Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I-Cubed hires more than 45 and our interview with the CEO

CED Member I-Cubed, an enterprise systems integrator specializing in PLM consulting, data migration and enterprise web and application services, today shared positive news with CED, announcing the addition of more than 45 new employees in 2012.

“Through a global recession, I-Cubed has shown 30 percent annual revenue growth since 2007,” said Donald A. Thompson, President and CEO of I-Cubed, in a statement. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but it’s just the beginning.”

According to I-Cubed, which stands for "integrated industrial information," hiring has taken place in all departments, including positions in management, technical consulting and operations.

The CED Team caught up with Thompson this afternoon for a quick Q & A. Here's what we learned about I-Cubed's growth plans and the company.

CED Team: Tell us about the early days of I-Cubed compared to where you are now. 

Thompson: I-Cubed was founded in 1984 by Grant Williard, a grad student at North Carolina State University. Grant created a two dimensional design tool that brought the functionality of expensive mainframe CAD programs to the PC.

Over the years and through many turns, we’ve expanded our services to include data migration, product lifecycle management (PLM) consulting and enterprise web and application services. The common thread between all of these areas is our unique understanding of systems integration and how data is managed. We’re sought after in these areas, helping some of the largest companies in the world with their most complex and challenging projects.

CED Team: It's our understanding that I-Cubed has never sought investment. Is this true?

Thompson: We have not raised any outside capital. We’ve grown methodically and organically, funding efforts through our own profitability. You could say that being bootstrapped is a part of who we are. It keeps us grounded and always focused on delivering for our clients and partners. It also allows us to remain agile, making strategic decisions when we recognize business and hiring opportunities. The development of our enterprise web services team is a good example. We believe there is tremendous opportunity in this space and are quickly scaling our team and infrastructure to keep up with client demand.

CED Team: You'd mentioned in your statement earlier today that I-Cubed's annual growth rate has been 30% since 2007. To what do you attribute the success of the company, especially given the recession?

Thompson: In 2005, Adobe Systems acquired DRM technology developed by I-Cubed. At this time, 15 or so employees chose to purchase the remaining portion of the business. As you can imagine, this was a critical point in the history of the company and honestly, we just decided as a group that we were going to succeed independent of any external factors, including the recession. Failure wasn’t ever an option.

We’ve always put the relationship we have with our customers first. A lot of companies say that they’re customer-focused, but we live that philosophy day-in and day-out. Based on the trust we built over the years, our clients and partners stood by us when times got tough. 

The final piece is our team. Some of the most talented people in the world within their respective industries work for I-Cubed. With this expertise, we’re never afraid to take on a challenging project, which is a powerful mindset and a competitive advantage.

CED Team: You've hired 45 employees in 2012. That's commendable. What are your plans for expansion in 2013?

Thompson: We currently have more than 90 employees and are actively seeking to fill more than 10 other roles. A full list of openings is available through our website. We have a range of needs from technical consultants to business development and marketing roles. 

2013 will include additional hiring. What we’ve accomplished over the past several years is just the beginning and adding all-star talent will remain a key component in bringing these plans to life.

CED Team: How important is company culture? What's it like to work at I-Cubed?

Thompson: It’s fast paced, which is not for everyone. We’ve found that high performing individuals thrive in this environment, though. It provides them with many opportunities to grow professionally and to work on challenging projects and with cutting-edge technology.

We also believe in candid feedback and open, honest communication. This spans the organization—regardless of your position, the best idea will always win. This empowers our employees and pushes us to always bring our best thinking to the table.

Thompson has worked at I-Cubed for more than 15 years, taking over as President and CEO in 2006. Grant Williard has a new company, Joulebug, who was a CED Tech Venture Conference 2012 Demo Room Company and was profiled by CED and Rick Smith of WRAL Tech Wire. 

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