Tracing its beginnings to $100 and a typewriter, Arsenault Associates is marking 30 years in business, highlighted by its Dossier software solution, which assists over 4,000 fleets with more than 600,000 pieces of equipment.

Founder Charles Arsenault remembers the beginnings in 1979, when the company was simply a maintenance and leasing consulting firm. But thanks to a college computer project, Arsenault quickly morphed it into something else.

Shortly after its launch, an employee approached Arsenault with help on a college project, designed to address a specific business challenge for college credit. The problem was how to find a way to perform the complex and time-consuming calculations involved in leasing decisions quicker.

“With 64 kilobytes of memory, two huge floppy disk drives, and an impact printer that shook the room,” Arsenault recalled, the students met the challenge. “The computer did the analytical work of weeks in a matter of minutes, and a light bulb came on.”

That project helped transform the fledgling company, which quickly began offering software solutions, launching its first off-the-shelf maintenance management software, Maintenance Magic, in 1987. The company changed its software name to Dossier and Arsenault funneled revenue back into new product development.

“When I met Charles Arsenault in 1987, I was looking for a better way to operate and control fleet maintenance operations,” said Greg Walsh, currently director of maintenance, New World Van Lines of Chicago. In 1987, Walsh was with a NJ-based dairy fleet. “I believe I speak for many people in the maintenance and transportation industry in thanking Charles and his company, Arsenault Associates, for many years of support, dedication, and execution of his visions.”

Arsenault noted the company has launched many innovative products to the industry, including American Fleet Online, a Windows-based bulletin board system dedicated to the surface transportation industry that served as a gathering place for information before the World Wide Web; 24/7 Fleet Online that enabled fleets to run the Dossier fleet software over the Internet, and Pocket Dossier, a wireless, hand-held, bar-code and RFID enabled application built for off-the-shelf PDAs.

“We’re extremely proud of Dossier and its reputation in the industry, the result of Charlie’s great work over three decades,” said Jack Boetefuer, president of Arsenault Associates. “This is an exciting year for us -- economic challenges notwithstanding. In fact, sales are strong as fleets see intelligent maintenance management as a way to meet reduced budgets.”

Arsenault remains CEO of the company.