Anyone that has spent time in Ascent Innovation has probably crossed paths with Jeremy Thomas.
“J.T.” as many call him, has spent the past 20 years recruiting and mentoring students of South Dakota Mines.
The South Dakota Mines graduate didn’t venture far from campus to begin his career. J.T. became employed at CHR Solutions located in the Black Hills Business Development Center, now Ascent Innovation. He spent 16 years working at the telecommunications company before moving down the hall to Innovative Systems.
J.T. is now in his fourth year as Software Manager at Innovative Systems Rapid City office. He is tasked with recruiting up to 12 Hardrockers each spring from the South Dakota Mines Science Department. The interns are mostly juniors and seniors, and some high achieving sophomores who "started programming in high school."
J.T. states that one of the “hardest problems in software is having the right people.” He appreciates when an intern returns to work a second year, but understands when a student wants to try something else.
Interns at Innovative Systems are developing software for a program called eLation™. The program runs financial, billing and business operations used by telephone and mid-sized utility companies throughout the country. Interns gain knowledge, school credits and payment for their time at Innovative Systems.
The internship works as a recruiting pipeline for the Mitchell-based company. While he has watched interns find jobs with Microsoft, Amazon, and Garmin, he tries to find students that want to stay in South Dakota.
J.T. takes pride in mentoring the younger generation. He goes the extra step to help them understand company culture, benefits and even how to negotiate a salary as they begin their careers.
“I want to help that individual. It’s not always for the company.”