John Engates – an early, vocal and high-profile critic of the online rollout of Obamacare – now says federal officials and tech contractors appear to have found the prescription for fixing the HealthCare.gov website.
“They have learned a lot and will unlikely repeat the same mistakes on this project,” says Engates, chief technology officer at San Antonio-based Rackspace, an IT hosting company with a major presence in Austin.
On Nov. 25, shortly before Thanksgiving, Engates got an up-close look at efforts to repair the Obamacare website. Based on his visit to the under-wraps Obamacare “command center” in suburban Maryland and his attendance at an invitation-only White House briefing, Engates says he felt confident that the website’s bugs would be fixed by the White House-imposed deadline of Dec. 1.
For its part, the White House proclaimed Dec. 1 that the site would run smoothly for the “vast majority” of visitors, although hiccups still were being reported Dec. 2.
‘Finger pointing is over’
“The site is at a stage where a lot of the initial embarrassment is behind its designers and managers. The finger pointing is over — at least inside the Administration and among the contractors,” Engates wrote Nov. 26 on the Rackspace blog.
Engates, an internationally recognized expert on cloud computing, says he’d be surprised if major problems cropped up again with the Obamacare website.
“They will undoubtedly continue to work on the site and make improvements,” he says. “They will replace technology, contractors and vendors that aren’t up to the task, and they will certainly do more testing to guarantee … performance going forward.”
From the outset, the Obamacare website faced several hurdles, Engates says. Chief among them, some critics say, was the bungling of the website launch by contractor CGI Federal.
Engates says that “the site was put together by well-intentioned people who are good at winning government contracts but not necessarily building highly scalable e-commerce web applications.”
Another challenge: Federal workers and outside contractors had little time to complete the website, let alone test it, Engates says.
In the spotlight
Media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, CNN and InformationWeek have quoted Engates extensively about the Obamacare website debacle. In a sense, Engates became an overnight star among critics of Obamacare’s technical glitches.
“It’s been great to be a resource to the American people around such an important initiative,” Engates says. “Most people understand that we (Rackspace) come from a technology background, and we have no agenda. We just want to be a resource based on our own experiences helping our customers build these types of applications.”
- Rackspace CTO Engates Analyzes HealthCare.gov Meltdown (informationweek.com)
- Website repair shop like a rocket launch, says insider (fox13now.com)
A lot of Austin startups don’t even have as many employees in total as Luminex Corp. is seeking right now.
Luminex has 16 available positions at its Austin headquarters. In all, the biotech company plans to fill about 25 jobs in Austin between now and the end of 2010. Among the jobs listed on the Luminex website are product marketing manager (instrumentation), associate director of business development, internal auditor and senior legal assistant.
So far this year, the company has added more than 30 employees and more than 20 contractors in Austin.
“We have a very low turnover rate. Employees grow with Luminex,” Nancy Capezzuti, senior director of human resources, tells AustInnovation™.
An estimated 80 job openings in Austin could be on tap next year at Luminex, depending on the outcome of ongoing budget reviews, says Capezzuti, who sits on the board of Capital Area Workforce Solutions.
Luminex occupies 121,000 square feet at 12212 Technology Blvd. in Northwest Austin.
Worldwide, Luminex employs more than 460 people, including 300 in Austin. Other offices are in Toronto; Brisbane, Australia; Tokyo; Shanghai, China; and Oosterhout, The Netherlands.
Luminex’s core values are:
- Ensuring customers are always the highest priority.
- Developing and maintaining a culture that values and rewards integrity, execution, teamwork, creativity and communication.
- Delivering innovative solutions to address customers’ unmet needs.
- Building long-term shareholder value by pursuing sustainable growth, continually improving the efficiency of operations and maximizing return on investment.
Publicly held Luminex (Nasdaq: LMNX) was founded in 1995 and went public five years later. The company develops, manufactures and markets biological testing technologies for the pharmaceutical, clinical diagnostics, biomedical research and biodefense sectors.
Earlier this year, Luminex ranked 42nd on Fortune’s list of the 100 fastest-growing companies, with three-revenue revenue growth of 32 percent.
In 2009, the company’s revenue jumped by 59 percent, thanks largely to a boost in sales associated with the H1N1 flu outbreak. For the second quarter of 2010, Luminex reported revenue of $33.2 million, up 20 percent from the same period in 2009.
The company forecasts 2010 revenue of $138 million to $148 million, which would be an increase of 14 percent to 23 percent compared with 2009.
“We believe our commitment to our successful partnership model and our ongoing R&D investments will continue to drive growth across all of our markets, and allow us to further extend our global market presence,” says President and CEO Patrick Balthrop (top photo, ringing opening bell at Nasdaq), who joined the company in 2004.
In late August, Charity Dynamics Inc. nearly doubled the amount of office space at its Austin headquarters—expanding from about 3,500 square feet to about 6,500 square feet at 3420 Executive Center Drive.
The move into larger digs came on the heels of the company landing at No. 429 on the latest Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing small businesses in the country. Charity Dynamics’ revenue climbed from $257,470 in 2006—two years after the company was founded—to $2 million in 2009. The company’s three-year growth rate: a staggering 695 percent.
The company, which provides an array of online services for nonprofits, now has three available positions in Austin: interactive services director, online strategy consultant and project manager. In all, Charity Dynamics employs 30 people—26 in Austin, two in the Washington, D.C., area, one in New York City and one in Denver.
President Donna Wilkins (photo) says the company has added 12 employees this year in Austin, with several more jobs to be filled by the end of 2010 beyond the three currently advertised.
“We are still finalizing 2011 plans,” Wilkins says, “but anticipate a number of new positions.”
Traits that Charity Dynamics seeks in new hires include being proactive, conscientious, self-directed and flexible, and possessing a can-do attitude and a sense of humor, Wilkins says.
“We have a casual, collaborative environment and entrepreneurial spirit. Key to our success is a shared passion for helping nonprofit organizations exceed their goals and expectations,” says Wilkins, who previously was vice president of client services at Austin-based Convio Inc., a provider of fundraising software and services.
Customers of Charity Dynamics include the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation, Autism Speaks and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In June, Charity Dynamics said that nonprofit groups had garnered more than $30 million through the company’s Boundless Fundraising iPhone and Facebook application since its launch in early 2009.
To view a video about the Boundless Fundraising product, click here.
In the past four years, Austin-based SolarWinds Inc. has certainly cranked up its local workforce. The tech company has added dozens of jobs in Austin since arriving here in 2006 and remains on a hiring roll.
SolarWinds now has 16 jobs available in Austin in sales, marketing, IT, administration and R&D. According to its website, positions that the company is trying to fill include director of federal sales, director of product marketing, director of web marketing, senior web developer and senior networking engineer.
“The corporate culture at SolarWinds is a source of pride to all employees and is the core of the company’s management philosophy –each individual is challenged on a daily basis to assume more responsibility and to make a difference in the business,” says Tiffany Nels, director of corporate marketing. “SolarWinds stresses the word ‘daily’ because a high-transaction business depends on daily results.”
While SolarWinds—a developer of network management software and network monitoring tools—declines to give specifics about hiring plans for the remainder of this year and in 2011, it’s clear that the winds of success are blowing the company’s way.
In July, SolarWinds reported record revenue of $35.5 million in the second quarter of 2010, a 31 percent jump from the same period last year. Revenue in 2009 was $116.4 million, up 25 percent from 2008. The company is forecasting 2010 revenue of $146 million to $151 million, which would be a 25 percent to 35 percent increase from last year.
In a report cited by the International Business Times, ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Ruykhaver wrote: “SolarWinds is well-positioned to grow much faster than the market primarily because it can offer an affordable and easy-to-use solution that lowers total cost of ownership and increases return on investment for the customer, in our view.”
The company, which went public in May 2009, employs more than 200 people at its Austin headquarters. SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) occupies more than 100,000 square feet at 3711 S. MoPac Expressway in South Austin.
Nearly 200 more people work at SolarWinds offices in Dallas; Tulsa, Okla.; the Czech Republic; India; Ireland; New Zealand; and Singapore.
To read a corporate fact sheet for SolarWinds, click here.
Perks for employees of SolarWinds include an on-site gym, access to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, immediate 401(k) matching and full vesting, a casual dress code, free lunch twice a week from Austin eateries, quarterly performance bonuses and monthly employee birthday celebrations.
“The culture is a blend between the informal, high-energy culture of a software startup company and the disciplined, results-focused, execution-oriented culture of a mature public company,” Nels says. “The principle that defines the culture includes a strong reliance on integrity, responsibility, ability to deal with change, and accountability.”
SolarWinds, founded in 1999, has more than 95,000 customers worldwide and an online user community of more than 50,000 IT professionals. Competitors include CA Technologies Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp.
In 2006, SolarWinds moved its headquarters to Austin from Tulsa.
SolarWinds named Kevin Thompson (photo) as president and CEO in March. He assumed the title of president in 2009; before that, he had been chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
To view Thompson’s profile on LinkedIn, click here.
“From its start as a great ‘tool’ company for network engineers, SolarWinds has since grown into a disruptive force in the IT management market,” Nels says, “stripping enterprise market share from the ‘Big Four’ while also offering powerful, affordable solutions to small and midsize businesses.”
With three-year revenue growth topping 600 percent, it’s no wonder that Austin-based All Web Leads Inc. has added more than half a dozen employees so far this year and plans to add several more by the end of 2010.
The 11 full-time jobs advertised on the company’s website are mostly in software development and sales. To view the entire list, click here.
All Web Leads employs about 40 people in Austin, up from 33 at the beginning of 2010, according to Josowitz. All of them work in about 6,000 square feet at 7801 N. Capital of Texas Highway in Northwest Austin.
To view the company’s LinkedIn profile, click here.
To see a video tour of the company’s offices, click here.
All Web Leads adheres to four core values:
“Being the best and brightest isn’t enough at All Web Leads. We’re looking for people who are passionate about what they do and who let nothing stand in their way,” the company says on its website. “We are a tight-knit team with a fast-paced, energetic and entrepreneurial company culture.”
That culture includes happy hours, improvisational acting workshops, and team-building experiences like skeet shooting, boating and competitive Segway racing, Josowitz says.
The company, founded in 2005 by Jim Waltrip (chief visionary officer and former CEO at All Web Leads) and Ryan Patterson, is an online lead generator for the insurance industry. Bill Daniel (photo), former president and CEO of Austin tech company Surgient Inc., was named CEO in April; he joined All Web Leads as chief operating officer in 2008.
“I’m so proud of the entire team at All Web Leads and what they have accomplished … . The company’s revenue, profitability and growth rate are the envy of companies many times our size across different markets,” Daniel says.
In May, Waltrip was named one of nine finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 Award in Central Texas.
The Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing small businesses in the country just placed All Web Leads at No. 441. The company’s revenue climbed 677 percent to $48.8 million in 2009 from $6.3 million in 2006.
In 2008, All Web Leads received a “significant” round of funding led by Memphis, Tenn.-based SSM Partners.
“The phenomenal growth we have experienced at All Web Leads indicates the strong demand for superior services that connect consumers shopping for insurance with insurance professionals,” Waltrip says.
To watch a TV news profile about the company’s co-founders, click here.
The hiring needs at The Search Engine Guys LLC are changing so rapidly and the Austin-based company is growing so quickly that it’s next to impossible to pin down how many job openings there are now.
“We don’t have an exact number, honestly. If a talented person submits a resume, we can make room in the company for them,” says Julie Zellman, director of public relations. “We don’t really have a formal recruitment goal; we consider everyone on a case-by-case basis.”
Currently, the company employs 44 people—39 in Austin and five in Chicago.
“As new departments are added and our recruiting needs change, we will post these needs on various job boards and on our website,” Zellman says.
To follow the company on Twitter, click here.
Typically, the company hires content writers, web designers, web strategists, bloggers, SEO specialists and sales representatives. The Search Engine Guys looks for employees with a track record of great career experience, a strong work ethic and a positive attitude, Zellman says.
“A sense of humor and love for arcade games might also come in handy in our unconventional office environment,” she says.
For more information about careers at The Search Engine Guys, click here.
The Search Engine Guys provides web marketing services to law firms and small to midsize businesses. The company’s menu of services includes SEO, web design (see two examples in this blog post), pay-per-click management, video and photography, online reputation management, logo design and billboard design.
Co-founders are Joe Devine (photo), CEO, and Rodney Organ, chief technology officer. Graham Smith, chief web strategist, manages the Chicago office. In 2008, the principals of The Search Guys launched Ngage Inc., which supplies live-chat services to more than 230 websites. Ngage has offices in Austin, Chicago and San Diego.
In June, The Search Guys expanded from 2,892 square feet to 4,252 square feet at 3001 S. Lamar Blvd. in South Austin.
“Though the company is growing at a rapid pace, there is still an environment of friendliness, comfort and mutual respect,” Zellman says. “The executives are always open to new, creative ideas and value the ideas of all of their employees, whether you have been with the company since the beginning or only for a few months.”
Since executives at the company believe employees should work as hard as they play, The Search Engine Guys encourages them to take short breaks throughout the workday to visit with colleagues, shoot a Nerf basketball or play arcade games. Executives treat employees to several company outings throughout the year, including a mini-golf and bowling tournament. During the summer, Friday afternoons are reserved for a movie screening and snacks.
Devine says: “We are blessed to have a team of young and energetic workers who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that our clients’ needs are met.”
When it comes to hiring, Austin-based HotSchedules.com Inc. is on a hot streak.
Before the end of this year, the company aims to add 10 more employees. Twenty-three new hires are set for 2011. Among the new employees will be sales executives, account managers, QA specialists and software developers.
To see a description—including salary range—for a sales position at HotSchedules, click here.
Privately held HotSchedules occupies 5,500 square feet at 6504 Bridge Point Parkway in North Austin and will take an additional 5,000 square feet there in October.
HotSchedules specializes in online software designed for staff scheduling and labor management in the restaurant industry. The company currently employs 50 people in Austin, as well as one person in Dallas and another person in Minneapolis.
“We foster a team environment, and it creates a unique culture centered around meaningful relationships,” the company tells AustInnovation™. “We have each other’s best interest in mind, and we love to see each other grow personally and professionally.”
HotSchedules has high standards for its workers, according to the company’s website. The company says its employees are “zealots” when it comes to customer service.
“At HotSchedules, we recruit only the most exceptional individuals—people with a strong passion for collaboration and the development of fresh ideas,” the company says. “We offer a variety of opportunities for you to imagine, explore and realize your potential … . We’re looking for people who want to think strategically, create with passion and have fun while doing it in a casual, flexible work environment.”
To view HotSchedules’ Facebook page, click here.
HotSchedules’ online tools are used by more than 450,000 people at over 5,000 restaurants. Customers include Outback Steakhouse, the Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Carino’s Italian Grill, Chili’s, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fleming’s Steakhouse and Applebee’s.
“HotSchedules was the first to market a powerful, flexible and cost-effective, web-based … employee-scheduling solution targeted specifically for restaurants. Prior to that, restaurants all managed their schedules with a slow, cumbersome paper-based system,” Pawlikowski says.
To visit HotSchedules’ blog, click here.
To view a demo of HotSchedules’ BlackBerry app, click here.
If you’re in the job market, you might want to explore career opportunities at Austin-based Xplore Technologies Corp.
At the moment, Xplore has openings for four full-time positions in Austin: vice president of marketing and sales representative (three). That follows the recent addition of two engineers.
The company is considering further expansion of its workforce over the next 12 months, with additions in marketing and sales being a priority.
“The number of personnel will depend on our growth rate in profit and revenue,” says Mark Holleran (photo), president and chief operating officer of Xplore. “Austin is our headquarters, and the majority of our new hires will be in Austin.”
Xplore, founded in 1996, employs about 30 people in Austin and another 10 or so around the country and in Taiwan. The company develops “rugged” tablet PCs for customers in sectors such as public safety, manufacturing and military.
Holleran says the company seeks employees with experience in the mobile PC space.
“We look for personnel with a proven track record, experience in a smaller company that has grown quickly, the ability to multitask and a customer focus attitude,” Holleran says. “We prefer people who are innovative and have a can-do attitude … and take pride in their work.”
Xplore is a publicly held company whose stock is traded on the over-the-counter bulletin board under the symbol XLRT.
For the first time in company history, Xplore has generated an operating profit—$42,000 in the quarter that ended June 30.
Revenue for the company’s most recent quarter was $5.078 million, up 2 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. The net loss for that period was $667,000, compared with a net loss of $1.321 million during the same time a year earlier.
“We believe the strength of our product portfolio, the market’s increased awareness and acceptance of the tablet-form factor, improving economic conditions and Xplore’s foray into new geographies and vertical markets position the company for a ramp up in revenues,” Holleran says.
For the fiscal year that ended March 31, Xplore posted revenue of $21.94 million, down 3 percent from the previous year. During the quarter that ended June 30, three customers accounted for 37 percent of the company’s revenue, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
During the most recent fiscal year, Xplore notched expenses of nearly $1.59 million due to a decrease in engineering staff associated with fewer development projects. The number of layoffs wasn’t available.
Holleran says Xplore is preparing to introduce a “significantly improved” line of tablet PCs later this year. The successful launch of Apple Inc.’s iPad signals that the tablet PC industry is poised for wider acceptance and accelerated growth, he says.
“With Apple and other commercial PC companies embracing the tablet format, I think the potential demand for a full-size mobile computer, with more interactive capabilities than a keyboard can deliver, will continue to expand in the years to come,” Holleran says. “This bodes well for Xplore, as the number of users that are comfortable with the tablet form factor is set for rapid growth.”
To view a promotional video about Xplore’s rugged tablets, click here.
When Zilliant Inc. announced in July that it reaped $13 million in venture capital, the Austin-based company indicated the money would help accelerate global expansion. Part of that expansion involves bulking up the company’s headcount.
Right now, Zilliant lists nine job openings on its website: district sales manager, inside sales manager, business intelligence architect, customer success manager, pricing consultant, pricing scientist, project manager, marketing content specialist and build management engineer.
To see all of the job opportunities at Zilliant, click here.
Zilliant executives decline to say how many jobs will be added over the next 12 months, but with $13 million in fresh cash, the company most certainly will be ratcheting up its hiring. Today, the company employs 131 people at offices in Austin and Germany. The headquarters is at 3815 S. Capital of Texas Highway in South Austin.
The company says it wants people on its team who:
- Are curious.
- Want to continually learn.
- Will listen to ideas different from their own.
- Are humble enough to understand they don’t have all the answers.
- Are resilient.
- Like to test new ideas.
- Are willing to take risks and make mistakes.
On its website, Zilliant says it empowers employees and holds them accountable for managing their time and getting their work done.
“Each individual has a direct impact on our bottom line and the bottom line of our customers,” the company says. “Any given day you walk down the halls, every door is open and everyone is approachable. You’ll hear passionate voices of innovation and problem-solving. White boards are filled, erased, and filled again with new ideas.”
To learn more about Zilliant’s corporate culture, click here.
If the company’s corporate culture weren’t enough to attract employees, perhaps its benefits could be the draw. Benefits include four weeks of paid time off, nine days of holiday pay, a 401(k) program, and medical, dental and vision insurance.
To view the company’s profile on LinkedIn, click here.
Zilliant, founded in 1999, develops and sells software that helps manufacturers, distributors, high-tech companies and industrial service companies set their prices. Greg Peters (photo) is chairman, president and CEO of Zilliant. Previously, he was president and CEO of Austin software developer Vignette Corp.
Chip Davis, managing partner at SMH Private Equity Group, says: “Zilliant is a true pioneer who will continue to lead the market as B2B companies look toward recovery, and we are excited to be part of Zilliant’s bright future.”
To view a Zilliant video about the political “debate” over B2B pricing, click here.
The hiring situation looks sunny at Austin-based SolarBridge Technologies Inc.
SolarBridge currently has five job openings in Austin and just moved to new headquarters with more than triple the space of its previous location. More space almost always means more jobs on the horizon.
“Our exact hiring plans are confidential, but we plan to continue hiring and expanding In Austin through 2010 and beyond,” spokeswoman Nancy Edwards says.
Edwards says SolarBridge is placing a priority on engineers, with some sales, marketing and operations positions in the mix as well. The company develops power conversion products for the solar industry.
Applicants are asked to send a detailed letter of interest and a resume/curriculum vitae to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about careers at SolarBridge, click here.
Today, the company employs 30 people in Austin. SolarBridge also has an office in Champaign, Ill. Total employment is 40.
Edwards describes SolarBridge’s employees as “hard-working, passionate, smart, and very committed to seeing the solar industry grow with the game-changing technology SolarBridge provides.”
The Austin employees occupy about 13,000 square feet, including lab space, at 9229 Waterford Centre Blvd. in North Austin.
“The new headquarters demonstrates our commitment to Austin, a vibrant city with a strong talent base,” says Ron Van Dell (photo), president and CEO of SolarBridge. “The on-site lab in particular provides an invaluable testing and demonstration setting that is conveniently positioned within the same space as our corporate, engineering and marketing teams.”
To view Van Dell’s profile on LinkedIn, click here.
Since its founding in 2004, the company has collected $27 million in funding, including $1.5 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and a $15 million round of venture capital received earlier this year. Investors in SolarBridge include Battery Ventures, Rho Ventures and Illinois Ventures.
To watch an interview with Van Dell, click here.