Top 40 Growth Company Beats All Odds

Just like any other young professional, Tracey Grace was committed to her career and performing with her eye on excellence, as she emerged from the prestigious University of Pittsburgh with an MBA. She has successfully knocked down many barriers as the founder and CEO of IBEX IT Business Experts (IBEX), a training, technology, and professional services firm.

There have been many economic downturns that have forced companies to rethink the ways they approach business. This was the case for a Dutch consulting firm where Grace held several roles, eventually moving up the ranks to become VP. She was challenged to grow the company’s revenues right in the crux of what is known today as The Great Recession. This challenge was met by her fierce tenacity and fervor to succeed. She took the company to record breaking numbers in a new unexplored vertical—IT training and consulting—specifically in the healthcare field right as health systems were migrating to electronic health records.

Although she was producing, the company’s leadership decided this was not a viable growth segment and advised her to refocus. They did not see a valuable future in the Health IT space. This became a pivotal turning point for Grace’s future.  Given the relationships she had formed, and her work ethic, she could not bring herself to sever ties so easily with this newfound customer base who valued her expertise and relied upon her guidance. And this marked the birth of an independent consultancy that would become IBEX IT Business Experts today—an award-winning certified woman, minority-owned small business.

After launching the company, of course, there were growing pains. Navigating as a newly minted entrepreneur is not an easy task. With limited resources Grace gravitated to the federally funded support resources, one of which was the Atlanta MBDA Business Center. “The Atlanta MBDA Business Center was pivotal in sharing information and providing collaboration that helped send me on a strong path forward. At one event the Center referred me to, I reconnected with an acquaintance who referred me to a client that I’m still winning contracts with today,” says Grace. MBDA is the only federal agency tasked with promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses. They provide technical training, market knowledge and insights and networking for nominal fees and in many cases offer free programming designed to provide greater access to capital, contracts and markets.

“We were able to share a poster in the first Poster Walk Competition at an Advanced Manufacturing Summit, and one of the attendees from Chicago came to us and wanted to collaborate on a government contract,” explains Grace. This is a true testament to the importance of the community MBDA cultivates for small minority owned businesses.

“As IBEX continues to grow, we are focused on giving back, keeping in mind our early hardships, we have been able to develop a solution to help enterprises to better engage minority owned businesses through our technically advanced supplier diversity vendor management system, Certifiably Diverse,” says Grace. Within the next five years, IBEX’s intent is to exponentially increase its footprint by introducing proprietary products aimed at both national and international markets.

IBEX was recently selected as one of the 2021 Georgia Fast 40 for middle market growth by Atlanta’s Association for Corporate Growth. The company was invited to be one of three groups on a project with the Department of Transportation, and Ms. Grace was recently named to the board of North Fulton Community Charities. IBEX has retained a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of growing companies for the last three years and is ranked as number 32 for the Inc. list in Georgia. To learn more about IBEX, be sure to check out their website and follow them on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

 

A Twenty Year Partnership

Ken Taunton, the founder of The Royster Group, originally began his career as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company covering his home state of Alabama and the Washington D.C. territories. After six years in the sales organization, he was promoted to be the Southeast Regional Recruiter headquartered in Atlanta, and Mr. Taunton described the excitement and passion that recruiting brought him. One day on an airplane, Mr. Taunton found himself in a conversation with a Managing Partner who worked for an international executive search firm. Following this conversation, Mr. Taunton was later interviewed at a competing firm and hired in their healthcare recruiting division.

Upon the burst of the tech bubble in the ’90s, the recruiting firm Mr. Taunton worked for downsized from 60 associates to 20 as a struggling economy results in few open job positions to fill. When one of the partners of his agency left the firm, Mr. Taunton quickly decided to make a shift to starting his company. Over his working experience, Mr. Taunton recognized the lack of diversity in executive candidate pools. He felt that his focus on presenting qualified and diverse candidates would serve as his niche for his firm. On September 1, 2001, Mr. Taunton founded The Royster Group.

Mr. Taunton described the difficulty of opening up his business just days before the tragic events of 9/11. With an economy on lockdown and an extreme sense of uncertainty surrounding all aspects of life, a new business venture proved to be very difficult. As Mr. Taunton navigated through the unfolding chaos, he put most of his focus on finding certifications and associates which would help ground his business and open the door for The Royster Group’s long-term success. Through this process, Mr. Taunton read about the services offered by the Atlanta MBDA Centers, which assisted clients in applying for business certifications and securing contracts. Mr. Taunton quickly reached out to the centers and has been a client ever since.

Working with the center for approximately 20 years, Mr. Taunton commented on how he has relied on the Atlanta MBDA Centers for various needs as his company has grown over time.

“When an entrepreneur starts a company, you don’t have the workforce or the capacity to help write proposals or help with the tools that are needed to evaluate pricing standpoints for different agencies. The centers were a huge piece of my process from the start. Also, from the operations side, I established systems that led to a more developed structure as we grew. As a result, I could focus on larger scale projects and contracts.” Ken Taunton

Mr. Taunton spoke about how recently the Centers, particularly, helped The Royster Group secure a spot as one of 36 companies to participate in a $7.5 billion government contract with the Defense Health Agency.  This fantastic opportunity for the company marks just one of the many successes The Royster Group has experienced as of late. This past year, The Royster Group achieved $22 million in revenue as they have been focusing primarily on recruiting healthcare providers for government agencies across the country. Holding firm to the ultimate vision of saving lives and eradicating unemployment, The Royster Group operates on its core values of customer service, integrity, teamwork, accountability, and respect.

To learn more about The Royster Group, please visit their website and LinkedIn page.

Georgia Tech’s Custom Career Portal

This week, will be the final part of our Georgia Tech resource series specifically focusing on the Georgia Tech Career Center, but do not worry, our following articles will continue to explore other opportunities offered by various groups and centers at Georgia Tech. To close out our Career Center segments, we are emphasizing the main tool that employers can utilize when recruiting Georgia Tech students, CareerBuzz.

What is Career Buzz?

CareerBuzz is Georgia Tech’s specific online career portal open to current students, alumni, faculty, and employers. Similar to other hiring platforms, CareerBuzz allows employers to create an online employer profile where they can upload open job opportunities. These employer profiles will be visible to Georgia Tech students and alumni, and they describe your company’s industry, size, and location. Creating a detailed employer profile is a great way to connect with students who might not have heard of your group or visited your company at a career fair.

After creating an employer profile, you have the capability of uploading open positions onto the platform which students can find through independent searches. For example, if your group is looking to hire an intern for Human Resources during the next academic semester period, Georgia Tech undergraduates majoring in Business Administration will come across your job posting if they search for Human Resource related positions as well. In contrast with other online job boards, CareerBuzz will allow you to customize the job listing for specific Georgia Tech majors, degree types (undergraduate, graduate, or alumni), and years in school (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior). These unique features make recruiting students significantly easier if your group is targeting a specific age range of students.

How to Access CareerBuzz?

First make sure to visit the Georgia Tech Career Center page and read the previous articles in our series to learn more about the various resources available to employers engaging with Georgia Tech. Then follow the steps listed below from the Career Center:

Georgia Tech uses CareerBuzz to manage all of its job, internship, co-op postings, and on-campus interviews.

To ensure all students and recent alumni within 2 years of graduation have access to all job postings we ask that employer use our FREE online job posting and management system (CareerBuzz).

Step one is to set-up your account and employer profile on Careerbuzz.

New users should log on to CareerBuzz and click on “New Employer Registration.”

Returning users can log on to CareerBuzz with their username and password.

After you have created an account, you will receive an approval message with your log-in information within 48 hours, at which time you can post a job.

Step two is to create your job posting.  Log into your Carerbuzz account.  Under the “My Quicklinks toolbar on the right select “Create a New Job Posting.”

If you are interested in posting a job and/or internship or co-op, and HOLDING INTERVIEWS ON CAMPUS please go to our On-Campus Recruiting tab for additional information.

Whether your company is looking to hire a next round of student workers, or your group is attempting to start a brand new internship or co-op program, CareerBuzz is an easy place to begin. By posting your jobs on CareerBuzz, you are guaranteed to tap into a network of Georgia Tech students eager to gain valuable work experience and contribute to your company’s overall mission.