In the late 1990s, Eric Sloan terrorized opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers as an All-American defensive back for the then-Troy State Trojans.
Today, the 41-year-old College Park, Georgia native is a pillar of the Montgomery business community, running a multimillion-dollar tech company while helping upstarts looking to follow a similar career path.
It’s been quite a 20-year journey for Sloan and his wife, Nicole, a fellow Trojan alum who owns her own successful real estate company, Nicole Sloan Realty.
He first came to Troy as a walk-on for Coach John Mayotte’s Trojan baseball team before the lure of the gridiron pulled him away.
“Coach Mayotte introduced me to [assistant football] Coach Mike Turk, who was the run game coordinator at the time, and after my sophomore year I stopped playing baseball to focus on football and track,” Sloan said. “Track was offering a partial scholarship and football was offering some scholarship money as well, whereas with baseball they had restrictions on scholarships. Even though I felt I was a better baseball player, I knew I wanted to get my education first and foremost.”
Sloan felt the call to technology, earning his bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2000.
“If I didn’t walk on at TROY, I was going to end up going to Georgia Tech and going after computer engineering. It was a passion,” Sloan said. “At TROY, I certainly enjoyed the teachers. They seemed to truly care. They wanted you to excel. They encouraged you to go out and get your certifications, do great things, be above where you are — taking where you are and propelling to what you want to be.”
On the field, Sloan racked up awards at TROY, becoming a second-team All-American in 1998 and landing a spot on the Southland Conference’s All-Decade Team.
After graduating, Sloan landed in the original XFL, intercepting four passes as a member of the Birmingham Thunderbolts during that football league’s only season.
In 2005, Sloan earned his MBA from TROY and began the long, hard road to his current-day success, forging a career in information technology.
“It sounds like it happened overnight, but it certainly was not overnight. It was a lot of hard work, working with different organizations, helping them to be successful, and then finally taking a leap of faith,” Sloan said. “I’d been helping these organizations do extremely well for years. You look at the numbers and the impact you can bring to a company, but you’re limited to what you can do by the vision of that particular company.”
Among Sloan’s priorities was helping young tech students who wanted to make their mark in the industry.
Sloan and some of his colleagues formed a group called the Montgomery Association of IT Professionals, focused on mentoring and developing students to prepare them for the professional world.
Over time, Sloan realized he wanted to have full autonomy over how to spend his time and his effort.
“Whether it’s giving back to different schools through your time, financial resources, or whatever it may be, or giving to nonprofits, if it’s your company, you can do what you want to do,” Sloan said. “You’re not beholden to the limitations set by others.”
In 2015, Sloan took that leap of faith, starting 1 Sync Technologies in Montgomery.
“1 Sync is an IT government contractor,” Sloan said. “We do software development, cyber security, professional services, medical IT, and we branched off to doing medical staffing as well, providing the federal government with staffing solutions that would help better prepare them for where they were and where they were trying to go.”
1 Sync now earns more than $5 million in revenue, and Sloan still finds time to help in the community however he can. To Sloan, it just makes business sense to give back.
“Why not invest in something you know is beneficial for the community? In the end, if it’s beneficial for the community, it will in the long term be beneficial for you as well,” he said. “Everything, in my opinion, is connected from that standpoint.”
Looking back on his time at TROY, Sloan has fond memories, but he’s also proud of the growth at the institution in the last two decades.
“In football, I remember the camaraderie, of course the coaches under the legendary Coach Larry Blakeney, and really everything about TROY,” he said. “I go back often, and I’m on the legacy giving board. Just to see how it was when I was there compared to what it is now, the campus has changed tremendously, but for the better. The cafeteria when we were there had a little brick building. Now, you have three or four classy restaurants on the inside. The atmosphere has changed, as well. The number of apartments around campus allows students to stay off campus if they want. It’s pretty incredible.”