We’re kicking off 2017 with our interview with Bill Neill, Chief Strategy Officer for the recently launched Carex Consulting Group. Carex provides enterprise staffing solutions for startups to large-size companies specializing in health tech, project management, and information technology.
Tell us a little bit about Carex Consulting Group, what made you decide to launch it, and how it’s different from other staffing firms.
Carex was launched just recently, in December 2016, by myself, Mike Heller, and Rachel Neill. Rachel and I both worked most recently as an executive and consultant, respectively, at Nordic Consulting, and Mike was most recently the VP of Information Technology at Data Dimensions in Janesville.
We founded Carex because we saw a gap in staffing in the healthcare market around health tech, project management, and IT. There are other staffing firms in town that can find you an adequate implementation manager, for example, but as an employer, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time explaining the various intricacies around health tech and healthcare, as well as industry-specific standards and regulations around things like HL7, HIPAA, and cloud-based interfaces. We understand this industry and the talent side of the equation very well and have worked in it as employers and consultants for many years, so we can pull in talent specific to your business model and help shorten that ramp-up period of getting a new employee or consultant on board.
We also offer a more transparent business model than most staffing firms, which tend to have this very opaque system where they get the customer to pay as much as possible and pay the employee or consultant as little as possible. For consulting, Carex takes 1/3 of the bill rate and for full-time placement we take 20% of first year salary. That’s less expensive than the standard for this industry, but it’s something we can offer thanks to our specific backgrounds, expertise, and lean management strategy. Combined with finding talent that is tailored to their needs, our lower pricing structure helps us create a better partnership with our clients.
Why is Madison the ideal home for Carex, and what has the response been like to your business so far?
Madison has an incredible talent pool when it comes to health tech, project management, and IT. There’s a wealth of people here with those skill sets, and we thought there was an opportunity to build a diverse and talented ecosystem for healthcare here. And there are many great healthcare companies here looking for talent.
Our plan was to concentrate on servicing Madison and working with the talent here, and then phase two was going to be to find other skill hubs around the country and start doing something similar there. But in addition to working with clients in Madison, we already have clients in Milwaukee and Chicago, and we just signed a client on the east coast. I think that speaks to the need for us to own the talent side of health tech—it’s clearly a niche that’s underserved. We also anticipated we’d have more demand for consultants, but we’ve been surprised by the need for full-time talent. It’s all grown very organically, almost entirely by referral.
What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in our community?
I’d like for Madison to tie into the talent base here more by providing more opportunities for things like joint ventures, joint tech councils, and community forums. I’m originally from the San Francisco area and witnessed the tech boom of Silicon Valley right outside my back door. Part of that boom was the free flow of ideas—sharing those ideas and morphing them. There are so many bright people here with great ideas, but not all of them are extroverts who are going to share these ideas without the help of some mechanism or forum to do it. There’s great potential for expansion here in Madison, but we also need more of the big players to develop innovation and venture arms to foster this more open ecosystem.
Specific to the healthcare industry, there’s this very “vogue” notion of non-competes, so I also think we need less restrictive non-competes to help make this flow and sharing of ideas possible. When you look at a company like Salesforce, which is very ecosystem-driven and wants everyone to buy their platform and know how it works, it’s a 180 from what some of the vendors are doing, where they want you to purchase their tightly controlled platform and use it in a very specific manner. I think talent flow is a factor of that business model. The good news is that the healthcare industry is still booming and the talent of people is growing along with it. It’s an employee-friendly market and we’re seeing more healthcare companies courting talent. That’s been a big “aha” for me, and I think it can only help create an environment of more sharing and openness.
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