When CHR Solutions, a full-service software company based in Houston, Texas, was looking to expand, Rapid City was a natural fit. The opportunity to take advantage of what Lead DevOps Developer Ryan Quasney calls a “talent pipeline” of students from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology was a major factor in the decision.
“Being on campus has helped a lot in recruiting interns,” Ryan says. “All of our current full-time employees in the Rapid City office are SDSMT graduates.” CHR Solutions, located in the Ascent Innovation incubator on campus, currently employs four full-time software developers and four student interns, a number that remains steady year-round. Interns work 15 hours a week during the school year; over the summer, they are involved in more in-depth proof-of-concept projects based on their strengths and long-term career interests.
CHR Solutions is a leading provider of BSS/OSS (business and operations support systems) software solutions—the main focus at the Rapid City office. Other services include engineering, managed IT, and network operations. A 2018 foray into cybersecurity management services has opened up additional business opportunities. Outside of Houston headquarters and Rapid City, the company has locations in Sioux Falls and Mitchell, and an international office in Bangalore, India.
Ryan has witnessed first hand an increase in job opportunities for graduating students in Rapid City thanks to Ascent Innovation’s focus on promoting technology in western South Dakota. This is why he is such a proponent of the internship program; being on campus allows him to maintain a close relationship with the Computer Science department, which is where a majority of the Rapid City office’s hires come from. There are other benefits to working in the incubator, including the ability to build relationships with other tenants in the same field, such as Innovative Systems and OmniTech. “We, as a company, are exposed to a lot of the new innovations in the Rapid City economy that are making this an attractive location for new companies to come and invest in,” he says.
Ryan and his team are doing their part to help promote technology in Rapid City. They have helped create a user group of software professionals in the area and have organized several networking events designed to connect these individuals, providing them with an opportunity to socialize with like-minded peers. They plan to hold at least a couple of events every year and would like to eventually offer smaller, less formal get-togethers, as well.
With a steady stream of business, Ryan expects CHR Solutions to continue their relationship with SDSM&T and Ascent Innovation for the foreseeable future. Should they ever move, “Mitch will probably bring his trailer and help us load stuff up,” he says with a laugh. That’s a true testament to the support Ascent offers all their clients!
LEARN MORE: CHR Solutions, Inc.