TULSA, Okla., May 14, 2012 – A growing IT services company is taking a proactive approach for addressing the problem of finding new talent to replenish its workforce in Oklahoma and Texas—and ultimately add to its leadership team.
The solution: Grow your own.
Stonebridge, a Tulsa-based IT consulting services firm with operations in Oklahoma and Texas, is launching an aggressive training program designed to develop the company’s next generation of IT consulting leaders. And it is looking to hire people with the natural talent and mental toughness to be part of the program.
Dubbed “Stonebridge Boot Camp,” the six-week training program is a hyper-focused crash course in high-end technical skills and required consulting “soft skills” such as client communication and professional ethics.
The inaugural class is scheduled to start this month at the company’s Tulsa headquarters at 4200 E. Skelly Drive. Plans for subsequent Boot Camps are under way.
Stonebridge is actively recruiting Boot Camp trainees in Tulsa and Oklahoma City as well as in Houston, where its Texas operations is headquartered.
The impetus behind the Boot Camp program is simple. Stonebridge has experienced tremendous growth in its consulting services business and anticipates the uptick in its business to not only grow but also accelerate.
“Over the past two years we have been seeing additional opportunities and winning more business,” said James Ivy, Stonebridge’s President and CEO. “In fact, in the first quarter of this year, we enjoyed our best-ever results for quarterly revenues and profitability.”
“Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention,” Ivy said. “And we believe the Boot Camp program is necessary for our company to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of us, and at the same time grow our next generation of leaders from within.”
Ivy expects the Boot Camp program to produce 75 graduates by 2014.
According to Stonebridge’s Gregory Peters, who is overseeing the training program, the company is looking for candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset, a passion for problem solving and experience working within a team structure. On the technical side, candidates need at least six months’ experience with Microsoft’s .NET development framework.
“The skill sets required of an IT consultant are different than those of a person in an IT department,” said Peters, a 20-year industry veteran who also is the company’s Director of Delivery for Oklahoma.
“Obviously, an IT consultant must have superior technical aptitude. But she or he also must possess additional ‘soft’ skills—call it ‘Consulting DNA’—such as excellent communication abilities, a knack for problem-solving, business professionalism and empathy for the client.”
The Boot Camp’s six-week curriculum, taught by Stonebridge’s top senior consultants, is designed to immerse trainees in three core subject areas: Stonebridge culture, business professionalism and technical skills development. The program also will include interactive sessions with Stonebridge clients, who will discuss best practices in IT consulting from the client’s perspective.
The initial Boot Camp “pilot” class will be limited to six consultant trainees. Subsequent classes are expected to have as many as 10-15 trainees.
Boot Camp trainees will receive all the benefits of a full-time employee. “Trainees are salaried Stonebridge Associates with benefits on Day One,” Peters said.
Following the intense six-week classroom training, trainees will be assigned to internal or simulated projects, after which time they will “shadow” Stonebridge senior consultants on actual client projects. Peters added, “With the practical knowledge derived from the Boot Camp and post-training experience, trainees will possess the necessary skills to pass Microsoft professional certification tests.”
He also stressed that while a college degree is strongly preferred, “We would not rule out someone if we felt that they met the rest of the profile.”
“We intend to keep the Boot Camp program going, honing the curriculum over time, because it is vital to our continued success,” Peters said. “Finding the right talent when we need it is getting harder and harder. We believe it is in our long-term interest to grow our own talent pool by investing in people with the right aptitude and ambition. And we expect our investment to pay big dividends in the near future.”
Stonebridge is an information technology consulting firm focused on helping organizations harness the power of their people, processes and technology. Our clients look to us as a strategic partner with a shared commitment to achieving their business objectives and maximizing their business performance. Founded in 1995 on a commitment to establishing high-value strategic alliances with our clients, Stonebridge has provided business solutions to organizations in all major industries, representing private, public, government, and non-profit entities. For additional information about Stonebridge, visit our website at www.sbti.com.