne

Milne is a customer-care focused IT leader who is known for his ability to see things from the client's point of view. He oversees the technical teams that implement new customers, and manages the development and maintenance of standards and tools used by ORBIT to promote smooth and efficient operations.

By combining his systems background with extensive abilities in software development, he's created many of ORBIT's outstanding software solutions; he's also heavily involved with ORBIT's technical architecture solutions.

The demanding, deadline-sensitive projects Milne worked on during his five years as Senior Consultant with Microsoft helped hone his considerable project management abilities and gave him a unique understanding of the balance between technology and people. Milne's work for leading organizations such as SuperValu, Target, and Northern States Power enables him to bring a large-scale view to ORBIT's architectural solutions, as well as important foresight in the areas of standards and solutions.

Milne also worked with the National Integration Services Group of the Inacom Corporation, a consulting company that specialized in network design and implementation. Prior to that he was a Network Engineer for MicroLAN, and Network Manager for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. From 1984 to 1987, Mr. Milne served as an Engineer for Wandsworth Health Authority, London, England.

Mr. Milne has held the following certifications: B.Sc. in Energy Engineering from Napier College (Edinburgh, Scotland), Microsoft Certified Product Specialist, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer +Internet, Certified NetWare Administrator, a Certified Netware Engineer, Enterprise Certified NetWare Engineer, and Santa Cruz Operation Advanced Certified Engineer.

Growing up in Scotland, Milne developed a love for golf. He also plays in a tennis league and enjoys racquet sports of all kinds. In the past five years he's taken up guitar, which does not come quite as easily to him as technical architecture.

Chad Westrum

Vice President, Customer Care
Chad Westrum

Chad Westrum oversees ORBIT's customer support; he is also the guiding force behind the continuous evolution of ORBIT's renowned support services, as well as the ongoing professional growth and advancement of the firm's IT staff. With a background spanning 17 years of management and customer service experience, he has significant expertise in building support groups and services within small to mid-size businesses.

Prior to joining ORBIT, Westrum rebuilt and headed the Call Center/support structure at XATA Corporation, a Burnsville-based provider of fleet management software solutions for the trucking industry, where he was Director of Customer Services and a member of the senior management team. While there, he also created a project management team to manage new implementations and existing customer relationships. And as XATA's Trainer and Support Manager, Westrum traveled the US and Canada, training new adopters of XATA's fleet management system. From 1996 to 1998, Westrum worked at AT&T, where he held positions as Quality Control Manager and Project Manager. Westrum is also a certified Network Administrator.

In his free time, Westrum can be found playing racquetball, tennis and Texas no limit hold'em poker. He also enjoys reading, hunting and fishing. Westrum played football through his freshmen year at college, as well as high school basketball and baseball.