August 1, 2011

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Article

Technology

Industry Outlook

Utah Business Staff

August 1, 2011

Utah’s technology sector is hot. In the past decade, the industry has grown to 6,000 companies in the state, representing tens of thousands of jobs. But tech leaders struggle to find talented workers locally and must overcome many misperceptions about Utah when trying to recruit from out of state. Our panel weighs in on these challenges and sounds a note of strong optimism about the future of technology in the state.

We’d like to give a special thank you to Richard Nelson, president and founder of the Utah Technology Council, for moderating the discussion and to Holland & Hart for hosting the event.

PARTICIPANTS:  Jerry Ropelato, TechMediaNetwork; David Seeley, Crocker Ventures; Chris Hellewell, Spillman Technologies; Jim Tanner, inContact; Jonathan Young, Ancestry.com; Michael Rivera, i4 Solutions; Jeffrey Nelson, Nelson Labs; Randy Sylvester, L-3 Communications; Ronald Weiss, University of Utah/ARUP; Kelvyn Cullimore Jr., Dynatronics Corp.; Chet Linton, School Improvement Network; Patricia Hall, Goldman Sachs; Clark Turner, Aribex; Sam Bruni, Backcountry.com; Matt Wells, Holland & Hart; Stan Lockhart, IM Flash Technologies; Kameron Olsen, Intellisys; Joseph Turley, i.t. Now; Robert Pedersen II, ZAGG; Mukund Karanjikar, Ceramatec; Christine Archibald, Management Plus; Lauretta Sechrest, ACS/Xerox; Richard Nelson, Utah Technology Council; Vance Checketts, Mozy/EMC

Finding talent has long been an issue for Utah’s tech industry. Describe your company and its staffing needs.

LINTON: I’m the CEO and president of the School Improvement Network. We’re focused on improving the quality of schools through high quality resources that are online and other ways. We have hired 55 people this year and now have about 150 employees. We’ll hire another 31 through the remainder of this year. We continue to grow at about 70 to 100 percent a year, and expect to continue that for the next probably three to four years. With the changes that have happened in a lot of companies, we’ve been able to find great people. We have a lot of highly-educated people, MBAs, that have joined us.

KARANJIKAR: Ceramatec is about research and development, particularly in clean tech and some medical products. We have about 170 employees here in Salt Lake City. We are a wholly owned subsidiary of Coors Tek, which is roughly 5,000 employees around 13 different locations in the world.

As far as hiring challenges—we work in a very specific area. And so the sample space, that is becoming smaller and smaller as you look for more expertise and depth, which has been a constant challenge. And we are fairly picky about the type of people we hire. In the last year, we probably increased our workforce by almost 10 percent.

SEELEY: I’m IP director at Crocker Ventures, and I also run one of our startups. We provide seed capital in really early stage development. We have about 15 FTEs. We actively manage five startup companies right now, and we have some passive investments, where we invest in other companies from time to time.

OLSEN: I’m vice president of Intellisys. We are a local telecommunications company specializing in phone systems, dial tone, internet, cell phones, networks, that kind of stuff. We currently have about 20 employees. We hired about three or four in the last year, and we currently have positions for another four or five.

HALL: I relocated from New York two years ago to start up Goldman Sachs’ application development business team here in Salt Lake. We’ve run that team from about zero to 200 in the last two years.

Goldman, obviously, is known as a financial services industry. But what people don’t realize is the largest division at Goldman is actually technology. We have more technology professionals than we have bankers, traders or any other career skill set.

CULLIMORE: I’m president of Dynatronics Corporation. We’re a manufacturer of physical therapy equipment in the medical device space. We have about 200 employees, half of them in Utah. We’ve hired probably 10 to 15 in the last year.

NELSON: I’m the president and CEO of Nelson Laboratories. We work with companies to make sure their products are safe, sterile and functional—primarily focusing in the medical device space, but also some ancillary industries such as tissue, pharmaceutical, dietary supplement.

We are right on the cusp of 400 FTEs. We are continuing to hire. We’ve probably added, year to date, about 20 to 25 people.

ARCHIBALD: I’m the CEO and founder of Management Plus. We’re an electronic health records company. We have about 20 FTEs. About 75 percent of our employees are based here in Utah, the other are all over the country. We’ve hired about three new people this past year. We have two current openings—one position in particular we are really having a difficult time hiring for because it’s very specialized. We changed the focus of the requirements, and we still weren’t able to get somebody here in Utah. So now we’ve gone national to see if we can find somebody.

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