He always worked very closely with his clients and was beginning to hear common complaints about the major integrators.
"It appeared that these integrators were focused on conducting transactional business," says Thomas.
"Obviously clients wanted their integration partner to focus on building an ongoing relationship of trust. I also saw many projects sold with the promise of 'cutting edge automation', and then delivered using very manual processes in the background."
Thomas says he founded Thomas Duryea on the core values of relationships and technical excellence, with a vision of becoming the number one technology solution provider in the country.
"In simple terms we figured we could do it better," he says. "Build stronger relationships, develop a winning culture, and deliver true technical excellence and the automation we promised."
Before he struck out on his own, Thomas was working in desktop automation and installing Windows NT 4.
"My early projects involved large-scale desktop transformation, migrating to NT4, packaging applications and bringing the desktop under management using products such as Novell Zenworks and the early versions of Microsoft SMS.
"Very quickly my interests moved toward project management and I took on a number of merger and acquisitions related projects."
He set up Thomas Duryea with four university friends in January 2000.
His partners, Evan Duryea, Micah Smith and David Stagg, all studied Computer Engineering and Science together at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).
"I met Evan through an electronics project. He was paired up with the only guy not present in the lab that day - I was off shark fishing down on Point Lonsdale. Evan figured that any guy choosing to skip class for shark-fishing must be a decent bloke," he says.
"It was back in the late 90's, all of us were freelancing, and we gathered around my coffee table to hatch our plans.
"We talked to a few different people about joining us at the time, and finally settled on the four that remain the same to this day."
Thomas says setting up the business coincided with the dotcom bust.
Their first offices were on the Southbank in Melbourne and were promptly demolished to make way for the Crown West End carpark.
"We moved from there into a 'garage' in the backstreets of Richmond, which we rapidly outgrew to the extent that on some days we had up to six guys all squeezed onto the couches with laptops on knees.
"We now have offices in Richmond, Melbourne and the Sydney CBD. Both are beautiful old heritage listed brick buildings, with polished boards, exposed beams and a great feel that supports our culture."
The company now employs 80 staff across Australia and New Zealand which includes engineers, consultants and solution architects.
The company client base reaches from lower mid-market through to upper enterprise, and state-based to global.
Thomas says the company works predominantly in the "infrastructure space" which means it can move from sector to sector.
"Our service offerings are tailored closely to client requirements, which allows us to work just as efficiently and effectively with a 700 seat government client as with a 5,000 seat manufacturing firm with sites throughout the Asia Pacific region," he says.
When they set the company up their first two clients were local government councils in Victoria; the City of Boroondara and Wyndham City Council.
They worked with Thomas Duryea because they trusted the staff initially as individuals, then gradually as a company when the brand began to flourish, says Thomas.
"We are extremely proud that both Wyndham and Boroondara remain much loved clients to this day, almost 10 years on," says Thomas.
"We grew slowly in the early days, purely by referral, and did so without a sales team for the first six years.
"We believed that we were only ever as good as our last job, and wanted to build life-long relationships with our clients."
The company started to grow in recognition about four years ago when it saw the value virtualisation could bring to organisations.
Thomas Duryea found that installing VMware and centralising storage could revolutionise the way IT departments managed their infrastructure.
"We quickly became the most trusted name in virtualisation and moved to a similar position in storage and data management," says Thomas.