The Innov865 Alliance is excited to welcome CGI, a global information technology (IT) and business consulting services firm, to Knoxville. In February 2021, CGI announced it would open a new IT delivery center with plans to hire 300 local professionals over the next five years. CGI is also the sponsor of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Three Roots Capital’s Raising and Rising hybrid event, held Wednesday, October 6 during Innov865 Week 2021.
William LaBar, Vice President of Consulting Services at CGI, led the site selection process and initial launch of the company’s Knoxville facility. Recently, CGI welcomed two Directors to run its newest location: Lori Ortega and Matthew Kittrell. Ortega brings a wealth of experience after working for CGI for many years. She is also familiar with the area as her extended family is from Sevier County. Kittrell is new to the CGI team and is a Knoxville native who is looking forward to using his expertise to support CGI in the community he loves.
“I’m excited that we have Lori and Matt on the team now to help launch the center. Having someone who has family roots in Knoxville and another who is a native to the area to lead our presence there is a big milestone,” says LaBar.
When looking for new locations, CGI considers two main factors: talent and quality of life. Ideally, communities have a level of “stickiness” to them that keeps locals and outsiders coming back to them time and time again. For Knoxville, CGI was drawn to its size, low cost of living, natural amenities and high-quality professionals and students.
“Knoxville is a unique size: not a really large or small city, and it has a strong business ecosystem that provides experienced talent,” said Kittrell. “It also has the University of Tennessee and other secondary educational pipelines and universities nearby that we can recruit from for a talent pipeline. CGI is excited about the center of gravity Knoxville has for people who want to create a career and a family.”
One of CGI’s core values is intrapreneurship. While not a startup company, CGI creates a culture that encourages innovation and startup-minded thinking. From giving employees autonomy to come up with business plans for new projects to an innovation program for corporate social responsibility, CGI is committed to fostering entrepreneurial ideas. It was this value of intrapreneurship that initially led CGI to get involved with the Innov865 Alliance.
“That core value manifests itself throughout the company in a number of different ways,” says Ortega. “What the Innov865 Alliance is doing locally within the Knoxville community is something that we consider core to our DNA as a company, which is creating a platform through which you can explore new ideas and innovate and make the world a better place.”
From sponsoring KEC’s Raising and Rising event during Innov865 Week 2021 to becoming more involved in Knoxville’s other entrepreneurial ventures, CGI sees its investments in the community as an extension of its company culture.
“If we have the opportunity to take some of the expertise we have at CGI and lend that to entrepreneurs in the technology space in Knoxville, we’d love to help them grow, succeed and create new companies locally,” says LaBar. “Also, there is a really good possibility that some of the ideas that come out of the startup ecosystem in Knoxville will be really useful to our clients. So, if we could help a small business grow in Knoxville, we’d love to find opportunities to do that too.”
As part of its expansion into Knoxville, CGI is also actively hiring software developers, business analysts and other IT professionals! Visit their website to learn more about new job opportunities.
“I want CGI to be involved in supporting the startup ecosystem in Knoxville because our success in the community is not just defined in our minds about how fast we grow or in creating 300 jobs,” says Kittrell. “It’s about seeing an entire ecosystem of technology and innovation continue to grow in Knoxville around us.”
Want to hear more about CGI? They are the sponsor of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Three Roots Capital’s Innov865 Week 2021 event, Raising and Rising, on Wednesday, October 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET! Register to attend the hybrid event here.