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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 3 weeks ago

Economic forecast 2020: Technology

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Bill Lederer, chairman and CEO of iSocrates
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

COMPANY: Formerly based in Connecticut, iSocrates is one of many companies to relocate to the Tampa Bay area in recent years, basing its U.S. headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg. The tech firm, which specializes in programmatic media and marketing services and also has an office in Mysuru, India, has grown quickly since fleeing the high-tax Northeast and aims to have at least 10 full-time staff members working in the Sunshine City by the end of 2019. “We’ve had a record year,” Chairman and CEO Bill Lederer says, “measured pretty much every way that you can measure it.” Lederer projects the company will reach in $4 million in revenue by the end of the year, up from $1.62 million in 2018. 

OPPORTUNITIES: Because of the continued strength of the economy, Lederer sees 2020 as an ideal time to increase investment in training and company culture initiatives. The goal, he says, is to make iSocrates the preferred employer in its specialty in Tampa Bay and beyond and to take a proactive, values-based approach to some HR difficulties it experienced in 2019. “We need to be a more competitive employer from the standpoint of what we offer and represent to the people who work in our business,” he says. “That’s everything from the physical environment and challenges the employees are getting, to being a better listener.”

THREATS: Like many other companies across a wide variety of sectors, the tight labor market poses the biggest threat to iSocrates. Lederer has experienced a string of new hires accepting job offers — then not showing up for work. “It’s a function of the fact that the economy is so strong,” he says. With unemployment so low and workers with advanced tech skills in such high demand, job seekers can be selective about where they work and, whether employers like it or not, leverage offers against others. “We thought it might just be the bad habits of a few people, but it’s a pattern of behavior. That’s new for us, and it’s been a big lesson.” He adds, “Don’t print the business cards until the person actually shows up.”

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