She Made Hard-Drive Wiping a $2 Million-a-Year Business (September 2019)
One day in May 2004, Elizabeth Wilmot tried to throw away an old computer and looked around for someone who could properly wipe sensitive data from the hard drive and recycle it. She couldn't find anyone online who would do that at a residential level, and a business idea germinated. So at the beginning of 2005, she drew her last paycheck from her marketing job at CitiGroup and went off on her own. She set up an office in an upstairs guest room of her house in Severna Park, Maryland, and started ferrying people's unwanted computers back to her garage, where an employee would dismantle them for about $20 each. And that was how Data Killers got started: a small business smashing computer hard drives into little bits with a sledgehammer on the floor of Wilmot's garage. The Data Killers of today is much more high-tech. It employs National Security Agency approved "degaussers," five-foot-tall machines that demagnetize electronic equipment and rob the computer chips of thei..