“The integration of JWU into a larger tech and design scene that’s now [dominated by]
Brown and RISD is changing. JWU is starting to make its place on the map,” T. J. Sondermann,
manager of business development for Providence software start-up BatchBlue,
told students in January. Among the 15 employers at the Technology Career Forum at the
Providence Campus, Sondermann and others were eager to give students tips about their
areas of hire and ways into their industries and employment in general.
A standing-room-only crowd listened intently as representatives from large companies
like GTECH and FM Global, and smaller, tech-focused operations including BatchBlue
and ThinkTech Computers Inc., offered insider insights about the field.
Kevin Gilmartin, vice president of research and development for Cardiorobotics, a
medical robotic device developer in Raynham, Mass., is on the lookout for people with
combined skills in marketing and electronic and software engineering. “The robotics
program at JWU is good because it ties some of these areas together,” he observed.
“Web is where it’s at. Designing for small-screen Web apps for mobile — that is taking
off,” said Jack Templin, partner in Betaspring, a startup for young entrepreneurs, and
principal of ThoughtCap, a boutique Internet development firm. Entry to the domain calls
for knowledge of coding, designing and hosting for websites, he advised.
GTECH, headquartered in Providence, looks for applicants skilled in industrial design,
electrical engineering, software development, graphics and animation, along with the
ability to manage projects, according to Bob Melesko, director of engineering. The global
leader in gaming technology also pays attention to enthusiasm and personality and how
applicants present themselves.
Motivation and confidence go a long way, agreed Christopher Young, director of
the Office of Continuous Improvement at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI. “When an
employer makes a job description, it’s a wish list. You don’t have to have everything listed
to apply. Let them know you want the job. If I find someone extremely motivated I can
teach them the job.”
Julie Libutti, HR manager at FM Global, in Johnson, RI., says the insurance company
keeps an eye out for people with skills in marketing, IT, development and manufacturing,
as well as a willingness to learn, good communication skills, ability to work in a
team and flexibility.
Students were told to tailor résumés to companies they’re approaching. Nan Quinlan,
training and development manager for Taco Inc., a manufacturer of HVAC systems in
Cranston, RI., advised they study websites and use company jargon to sell strengths.
The tagged terms help applications pop up when search engines are used to scan through
groups of résumés.
“You should make yourself stand out and have real-world experience,” Templin told
them. He suggested contributing to open-source projects and building websites for a
friend’s business or a worthy cause. “They can be viewed all over the world.”
Sonderman said BatchBlue likes to find and nurture young talents who show potential.
“We’re always looking for smart, sharp people, no matter what their skill set.”
Some students, résumés in hand, were ready to pitch themselves for positions during
the day’s one-on-one sessions.
Image top: Rick Simone ’95, president
of Bella Consulting and
Events (center) and executive
assistant, Megan Duclos, from
Bella, speak with technology
students about skills they look
for when hiring.
Image above: Employers
flocked to the Technology
Career Fair held at the School
of Technology in Providence