QAT Global’s 20-Year Club

20 Year Club

QAT Global’s 20-Year Club

20 Year Club
Last Updated: October 10, 202326.3 min readCategories: News
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QAT Global’s 20-Year Club

Staff Retention and Engagement is at an Industry High at this IT Company

Here at QAT Global, we take great pride in our employees and their dedication and commitment to us. Any company can say they have a great staff and that they are treated well. We can prove it. The technology industry, specifically software companies, has the highest turnover rates out of any other major sector. At a whopping 13.2%, they are even higher than retail.

Many people would assume that working for a huge tech company like Google or Amazon would be a dream job maxed out with benefits! Sadly, those “dream” companies and many others in the technology sector have a median tenure of just 1 or 2 years.  The fact is that people working in this industry are high demand and are constantly trying to be poached and offered higher salaries. According to Forbes, software developers were getting up to 20 calls a day from headhunters back in 2016, and those weren’t even the ones in high-demand areas.

20 Year Club

Anke, our Principal Programmer Analyst, who celebrates her 15th anniversary with the company this year (2019), can vouch for how many offers she gets on a regular basis. In a recent discussion about the challenges in the industry, Anke commented that “Clients are constantly trying to hint at me working for them permanently.” Anke also brought up the fact that there is pressure to move around in the software industry and staying anywhere too long can be risky if they keep you in the same place since everything becomes outdated so quickly.

Julie Parsons, a member of our 20-year club, describes her experience here as “QAT is like nowhere else, you work with such a variety of different clients, industries, and contracts that it teaches you to expand your mindset and horizons. Over the years I have been able to see technology grow and change and have watched companies utilize it in different ways, QAT has pushed me to succeed with those changes.”

That is why what we have here at QAT Global is not only virtually unheard of in the industry today, but truly remarkable. Somehow, we managed to find the best of the best and have been able to hold on to them. For a little background information, we have 24 employees working at our headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Remember when you just read that the average tech employee leaves after two years? Here at QAT Global, we have six employees that have been here for over 20 years. That is 13.6% of the employees who work in the office! Not only that, but 31.8% of our US staff have been with us for over ten years. There are many others that are on track with those numbers as well. It’s not just a US phenomenon at QAT Global; our Brazil office also has impressive retention rates – 97.6% over a five year period.

When you look at the industry statistics, it is clear the odds are not in our favor for our talented specialists to stay with us and for this trend to continue. Yet, year after year they get offered opportunities and choose to stay. One thing all companies with high retention rates have in common is strong leadership. Our leadership groups here at QAT Global offer a corporate culture that is not forced; it is based on open communication, integrity, and respect. Chuck Snyder, a member of our 20-year club, described our culture as “One of respect and is a place where everyone’s opinions and ideas are sought and listened too.” We all see a clear vision and goals for the future, and everyone knows they play a key role in those goals becoming a reality.

One of the primary reasons employees chose to stay at QAT Global for so many years is the fact that they know their ideas and actions are valued and have a real impact on the company. Unlike larger corporations, were peoples voice gets drowned out and lost in the crowd, our employees know that their ideas are not only valued but encouraged! From the technology path we take to the clients we work with, our team has a voice in decisions large and small. The size of our business also enables our staff to grow their skills, be involved in many different pieces of the operation, and move into new roles over time. Throughout their careers at QAT Global, developers have transitioned from old technologies to new, see their career path progress from developer to architect or delivery manager, and had an active hand in shaping in the company’s offerings as new technologies have come along.

While the technology industry is known for wooing employees with benefits like playing video games in the office, in-office massages, and nap rooms, we take pride in giving our employees something much more valuable, their time.  Sure, we have our perks, like a wellness program, great benefits, and birthday treats, but those aren’t the reasons you stay at QAT Global. Our employees are not living out of our downtown office, nor are those who work remotely tied to their desks day and night, so they are not burnt out from being overworked. (Even after 20 years!) A key element of QAT Global’s company culture is a focus on our employees having a proper work-life balance. When you have long-term employees, you get the ability to build trust and know that everyone will get their work done, whether that is in the office or not. We know that our employees and their families must come first.

One word that continually came up after talking to our 20-year club members was autonomy. Our staff values the fact that they are not being watched over, because they know they don’t need to be. The level of trust and consideration that has been built cannot be found anywhere else.

Julie Parsons says it all “I want to do my best for QAT because they do their best for me.”

Members of Our 20-Year Club

Brent Hodgen 20-years of Excellent Service for QAT Global

Brent Hodgen 20 Years

Brent is our Human Resource Manager here at QAT Global and has played a vital role in our growth throughout his years with us. He has lived in Omaha, Nebraska for his entire life and attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He felt fortunate to be one of the few people who had a job lined up right out of college. Before starting at QAT Global, Brent worked at Acceptance Insurance Company in the HR department with a focus on information technology. Brent did not expect to leave Acceptance, but like many others, found that the people you meet in college can open unexpected doors later on.

You see, Brent went to college with a former QAT Global employee Kevin. The two bonded over a horrible class they had to take with an even worse teacher. After passing the dreadful class and graduating they bumped into each other a few years later, and that began the process of recruiting Brent to join our team. There was an account manager position open that Kevin was determined for Brent to fill. Brent can’t help but smile when he talks about it because he said at the time it felt like he was in the Jerry Maguire movie being recruited by a sports agent. After a few polite declines, Kevin finally got Brent to come to the office and talk in person. He went in thinking he would decline for a final time and ended up walking out hours later after a great conversation with a new job. Brent laughed when telling the story and said Kevin ended the meeting showing him what office he would be in and said if he had started with that, they might not have been there so long.

Brent had experience in recruiting before he joined our team, but never imaged how much he would learn and progress in the HR field. Since he joined when QAT Global was still a new company, Brent started the whole HR department here. He wrote the handbook, put together benefits packages, and grew relationships with vendors he could rely on. Even though he had experience recruiting it was an entirely different job for him. Previously, he had recruited for a single company that he knew inside and out. At QAT Global, he recruits for both our internal staff and for all our various clients. It was an immense learning curve in the beginning, but Brent could not be more thankful for how much he has grown. “Over the years I have learned the IT language and how to communicate properly with people from any industry to find out what their real needs are.” Over the years, Brent has mastered being able to read people and knows how to fill in the pieces of the puzzle our clients are trying to solve. From companies that just have a general list of what they are looking for to government agencies who need every box checked off before they even consider that person, Brent knows how to find them.

There are many reasons why Brent has stuck around for so many years and does not plan on leaving. One thing he values about QAT Global is the level of trust and autonomy. “The people here know my job is very challenging at times; people aren’t always completely upfront with the middle man, who like to lie to the middle man, while I am just trying to make the best connections for our clients. QAT Global trusts the process and values that I know how to do my job and that I want to do it well for them.” He loves that he is not being watched over, but he is motivated to perform well, he truly wants to succeed and has never lost that feeling over 20 years.

When someone asks the HR manager what the company culture is like you expect to get a textbook answer that has been said 100x over. That is certainly not the case with Brent; even I was surprised by what he said. “We do not have any certain culture here. We do not go along with fads that try to get people to stay in the office longer. Everyone is working with different clients and projects, so no one culture is pushed onto people. No one here tries to be the same because we do not work on the same things.” Brent went on to say that everyone here has grown close from the gatherings we have and celebrating the small things like birthdays. It is truly an honest environment of adults who know each other for who they are, not based on company culture.

Another reason why Brent has never wanted to leave is due to the great flexibility and balance he gets here. Brent appreciates the fact that he can pick his son up from school every day, go to sporting events, and be active in his children’s lives. He can do those things because he has built trust and a routine that works for him. Even if it is not always in the office, Brent puts in a lot of work and that does not go unnoticed. The flexibility of being able to work from home lets him communicate better with our clients in different time zones as well. It is a give-and-take relationship that works in the best interest of everyone.

Working in HR has allowed Brent to build countless relationships and he has never wanted to move to any other department. One of Brent’s favorite things about his job is that he knows how everyone began their journey at QAT Global and has different memories with every person here. He takes great pride in the valuable employees he has helped to bring to the QAT Global team and loves the memories he has of working with such a variety of different people. To this day, the record for the longest time Brent has spent recruiting someone stands holds at 13 years, staying in touch definitely antly worked out in our favor. Whether he’s teaching someone he recruited how to drive, putting together office donations, or working with clients across the country, Brent has been an invaluable member of the QAT Global team for the last twenty years. We thank him for his twenty years of service and look forward to all the years to come.

Randy Parsons 20 years of excellent service at QAT Global

Randy Parsons 20 Year Club

Randy is the Project Manager here at QAT Global and just so happens to be the very first employee that Ken and Rollie, the founders, brought onto the team. He did not plan on falling into the technology industry. Randy’s first job after graduating from college was as a chemical engineer at the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD). While working at OPPD, he started getting into the IT side of engineering since there was no one there to focus on it. At the time, Ken was working at OPPD as well and noticed the interest and talent Randy had in the IT department. In 1996 after Ken had left OPPD to start QAT Global, Randy was recruited as the first employee, and his story began.

There is a saying that talented people are attracted to other talented people with great integrity, that is definitely the case with Randy. After about a year of working at QAT Global Randy convinced his girlfriend, Julie, to join the team as a developer. Julie has been an invaluable employee to QAT Global and is still working here today. By 1997, Randy and Julie were married, and they have driven to work together every day since. They have been a prime example of being able to work together in perfect harmony for over 20 years.

Like most employees, Randy’s role has changed and grown throughout the years. He started out in a data analyst position where he worked on internal products to be built and sold, security models, and workflow models. During his early years, he was also a project engineer and focused on staff augmentation. When you are the first employee to any business, you witness how the company grows within its industry, as well as staff coming and going. As technology changed and members of the team left, Randy stepped in and really helped to streamline everything. During that shift, he realized that he enjoyed doing that so much he moved out of his project engineering position and became the full-time project manager that he is today.

As the project manager, Randy handles all the office management tasks such as payroll, invoices, and all government-regulated paperwork. He is also in charge of the office, network, and phone infrastructures to keep communication running smoothly. Randy commented that being able to work in different areas of the company has helped him to grow a lot, but that he has found exactly where he wants to be and could never see himself leaving his current position or QAT Global. Randy loves that as a project manager he can help anywhere he is needed, “it is never boring here even after 20+ years”.

20 Year Club

“There is something special about working for a smaller company; I have gotten the chance to touch so many pieces of the puzzle.” That is one of the numerous reasons why Randy has chosen to stay with the company for over 20 years. The variety of work that is offered here keeps things fresh and new and enables our staff to get excited about their work. When talking to Randy, he said: “QAT sets the standards for a great work-life balance.” He loves that his position is not overly demanding and that it offers great flexibility in the sense that he can work and fix a lot of problems from almost anywhere (including the middle of the ocean). Randy talks about how trusting the culture is, and that it is refreshing never having to worry about anyone not getting their work done.

Having that level of trust is an invaluable quality for employees like Randy who have a passion for traveling. Randy and Julie have fallen in love with the warm weather and the sightseeing that comes with cruises. They try to make it a point to go at least twice a year and are already getting pre-vacation excitement for their next adventure around Europe this September. From day one, Randy has been a huge factor in QAT Global’s success. His attention to detail, hardworking mentality and commitment to this company could never be replaced or duplicated. We thank him for his twenty years of service and look forward to all the years to come.

Lauren Holden 20 Years of Excellent Service at QAT Global

Lauren Holden

Lauren is a Technical Consultant here at QAT Global and has been building relationships since day one. She grew up in Warren, Ohio, and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after marrying her husband, Vern. Lauren worked at a natural gas utility company for five years before making her move to Omaha and started a new career at First National Bank. It was not long before Lauren joined the QAT Global team, but she still worked hand in hand with First National Bank as their consultant, showing the importance of building close relationships and holding onto those ties.

It is unique for an IT consulting company to work continuously with a client for as long as QAT Global did with First National Bank, but what’s even more unique is the amount of time Lauren remained as a consultant and team lead on the account. Anywhere from six to twelve months is a typical lifespan for most technology consults working with a company on a contractual basis today. Typically, they do not last much longer than two years unless both parties involved are extremely happy. Most consultants like Lauren jump around from client to client throughout their careers. Someone who has been in the industry for 20 years, like Lauren, would have usually worked with over 20 clients. Lauren’s case is far from your average consultant; she has dedicated her time to only three clients and worked for First National Bank for over 18 years. That kind of contract and relationship is almost unheard of and shows the dedication and commitment we have to our clients here at QAT Global.

With QAT Global and First National Bank located just a few blocks apart in downtown Omaha, Lauren had the opportunity to serve both companies with ease. Lauren admits this is not typical for her field and it is also not the typical experience of most office employees. She loves that her job has not been “what’s expected;” it is special to her and her values. Lauren loves what she has built “I feel like I have two work families, my QAT Global family of course, but after working with First National for 18 years, I have another work family there too.”

When Lauren wasn’t bouncing between offices, she led a team of two other employees. She has lead teams of up to nine people in the past, so balance is one of her many valued skills. Even though Lauren’s official title was Technical Consultant, she had a wide variety of responsibilities from being the delivery manager on her accounts to programming. Daily tasks for Lauren included anything from running tests, coding, writing documentation, and doing analysis in addition to managing the account.

Lauren has never been short on having things to do and loves that she can have her hands on so many different pieces; she is committed to seeing QAT Global and her clients succeed. Recently, she joined our team of Delivery Managers and now works side by side with many of our other 20-year club members in QAT Global’s Omaha office.

While some people like to completely separate work and being at home, Lauren loves that her job allows her some flexibility to choose where and when she works since she’s a night owl and that is when she works best at times. Lauren laughed as she explained that she doesn’t have any hobbies like “normal people,” but that is why she is so valued at QAT Global, and by her clients, she is genuinely dedicated and a rare employee to have.

When Lauren is not managing accounts or coding, she is embracing her love of travel. There is a spark in her eyes, and she can’t help but smile ear to ear when she talks about her memories of traveling to Europe, China, Denmark, Finland, Russia, and Sweden. She has traveled extensively across the United States too, but Lauren prefers to travel abroad on each new trip she takes. Out of all the places she has visited, Lauren cherished her time in London the most. She said if she had to choose anywhere in the world to live London would be a clear choice for her.

Over the past 20 years, Lauren has been an invaluable part of our operation and has built lifelong relationships with our clients here in Omaha. Everyone who knows or has worked with Lauren has nothing but praise to offer because of her tireless work efforts and her complete commitment and love for QAT Global. We thank her for her twenty years of service and look to all the years to come.

Chuck Snyder 20 Years

Chuck Snyder’s 20 years of service at QAT Global

Chuck signed on with QAT as a part of the first sales team in 1996 has been with us ever since. He grew up in Nebraska City then attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Shortly after graduating from UNL, Chuck and his high school sweetheart Lisa relocated to Des Moines Iowa Des Moines was not only one of Chuck’s favorite cities to live in, but where he began his journey with QAT Global. The early years were focused more on mainframe-related needs and of course, the preparation for “all things Y2K”. We were recruiting talent like crazy from wherever we could find it. From coast to coast, India, Brazil, and Mexico. Some of those guys are Senior Managers still at QAT today.

In 2005, Check and his family made the decision to move back to Nebraska and the home office in Omaha. As a Director of Business Development, Chuck plays a crucial role in generating new business for the company. He helps to connect our current and future clients with the custom software development services QAT provides. He finds balance in managing our existing accounts with being the person his customers call as needs arise.

Chuck’s field is filled with constant change. QAT is driven to stay a step ahead. Today, Chuck is focused on communicating all of the solutions QAT Global’s nearshore centers in Brazil and Costa Rica are providing its current and prospective customers. My job is to be that first point of contact to a prospective client. To articulate the expertise of QAT, establish that relationship whereby the customer eventually chooses to partner with QAT.

When you are with a company for as long as Chuck has been, you get the opportunity to see it grow. QAT Global’s 25th anniversary will be coming up this next year. Chuck has been part of almost all of it. He discussed how, as times have changed in the technology industry, the fast pace environment has pushed him to grow and change with it. He appreciates that as the company has grown, more people to have come to depend on him, and he has more responsibility that affects others on his team. Chuck commented that the stakes are continually growing and its never a dull day even after 20 years.

When asked why he has stayed at QAT Global for so many years, Chuck considered and then said, “if you leave a job, it is for one of two reasons. You either feel like there is something better out there, or you are running away from something.” In his 20 years of working here, Chuck has never felt either really applied to him, so he has stayed the course, believing in the company and his role in it. He described the Omaha office as a family atmosphere, where he has gained lifelong friendships.

He describes the culture here as a place where everyone’s opinions and ideas are sought and listened too.” Chuck appreciates that from the beginning, he had had the opportunity to be a part of the company’s success over the years.

He described a core value of the culture as the right balance of autonomy and then too, working together as a team. There is a level of trust and independence that balances out the whole company.

From those early days of working from a tiny desk in his dining room in Des Moines to the downtown Omaha headquarters today, Chuck feels extremely blessed for what has been a wonderful career.

Julie Parsons 20 years of service at QAT Global

Julie is our Delivery Manager here at QAT Global but has served in a variety of vital roles over her 20 years of Service. She grew up in Council Bluffs Iowa but has spent most of her life across the border in Omaha Nebraska. Julie’s start with QAT Global is unlike anyone else’s story. She went to college at Iowa Western where she met Ken Bass and Rollie Stephens, the future founders of QAT Global. After graduating, Julie and Ken both started working at Lozier. Julie and Ken then took positions at OPPD where Rollie later came to work, until Ken and Rollie left to start the works of what would become QAT Global. Julie eventually left OPPD and joined the QAT Global team in February of 1997.

Julies story emanates the idea never to underestimate who you meet in college. “I was always confident in my choice to start at QAT Global because from the beginning I knew I could trust the leadership and valued how they treated people.” Not only did she know the founders, at the time Julie was dating QAT Global’s first employee, Randy. Little did she know that 1997 would be the year she would start a new career path and get married. Julie and Randy work in harmony like no other couple. She says she loves that she gets to drive to work and eat lunch with her best friend every day, but otherwise, their jobs don’t cross paths during the day as they work on separate projects.

Julie Parsons 20 Year Club

Almost no employee at QAT Global has stayed in the same position throughout their time with the company, as the company grows so do our employees within. Julie started as a developer here, but quickly found her passion for leading and motivating teams. She moved into the Project Manager role, which lead into her current position as Delivery Manager. Day to day Julie makes sure that the projects she’s in charge of are on track and stay on target with our client’s goals and deadlines, she is also the liaison and main contact for those clients. Some may think that after 20 years of working in the same office you fall into a boring routine and get comfortable. Julie could not disagree with that more, “I always want something new, if you don’t like change, then QAT is not for you.”

When Julie was asked if she has grown and progressed at QAT Global over the years, her face lit up, and her passion was obvious. “QAT is like nowhere else; you work with such a variety of different clients, industries, and contracts that it teaches you to expand your mindset and horizons. Over the years I have been able to see technology grow and change and have watched companies utilize it in different ways, QAT has pushed me to succeed with those changes.” Julie could talk about how much has changed in technology and this industry for hours. She explained that she lives for the challenges that QAT Global brings her and loves coming to work ready to learn and tackle something new. Challenges and learning curves are expected in the technology industry, but something that is not expected and quite rare is the teamwork that we have here at QAT Global. When Julie described the challenges she faces at work, she immediately brought up the amazing people she works with. She commented, “There is this support system that is ingrained in everyone here, we all know that if we hit a bump in the road, we can turn to each other, it is just instilled here that one person’s success is your success too.”

Something unique about Julie’s job is that she is also working very closely with our Brazil and Costa Rica offshore locations in her role as Delivery Manager. So not only has she grown to have a work family in Omaha but a family overseas as well. Julie barely describes our offshore office as far away. She said she feels so connected with them and is in such constant communication, that it feels like they are on the other end of the hallway, instead of partway around the world.

One of the main reasons why Julie has stayed for 20 years and could never see herself being anywhere else is because of the culture and work-life balance she gets from QAT Global. Julie described it as a place of open communication and trust. She knows that if she is faced with a challenge, she can go to the leaders here to work out a solution, she has never felt like she was left on her own. “There is a perfect balance of hard work and reward. There are going to be weeks where I have to work longer and harder than normal, but I am also able to travel and never miss one of my children’s events.” Julie is so passionate and connected to this company she couldn’t help but continue to repeat that she could never retire from anywhere else.

When Julie is not in the office, you can most likely find her on a cruise through the Caribbean. Julie, Randy, and their two kids have fallen in love with the warm weather and beaches and make a point to go cruising every year. Her office is filled with pictures and seashells from their exotic getaways. If she had to narrow it down, the two places that have meant the most to her were Bermuda and Monterey Bay. She and Randy are already planning their next trip for a cruise around Europe!

Over the past 20 years, Julie has truly been an invaluable member of our QAT Global team. From her motivating leadership skills, attention to detail, and commitment to this company we would be at a loss without her. Julie always says “I want to do my best for QAT because they do their best for me.” She certainly goes above and beyond every day and it does not go unnoticed. We thank her for her over twenty years of service and look forward to all the years to come.

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