Grata CEO stresses teamwork in tech, on basketball court

Coach Rey Ortega

Grata Software’s CEO does not generally navigate on the front lines of Orlando’s technology community.

The 8-year-old company is often behind the scenes, doing IT-related client work out of its downtown office.

But those who know the tech consulting firm’s founder Rey Ortega know that he has been a devoted Orlando community member for years.

Strategy, on and off the court

He coaches girls basketball every year, helping some girls continue their education by playing at a collegiate level.

He has steered a team to a quick-turnaround championship, helping those girls thrive and work well together.

So, by night, he has strategized for girls basketball teams from Orlando to Melbourne.

By day, he strategizes for his company, face buried in computer screens, jeans, and company-branded logo almost becoming a trademark look for the 42-year-old.

On the professional side, Grata CEO Ortega runs a company that helps businesses launch products and services, giving them a method of expanding capabilities.

He’s constantly answering client calls and leading meetings with his software architects and engineers.

And he does it under the radar, helping grow some of the most successful Orlando small businesses, owning small stakes in some.

While Orlando tech thrives around downtown, thousands of small businesses operate in industrial parks, small office spaces, or their founders’ homes.

They thrive but often to little fanfare, usually because they don’t know where to turn for that much-needed and often well-deserved attention.

They focus on delivering products and services in ways that are beyond transactional.

When they look for partners, they find people like Rey and companies like Grata.

“We thrive on building long-term relationships with our customers because we are highly involved in their business,” says Rey Ortega. “They need a technology partner; that’s us.”

What Grata does

Grata focuses on their clients’ business first, technology second. As Rey says, “If they aren’t going to get a 10X return on a solution, we don’t recommend it.”

The company is like having that CTO that most small businesses just do not have.

“Most technology companies are taking orders, asking you to give them solutions to work on,” says Rey. “It’s transactional and focused on them, not your business.”  Rey also talks about how other companies focus on business solutions. Still, they tend to go after Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies. “They are chasing the larger IT budgets.”

When he’s off the clock, work that he’s just as passionate about crowds his schedule.

He devotes a significant amount of his time to an elite travel basketball program.

Each year, that program signs more than 30 athletes to collegiate scholarships across the country.

In the winter, he’s an assistant coach at Viera High School in Melbourne, Florida.

“My oldest daughter got me interested in coaching her at the YMCA one year,” he said.

However, when his daughter moved on to other interests, Grata CEO Rey Ortega had already caught the coaching bug.

As a business owner, “I felt I had a lot to teach the girls about independence, leadership, and work ethic, so I stayed with it,” he said.

Grata CEO leads teams on the Coast

That ultimately led to a head coaching position in Titusville and with East Coast United’s travel program, which regularly sends its players to college programs.

His penchant for new tech informs his coaching style because it’s all about experimentation and honing in on what works, he said.

“My leisure time is learning new technologies and playing with them,” he said. “Being a software engineer at heart, I still like sitting at the computer and coding new concepts and ideas.”


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