Editor’s note: Charlotte Beat is a regular feature on Wednesdays.Email has gone from being needed to being essential at large businesses, says one nominee for a Blue Diamond Award.

The ceremony for the Charlotte Chamber’s Blue Diamond awards, which focus on both technology companies and how companies use technology, will be held April 20 since snow forced cancellation in February.

M3 Technology Group, which is up for the “Diamond in the Rough,” award given to early stage companies, is succeeding because “email has gone from being necessary to being mission critical at enterprise businesses,” says Michael Byrnes, chief executive officer and co-founder.

Byrnes founded the company with Michael Massardo and Mark Wetstone (they are the three “Ms” in M3)in April 2002. “It wasn’t the best time to raise capital,” Byrnes admits, but raise it they did – under $1 million, but enough.

“We plan, design and implement large, complex email platforms such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes for companies such as Wachovia, Goodrich, and CSX Lines,” he says. The company also consults to help companies “migrate, consolidate, or upgrade their Exchange or Notes platforms.”

Although the company is new, its engineers have at least five years experience in the field and Massardo’s team seven, says Byrnes. The founders have a combined 50 years of experience in marketing, sales, business development, management, start-ups, and technology.

“We’ve been very successful,” he says of M3. “We have north of 20 clients.”

Byrnes says the company competes primarily against “the big four consulting firms.”

How does it win against them?

“We don’t try to be all things, and that’s how we go in and beat them,” he says. “Specialty and focus is the key.”

The company also has more than 20 employees and occupies “a couple thousand square feet” of office space in the SouthPark area. Byrnes says the company is always looking for good engineers, but will be hiring in all areas this year. “We can attract the best engineers because we specialize,” he notes.

Carolina made

Jill Purdy, who wears several hats, is helping M3 redo it’s web site. Purdy is marketing director at goodmortgage.com and handles public relations and marketing for other clients.

Purdy recently signed on as managing director of a web site aimed at being a portal and online store for products made in the Carolinas. It’s called “Made In Carolina” and is still under construction.

Purdy tells Local Tech Wire a company called The London Group plans to develop the site as a web site dedicated to home grown products and may eventually do a brick and mortar version as well.

“They’ve done this in three other states, Washington, Oregon, and Maine,” Purdy says. “They’ve been talking to lots of people about this.”

Sign of the Times?

Goodmortage.com had a big week, Purdy noted, as it announced an alliance with the other big online name in the Internet mortgage business, also based in Charlotte, Lending Tree.

On a smaller scale, goodmortgage.com hopes for good results from just hanging out its shingle at its new, roomy South End offices, a former mill off South Boulevard and Tremont Avenue. Granted, the stainless steel signs, which they want to have up this month, should be impressive.

But they had good results with a less impressive former sign.

“When they hung a canvas banner with goodmortgage.com out the window when they were over off Rensselaer,” Purdy says, “it doubled their calls.”

The company’s new location borders Uptown Charlotte in a high traffic area. So, the company is curious to see if the stainless steel signs will produce an uptick in calls.

We’d be interested to know too, since the mortgage environment is likely to change if interest rates rise later this year, but it’s still keeping lenders and spenders busy.

BIG open house

Your General Council (YGC) and Imprimis Financial, one of the tenants of YGC’s “Corporate Dorm,” are sponsoring the next Business, Innovation and Growth Council event at the Sunset Club March 24.

Sunset is right next door (50 feet away) to YGC’s Corporate Dorm, so the company suggested BIG show off it’s own new space in the dorm. The event will include an open house for both BIG and YGC.

Michael Miller, founder of YGC, says the 4,000 square-foot dorm “is full, and we have long-term leases with three subtenants.” Argus Search, a recruiting group, also has space in the dorm.

YGC doesn’t mark up lease rates to its subtenants. Miller says the tenants all save by sharing expenses for the common space where the kitchen, service center, and conference rooms are located and a very high-tech voice-over-IP system Peak 10 helped put together.

goodmortgage.com: www.goodmortgage.com

Business, Innovation and Growth Council: www.big.org

M3 Technology Group: www.m3tg.com