When Trilix launched in May, the information technology consulting firm faced one of its first challenges within its own office – how to make sure someone remembered to feed the two fish occupying a tank in the company’s main lobby.
“Every day we’d be asking, ‘Did anyone feed the fish?’ ” said Randy Jackvony, principal of technology and client services at Trilix. “So, I said to one of the developers, ‘You know what would be great, if I could look on our company dashboard and find out who fed the fish.’ ”
By the next morning, two Trilix engineers had built a dashboard widget for that exact purpose.
“It’s a silly, little thing,” said Jackvony, “but I think that encapsulates the culture we have here, to be able to [discuss] ideas, because that’s when you come up with the really great solutions.”
Warwick-based Trilix is the brainchild of Tim Hebert, the former president and CEO of Atrion Inc. who now serves as chief client officer for Carousel Industries of North America Inc. since its acquisition of Atrion last year. Hebert’s experience with the frustration of inefficient technology as a business owner and executive provided the inspiration for Trilix.
“The gap between what the software does and what a company’s procedures are is getting bigger and bigger,” said Hebert, Trilix founder and CEO. “This is in every company, whether you have 10 people or you’re a Fortune 500 company. We spend so much time and energy inefficiently, trying to work through those gaps.”
Trilix’s target clients are what Hebert calls “midmarket,” or what some might call “Goldilocks” businesses – not too big, not too small. These are companies of 100 or more employees that recognize the systems they have in place aren’t working but lack the in-house resources and IT talent to pinpoint the problem or solve it themselves.
“There’s a shortage of good, skilled IT talent from entry level all the way to the most senior roles,” said Hebert. “Midmarket companies don’t have access to the talent they really need to do the job well. And that’s where third-party companies [such as] Trilix come into play. That’s our focus, to fill that gap.”
Taking a holistic, “business-first” approach, Trilix starts every project with a conversation about what the client actually needs to run their business – whether that means bringing in new technology or not. Clients have access to business analysts, project managers, graphic designers and software developers, all rolled into a single package at Trilix.
Putting together a great team, however, is only half the battle for Trilix. The other half involves fostering a culture of excellence, creativity and inclusion where employees have the opportunity to learn new skills and grow as professionals.
Between 10 percent and 15 percent of the team’s time is devoted to “play work,” when developers get to test ideas, experiment with new technologies and build the projects that personally excite them. For an hour each day, the team meets for group training and discussion, to learn about new industry trends and share their latest discoveries.
“It’s a big part of who we are and how we define ourselves, this continual training,” said Hebert.
He hopes to expand the Trilix team with new hires from more diverse and nontraditional backgrounds, but the shrinking pool of IT professionals in Rhode Island could prove a challenge.
‘We don’t have a strong enough pipeline coming into the workforce.’
TIM HEBERT, Trilix founder and CEO
“We don’t have a strong enough pipeline coming into the workforce,” said Hebert. To ensure Trilix can recruit the talent it needs, he plans to partner with training programs at Tech Collective and TechHire, while also reaching out to K-12 schools in the community to do his part in getting more kids interested in careers in tech.
“I think all good tech companies should be involved in helping to increase the pipeline,” said Hebert. “It’s in our best interest. We may be able to hire enough people today, but it’s getting harder and harder. And 10 years from now, if we don’t increase the pipeline, we won’t have the talent to be successful.”
Hebert himself is actively involved as a mentor at the Academy for Career Exploration, a public charter school in Providence that has a focus on tech-based education. And Jackvony and his team have hosted workshops in partnership with Computer Science for Rhode Island, a statewide initiative to expand computer science education for all public K-12 students.
“This is the 19th business I’ve started; I could’ve done this anyplace,” said Hebert. “I specifically chose Rhode Island because I think this state is at a turning point that most people haven’t seen. I think a groundswell is going to happen, and the companies that are making the investments now are going to benefit.”
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