Investor Spotlight: Velocity Resource Group
August 21st, 2019
Velocity Resource Group is the fastest way to find and hire talent. Since 2001, they have been delivering quality candidates with overnight speed. The VRG process supercharges your recruiting team with access to a more diverse talent pool, updated contact information, and pre-screened candidates ready to go.
John Fortino, co-founder and senior managing partner
John Fortino manages all of Velocity’s North American operations. Under his leadership Velocity has worked with over 2000 companies, including several Fortune500 organizations, since co-founding the company in 2001. Fortino has more than 20 years of experience in the staffing industry. Prior to founding Velocity, Fortino was a manager of Executive Search for Motorola.
We’re seeing many residents and companies moving to Tampa from other metro areas like Chicago and New York where the cost of living is much higher. You relocated your company’s headquarters to Tampa from Chicago a few years ago.
Why did you choose Tampa?
We initially evaluated four markets: Tampa, Nashville, TN, Austin, TX, and Charleston, SC. We were looking for a location for our headquarters that offered a more affordable tax rate, a great climate, was near the water, and not far from an international airport.
Out of all the cities we visited, the excitement and passion that the Tampa EDC displayed about the many new developments, projects and great changes planned for the city was unmatched. Their energy was contagious! We didn’t see the same enthusiasm in the other cities we explored.
Combine that with amazing weather, a great business atmosphere, and the beautiful beaches, there was something special to Tampa that was unlike the other cities. For us, it was more than just a business move; it was also a big lifestyle change and Tampa checked all the boxes.
What has your experience been like here so far?
Our experience has been amazing so far, we are happy to call Tampa our home. Everyone has been welcoming, helpful and willing to provide assistance to us. Other business and community leaders genuinely want to help in any capacity.
At first, the housing market here was less costly than Chicago but has steadily increased since our arrival. However, the overall cost of living in Tampa remains less than Chicago from a personal perspective.
From a business perspective, watching all the growth – seeing a constant stream of new companies and people moving to Tampa – has been an awesome experience and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
What do you see as strengths of Tampa’s workforce and talent pipeline?
A noteworthy strength of Tampa’s workforce and talent pipeline is the huge population of college students in the region. We have an incredible number of energetic young professionals continually coming out of school ready to work.
In our business, the elevated level of personal communication that is required can make it tough to find the right talent. But if you give these young professionals the right environment and offer a solid training program, it’s fun to watch them blossom and develop.
We’ve also seen an impressive amount of experienced professional talent in the area. Most of our new hires have been made locally and we’ve grown to build the best team we’ve ever had since being in Tampa!
What do you see as areas of opportunity?
Being located downtown, we have the challenges of heavier traffic and limited, more costly parking options. But in our perspective, it’s much better than it was in Chicago.
With Tampa continuing to emerge from under the radar, the strain of competition and demand in the talent pool will cause labor costs to rise in the long term. Again, Chicago labor costs were much higher, but I do see the steady increase already happening in this market.
Furthermore, housing costs near the downtown area are high and difficult for young professionals to manage. But the quality of life offered outweighs the negatives.
How does Velocity address some of these areas of opportunity?
We offer our employees a comprehensive benefit package that rivals or is better than most fortune 50 companies. Velocity Resource Group carries much of the financial burden, with a very low out of pocket cost for our employees and their families.
We’re also compensating our employees by subsidizing the high downtown parking costs, this also helps offset the larger cost of living near the downtown area.
We continue to seek out and hire both recent Tampa area graduates as well as experienced professionals and offer a number of robust training programs that build their professional skillsets to meet our criteria. We believe that teaching and mentoring our team to excel in their professional communication skills will be an asset for their entire career.
Why is it important for companies to invest in economic development?
When you look at the growth of the community that you live and work in, economic development provides the avenue for great schools, great parks & recreation, as well as restaurants and entertainment venues. As you continue to attract new companies to a city, the people and further development naturally follow.
The benefits of continued economic development are enormous in generating buzz for the local community. As evidenced by the increased quality of life that’s happened in Tampa with the development of the Riverwalk, Tampa has a robust marketplace where people are bringing their dollars to spend and contributing to an overall great place to live!
One of the biggest drivers in choosing Tampa as our new home was our experience with the Tampa EDC. We connected with them early in the process and their team treated us in a way that we didn’t experience anywhere else; they rolled out the red carpet for us and were awesome to work with.
We recognized how important it is and have made the decision to invest ourselves. As the business community continues to encourage economic development, we will be in the front row watching Tampa’s march towards world class status – attracting the best people and companies along the way.