Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Ames.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jeremy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a bit of an odd duck, and perfectly fine with that. My prep for entrepreneurship started 6 months into my career. As a 22 year old, fresh out of college, I maneuvered my way, using Spanish fluency, into an international consulting role at MAXIMUS. Traveling the world to places like Buenos Aires and Cairo as a green Research Assistant…that’s the ultimate prep for running a company. When you work with hospital directors, seasoned technologists and CEO’s at that age, you need to do your homework and think on your feet.
Flash forward about 13 years, and I’d fine-tuned my business and technical chops. I managed a help desk at a telecom (LCC), learned even more about technology and employer services at Fidelity, and even mixed in some brief work with an IT security startup in Barcelona. Most importantly, I learned HR Technology systems and their implementation at NuView. Using my MBA and desire to get closer to clients and the overall industry, it was time to start my company.
I’m always striving to do things better, more efficiently. I was Process Lead at Fidelity and then at NuView I was consistently trying to improve their processes, to the point of being called a “cowboy” by my manager. Hence, my company’s name, when I started it in 2010, was Gaucho Group, after the South American cowboy. We later rebranded as Hive Tech in 2014.
The move to start my own company, in many ways has been a blessing. I did get closer to my clients, and we’ve had over 100 of them in 7+ years. My favorites are the amazing non-profits like Greenpeace and Mercy Corps. I’ve also loved the commercially known clients like White Castle and SharkNinja. What do we do for them? We find, implement and enhance their people management (often called HR, but I’m trying to transform that term) systems. We break it down into 3 phases – new, now, next – and all our work falls into one of those buckets. Our clients service their employees better so that they can do better work for their clients.
Beyond working with all the great Hive Tech team members, I’ve had the good fortune of working with executives around the world. 2 weeks ago I was on calls with 2 global clients, and I tallied the countries I’d spoken to on conference calls – 34 in one day. My mission of getting in front of the industry has been a success, sitting on boards and expertise panels of associations like IHRIM and SHRM, speaking at dozens of conferences. But there’s more to do, more of an impact to make on driving forward the future of work.
Entrepreneurship is tough. Sometimes you take risks that don’t pay off, which happened to us in 2014, but we survived. Sometimes you make sacrifices in favor of your employees, and almost always you work from vacation. Sometimes your friend asks you, “is anyone even working now to know if you’re working” and you have to remind them that the question doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is always yours, the payroll is always yours to meet even in tough times.
But, in the end it’s rewarding as all hell. I’m an odd duck because I try to do all that and be a person. I still play sports, I’ve written a novel, I’m a music journalist and I’m a husband and father.
I’ll keep working for my clients, my employees, and for me. It’s what I do and I’m enjoying it.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never entirely smooth. We took a risk trying to get into a new service line, and it failed. But then we’ve tried several others and been successful. Sometimes employees excel, and other times they mess up. You learn that not all competitors are copecetic – some will poach your employees, some will reneg on deals. But you figure out ways to succeed in spite of the obstacles…every incident is a learning experience.
Hive Tech HR – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We find, implement and enhance their people management systems. I’m most proud of the impact we’ve had on 100+ companies and dozens of software vendors we’ve worked with. We are known for being industry experts – the most knowledgeable that are out there. Evidence of that? We are often asked to advised investors on trends, which vendors are doing better than others. If people trust us with their money, then of course clients trust us with their systems.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Actually, it happened a few weeks ago and I posted on LinkedIn about it. It was the start of the week and I was thinking about all the things we’d be doing. I realized that week alone we were about to 1) conduct a global technology summit in Alabama 2) kickoff a global implementation in DC 3) attend and cover a conference in New Orleans (NACE), 4) run a global company’s payroll in Boston 5) coordinate a dozen demos for multiple vendors/clients 6) bring a system live in the British Virgin Islands and 7) push forward a partnership with a vendor in Ireland…among many other things. It made me realize the impact we were making.