Alumni Spotlight: Matt Irving 92′
Matt Irving has known he wanted to run his own business since he was young—from his lawn service at age 14 to running his own pizza place, starting a carpet cleaning company, and then partnering in a roofing company by age 25. Irving also did a stint as a semi-pro snowboarder before getting his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, and then an MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship from Louisiana State University.
In 2013, Matt, and friend Chris Cook, founded SystemGo IT, a technology service provider providing IT support and business solutions for small to mid-size companies. In 2017, his company won Entrepreneur of the Year in Riverside and Small Business of the Year in 2020, and has now reached 30 employees with offices in Riverside and San Diego.
Irving describes himself as a not-so-great student transferring to Woodcrest Christian for his junior and senior years. Although he grew up in the church, Irving says it was a slow slide into the pull of the world from junior high on, and it was Woodcrest Christian, with its small community and Christian environment, that helped ground him and transition him back to who God wanted him to be. “I didn’t appreciate it until after I graduated,” he says, “but the older I got the more I realized what a great place it was to be around people who love the Lord. The teachers showed so much love for students that I had never seen in public school. I really look back and appreciate Mr. Burdett, and was thrilled to have him as Bible teacher for my kids. Both of Irving’s children currently attend Woodcrest Christian, which he says, “It’s more than just the quality of education for them, it’s about the environment.”
Looking back, an important lesson Irving learned and often shares with young people is to keep moving in a direction. “For the longest time I regretted that I didn’t go to college sooner, but everything you do shapes who you are. So do something,” he says. When it comes to entrepreneurship, Irving encourages business-minded students to get a viable product and “just get it out there,” he says. “If you’ve got an idea, try it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. An entrepreneurial motto is Fail Forward Fast.”
As for SystemGo IT, Irving has big plans for continuous growth in key markets and expansion with more satellite offices, including one opening in Northern California next year. All success he attributes to the Lord. “We started out to provide great service at a fair price. And we’ve intentionally built a culture within our business to serve others and serve God. Our faith dictates how we do business, and that’s what really matters.”