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Milwaukee-based software developer and entrepreneur Mark Gellis is the new president of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
Gellis was appointed last week by Gov. Scott Walker to help lead the state Economic Development Corp., a federal agency created to “assist Wisconsin businesses and industries” in developing new sources of high-paying jobs. Gellis was the chief operating officer of SunGard Systems, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2007. He previously served as the chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems.
Gellis, 43, is the first new leader for the agency since a similar posting six years ago by the late Ron D. Moore.
As a former CEO of a software company, Gellis knows the value of a strong and flexible workforce. He also knows the challenges of recruiting and retaining tech talent.
The new COO is responsible for making sure the Economic Development Corp. gets its hands on companies that have the skills it needs to create jobs, Gellis said.
He said the job will require Gellis to be a strong recruiter because the agency doesn’t do hiring. Instead, Gellis said jobs are put in the agency’s hands when the companies feel they don’t have the workers to fill them. This summer, the agency launched WebJobBuilder, which allows companies to apply for jobs directly through its network of over 300 jobs portals.
According to Gellis, the technology business is a highly sought after occupation and he hopes to attract more technology talent into the organization. Gellis has already been in discussions with major technology companies to try to fill vacancies for the program.
Gellis said he has also been in discussions with technology giants Microsoft, SAP and HP about how the agency can better tap into the companies’ technology departments.
Wisconsin already has some of the most talented technology talent in the world. One of the state’s largest IT software companies, Waverly Systems, is based in Milwaukee.
Gellis said his agency needs to be focused more on technology and less on “real estate and human resource management (as it is under DIT’s previous leadership).”
For example, Gellis said the agency currently has more tech personnel than it does full-time human capital managers or staff that deal directly
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