Oklahoma Journal Record: “IT Consulting Firm Creating Boot Camp”

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NOTE: The following article appeared in the May 21, 2012 edition of The Oklahoma Journal Record. A downloadable PDF of the story is available here.

TULSA – A Tulsa-based information technology services company is creating a boot camp to find talent to bolster its Oklahoma workforce.

Stonebridge, an IT consulting firm that also has operations in Texas, has a new training program to develop the next generation of IT consultants.

Greg Peters, director of delivery for Oklahoma, has dubbed it the “Stonebridge Boot Camp.”

Director for delivery is a senior position at Stonebridge that manages scheduling for the company consultants with client accounts, said Craig Dees, communications director.

“Delivery is just that – delivering services to a client,” Dees said. “There is also a director of delivery for Texas.”

Stonebridge is recruiting boot camp trainees in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Houston, Peters said. Houston is where the company’s Texas operations are based.

The first class will have four to six people. Future classes could have as many as 10 to 15 participants.

It will be a six-week training program focused on technical skills and consulting soft skills such as communication and ethics, Peters said.

“We are looking for intelligent people who have a consulting aptitude and the ability to soak up knowledge like a sponge as we will deliver a lot of diverse and complex training throughout the boot camp,” Peters said.

The consulting services business is growing because technology is becoming more diverse and specialized, Peters said.

“As a client, you can’t hire enough people to cover all the areas,” Peters said. “More and more companies are turning to outsourcing technology services and software creation.”

Stonebridge’s first-quarter revenue was 40 percent higher, with earnings 200 percent higher compared with the same time last year, the company reported. The increase was attributed to revenue growth in all three Stonebridge business units, with the Oklahoma unit achieving 57-percent growth. Stonebridge operations in Texas grew 29 percent. The company’s Business Service Management sector grew 36 percent compared with last year.

Stonebridge is looking to hire people with talent and a mental toughness, Peters said.

“We have several aspects of the training that teach this,” Peters said. “Part of the boot camp will cover methodology that has a large-client communication aspect.”

Stonebridge will also put people through a class on do’s and don’ts, Peters said.

“They will be working through various project management situations where they will have to deal with conflict resolution and client guidance,” Peters said.

By the end of the month, Stonebridge will have 88 employees total, with 45 people at the Tulsa office, 34 in Houston and eight in Dallas.
Peters said Stonebridge is looking for what he called consulting DNA.

“With a more experienced person it can be shown a lot more tangibly on their resume,” Peters said. “For a less experienced boot camper, it’s information we have to gather from conversations.”

Peters estimated the camp will cost $80,000 to $100,000.

“That’s just content creation, training time, materials and laptops,” Peter said. “If you add in lost revenue, from our top consultants who are teaching the boot camp, as well as the investment we are making in the boot campers throughout the year, it’s about $50,000 to $75,000 per student the first year.”

Peters estimated the payback would take a little more than three years.

The boot camp isn’t a simple endeavor, Peters said.

“However, it is a way to quickly grow a loyal, sustaining workforce for your company over time if you are willing to make the investment,” Peters said.

Written by D. Ray Tuttle, The Journal Record