Karl McCollester has worked in the IT industry for 16 years. He has been a successful CIO and business executive, leading multi-million dollar product initiatives and overseeing company expansions into new territories. Those experiences provided him with first-hand knowledge of the IT skills gap and the vital role IT-oLogy can play for its partners. Most recently, Karl has led an entrepreneurial team at an Internet startup, Voterheads.com. Karl manages corporate and business partnerships with IT-oLogy.
When you’re working with an organization like IT-oLogy, it’s very easy to fall into ‘group think’. The people with whom you work and to whom you speak are equally concerned about the same thing, so everyone in the world must be too, right? Usually that’s not the case. Whenever I start feeling this way, I start thinking: “Okay, clearly we’re not listening hard enough; everyone can’t be thinking the same as we.” The doubts start appearing.
That’s why our launch event in Charlotte, as well as the BIG event beforehand, was both amazing and gratifying. It was amazing because of how well Kay Read (NCITA), the team of volunteers from Charlotte, and our own staff in Columbia, teamed together to put on a flawless event. We had great attendance, great food, and an engaged audience.
It was gratifying to see the mission and need for IT-oLogy is still alive and well outside of the ‘IT-oLogysphere’. Between the BIG panel and the IT-oLogy reception, I heard from and spoke with a lot of organizations that are in significant pain. They simply can’t find good people to fill the jobs that are already open, and a future of retirements, declining CS enrollment, and growing demand make the future look even dimmer.
This is why IT-oLogy was founded and why John Fread (Logical Advantage) started getting people together and talking about ‘a better way’ in Charlotte. It was also why he and Kay reached out to IT-oLogy to see how we could work together to help them ramp up more quickly.
The presentation and panel showed that this wasn’t just an issue for IT-oLogy and Logical Advantage. We had contributors from across the Queen City, including City of Charlotte, Time Warner Cable, MeckEd, Siemens, UNC Charlotte, CPCC, Furman University and Cisco, stand up and talk both about what’s already in place and what needs to be done. We also had Jim Van Fleet acting as the voice of the development community, one of the IT professions we need to attract to continue Charlotte’s growth in IT. Together, they presented a scene of the great things going on now but also spoke about the critical issues that need addressing if Charlotte wants to continue to grow in the 21st century.
It was great to see so many organizations based in Charlotte come out to support the launch, either on-stage or in the audience. I’m looking forward to seeing our next steps to get everyone who was there on-board as partners and getting involved in increasing the IT talent pipeline.