Business development manager, SouthTech
Jackson Haskins, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, came down to the Sarasota area to visit an uncle in 2006.
A recent graduate of the ITT Technical Institute in Portland, Ore., the young Haskins brought one suitcase of clothes for the trip. He thought he would hang out on the beach, then go back home and find a job. But one week turned two, then one month, then two months. And now it’s been nearly 10 years.
The beaches are nice, but what got Haskins to stay was working for a startup his uncle, Joe Rhem, helped launch: Manatee County-based Star2Star Communications. Star2Star, co-founded by Sarasota area entrepreneur Norm Worthington, has become one of the fastest-growing businesses in the region. The company developed software and programs for businesses to implement and use Voice over Internet Protocol for phone systems.
Haskins has since moved on to another job at another company, still in technology. He now helps oversee business development at SouthTech, one of the leading IT firms in the Sarasota-Bradenton region. The firm uses Star2Star technology for some projects, which gives Haskins an edge when he talks to prospective clients.
Another edge Haskins brings to SouthTech is his experience in a lean startup and a company that delivered on high internal expectations. “It was definitely an interesting time,” Haskins says of Star2Star. “We were on the cutting edge. Nobody had done what we set out to do.”
This article was updated to reflect the correct name of Haskins' uncle.
— Mark Gordon
Name: Jackson Haskins
City of residence: Sarasota
Twitter handle: None
Title: Business development manager
Birthplace: Chehalis, Wash.
Years on the Gulf Coast: 10
Marital status/children: Engaged, three children
Alma mater: None
Best place to network: Events at the Hyatt Regency and Polo Grill.
Coolest business experience: Being part of a team that took a concept in a garage to a product deployed at Fortune 500 companies in a handful of years.
The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Listen, don’t hear.
One website that makes your job easier: SouthTech Knowledge Base.
One community group you’re most involved with: Impossible to choose only one. My position at my company allows us to sponsor and work with many great nonprofit organizations in our area.
Favorite off-hours activity: Attending sporting events and traveling
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Elon Musk and Steve Jobs
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Practicing law or medicine
Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Moved spontaneously to Sarasota to help create a startup company.
What’s at the top of your bucket list: Backpack through Europe/See a game at every MLB stadium.
What new skill would you like to learn: Piano, or any instrument for that matter
Who would play you in a movie about your life: Leonardo DiCaprio
If I had a magic wand I’d: Clone myself! Never enough hours in the day.