Mike McKenna, President
School districts strive day in and day out to positively impact the lives of their students. They are often faced with challenging budgetary decisions which ultimately impact how they support their students and staff. Since the primary focus of school districts is to create optimal student learning environments, this must be balanced with modeling sound financial stewardship. “As a trusted partner of school districts across America, we help them improve student learning by maximizing the value of their technology investments,” says Mike McKenna, president and CEO of Diamond Assets, an electronic buyback company that deals exclusively with Apple devices. “School districts are often exploring creative ways to fund their technology needs and Diamond Assets is proud to partner with districts across the country in that effort.”
McKenna is leading the charge in creating awareness of the buyback value of Apple products and the opportunities that exist in working with a trusted partner like Diamond Assets. His mission is to help school districts develop affordable, sustainable technology plans. Prior to his role as President of Diamond Assets, he worked as an account executive for Apple, guiding school districts in exploring solutions to transform the learning experience. In early 2014, he observed that his clients had limited options as it pertains to disposal of their aging Apple devices. While electronic recycling programs shredded devices, trade-up companies, at the time, rarely offered a combination of great prices and reliable, trusted customer service. When the idea for Diamond Assets—a mission to help schools refresh their IT assets without the burden of additional costs—dawned on McKenna, he approached an entrepreneur friend, and there began an EdTech movement that is transforming and positively impacting the way schools manage the lifecycle of their technology.
As of this writing, Diamond Assets has successfully bought back more than one million devices from school districts. The growth of Diamond Assets has been tremendous, highlighted by Inc. magazine, recognizing the company as the number 7th fastest growing company in 2018.
While educating organizations on the residual value of Apple products was a crucial factor that spurred the inception of Diamond Assets, there is a human element of equipping students with the latest technologies. “We have always wanted to ensure that kids have opportunities for up-to-date devices and that equity of access to technology exists for all students of all socioeconomic backgrounds”, stresses McKenna. During his tenure as an Apple account executive, McKenna noticed that while most school districts were committed to refreshing their technology, they couldn’t put together “a sustainable model” to secure the fair compensation for old devices needed to facilitate an upgrade. McKenna knew it was imperative to assemble a team of professionals who held experience in the EdTech industry. He has succeeded in that endeavor— Team Diamond Assets is comprised of mostly former Apple employees who have business development experience in the education and enterprise markets. He has also recently hired several former K-12 school district administrators. As a result, Diamond Assets not only comprehends the challenges faced by educators, schools, teachers, administrators and Boards of Education, it has the needed expert knowledge to design, plan, and strategize the IT transformation initiatives for school districts that are affordable and sustainable.
Since we have a tremendous amount of experience dealing with Apple products, we’re able to give customers accurate price estimates that no other market vendor can
“Our team of experts truly understand and can effectively share with stakeholders how Apple devices can transform and positively impact student learning environments in K-12 schools” says Keith Ryskoski, retired Superintendent of schools and business development manager of Diamond Assets.
A Reputation For Providing Exceptional Customer Service
In addition to supporting schools in securing the latest equipment, and coaching them on ways to maximize buyback value from future investments, Diamond Assets has received critical acclaim for its exceptional customer service. In the past, there have been several instances of schools entering into trade-in scenarios with companies that ceased to exist within a few months of their transaction. “Schools are understandably concerned about trading in their equipment to a vendor they can’t trust,” informs McKenna. Diamond Assets has established itself as a financially stable, reliable partner that school districts have learned they can trust in providing an accurate valuation of their assets, unmatched customer service, and timely payments.
"As a trusted partner of school districts across America, we help them improve student learning by maximizing the value of their technology investments"
Diamond Assets established its strong reputation by implementing a rubric-based device grading system to determine the residual value of devices accurately. Delving deeper, former superintendent Ryskoski states, “Oftentimes, a school has thousands of devices, but only 20 percent of them are viable for a buyback. To ensure a smooth reconciliation process, we provide an accurate estimation (of the value of products). Since we have a tremendous amount of experience dealing with Apple products, we’re able to give customers accurate price estimates that no other market vendor can.”
As part of their exceptional customer service experience, Diamond Assets utilizes customized, secure shipping containers that are brought on-site to protect the devices. The trade-up experts also track each device based on a unique identifier/code that is documented in their internal, proprietary system. The code helps Diamond Assets track not only the whereabouts of the devices—through the entire cycle—but also helps its customers with auditing. “By adding an itemized detail to each product, we’re able to operate in a manner that is transparent and trustworthy,” says Diamond McKenna, Chief Operations Officer of Diamond Assets.
A Proven Process that Benefits IT Teams
Diamond Assets’ outstanding reputation for customer service in working as a trusted partner with schools across the country has yielded such fruitful results that school districts often request additional pickups during the course of a preliminary undertaking. For example, a client that initially wants to trade-in devices for one grade level, or just one school in the entire school district, is likely to establish a long-term partnership with Diamond Assets.
“By the time they complete the process with our business development team, they realize our professional services are economical enough for them to execute technology refreshes across multiple grades and schools,” McKenna says with pride, while noting that partnering with a single K-12 solution provider, such as Diamond Assets, helps school districts centralize their devices and develop a unified technology roadmap. “Working on coordinated, multiple cycles, they can manage their technology refresh together. This way, we will be there to conduct (the next) refresh in due course, changing the way schools approach the purchasing of IT assets,” he adds.
The benefits of working with Diamond Assets availed by decision-makers at school districts is evident. However, an underlying value-add of Diamond Assets’ services is the time efficiencies created for IT professionals at schools. Since Diamond Assets’ nationally known customer service offers “a follow-through experience that reduces a school’s IT-related concerns,” schools are provided with partnership and support in an effective and efficient, seamless process that allows IT personnel to focus on students and/or other key projects. “On top of receiving funds for products they previously discarded, our clients can now focus on new technology deployments rather than worrying about the management of their old devices,” reasons McKenna.
Ensuring Data Privacy and Data Security
Diamond Assets has won over the trust of school districts across the U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska), not just for its outstanding customer service and expertise of Apple products; the company’s commitment to the data privacy and data security of its clients is equally noteworthy. Since a primary concern in the process of reselling used products is the data existing in the incumbent devices, Diamond Assets provides data destruction certification to their customers setting their minds at ease regarding the existing information in their resold Apple devices. The company carries out data erasure using the WhiteCanyon certification tools and Apple Erasure Protocols. Additionally, Diamond Assets has invested in laser de-engraving machines to de-engrave any physical identifiers that may have been added to the devices by previous owners. McKenna cites an example, “We buy back a lot of equipment that has the name of the school engraved on the back. Our competitors just put a sticker over that engraving and resell the products. We believe that is unacceptable and a breach of privacy. The way we package and resale devices make it impossible to ascertain the original owner or where the product came from.”
Meanwhile, Diamond Assets is committed to Apple products for the long haul and has no imminent plans to buy back devices made from other manufacturers. Senior Vice President of Business Development, Matt Cooper, cites “the aesthetics, design, engineering, and strong reputation of Apple products” among the many reasons why Diamond Assets specializes in the buy-back of Apple products.
While “education will always be near to our hearts,” as McKenna eloquently states, Diamond Assets has ambitious plans of making a significant splash in the enterprise market. Already working with several SMBs and Fortune 500 companies, Diamond Assets believes it can replicate the success it has with school districts at the enterprise level. As billions are spent on the purchasing and replacing of Apple products annually, Diamond Assets is primed to seize the day. “When organizations realize that they can reduce acquisition costs of technology by up to 30 percent by partnering with us, we stand to grow at an even faster rate,” concludes Cooper.