January 31, 2005
Information technology is supposed to be fun, but don’t tell that to people working
in the sector.
In a survey of 150 tech professionals in South Florida, 62 percent said their
employment experience in the last four years has been negative. The words most
frequently used to describe that experience were frustrating, stressful,
disappointing, stagnant, unfulfilling, impersonal, overworked and
In the survey, conducted by Protech, an IT job placement firm with offices in
Miami and Fort Lauderdale, 28 percent viewed their work as positive. Ten percent
said they felt neutral.
Ninety-one percent said they are willing to make a job change. After all, you can’t spell I QUIT without
To be sure, plenty of people in all fields hate their jobs. But the survey results reflect the tech sector’s
The findings also support the long-held notion that tech professionals feel less loyalty to their employers
than other workers do. Considering that thousands of techies have been fired since the sector began to
slump in 2000-01, it is no wonder workers are quick to look for new opportunities.
The culture of stock options — the lure that attracted many techies in the late 1990s — also undermined
loyalty. A lot of people’s careers were shaped by the idea that they should grab riches while they were
available. When so many stock options ended up worthless, workers felt burned.
The Protech survey also asked which criteria professionals consider when evaluating job options.
Thirty-five percent cited a company’s culture, including career development and work/life balance; 32
percent said compensation; and 22 percent said the company’s strength. Eleven percent listed other
factors, including the commute and the job title.
When asked what a prospective employer could offer that would make them accept a job, the workers
said: a sound business plan, opportunity to grow and interesting work.
Because many techies have worked for companies that no longer exist, they are far more likely than
others to scrutinize a company’s business model before taking a job. It might sound odd if a candidate
for a newspaper reporting or auto mechanic position questioned the prospective employer about the
business model. Newspapers and car repair shops have been around as long as anyone can remember.
But there’s nothing strange about a candidate asking a software developer or Web design studio about
the nature of their business, since so many have sunk in recent years.
The South Florida Interactive Marketing Association will host a presentation called “Google:
Demystifying Search,” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Ron
Carpinella, a regional manager for Google, will be the speaker. For more information, www.sfima.com.
The South Florida Technology Alliance named Joel Ledlow, CEO of Boca Raton-based Acarra,
president. Other officers include: Deborah Vasquezof Protech, vice president; Elizabeth Bates of
Consultrex, secretary; Bill McGloin of KPMG, treasurer; Brian Nelson of Edwards & Angell, legal
Tech stat of the week: Even as the Internet has become almost essential for gathering information on
health care, only 31 percent of Americans age 65 and over have ever gone online, according to a study
by the Washington-based Kaiser Family Foundation. However, 70 percent of the next generation of
seniors (ages 50-64) have been online.
Only 21 percent of those 65 and older have surfed the Internet to look for health information, compared
to 53 percent in the 50-64 age group.
Ian Katz can be heard talking about tech every Monday at 8:10 a.m. on WFTL (850-AM). He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4664.
Copyright © 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
IT pros see lot of major cons to their chosen field Page 2 of 2
PROTECH Wins Second Place in South Florida Business Journals’ Business of the Year Awards in HR Category
In annual South Florida Business Journal Business of the Year awards, PROTECH took home second place in the the Human Resources under $10 Million Category.
LATEST NEWS January 10, 2005
Tech Alliance plans employment panel
A nonprofit organization that works to foster technology development and discussion plans a
presentation to help employers learn about the latest industry employment trends and how to
improve their appeal to recruit and keep the best employees.
The South Florida Technology Alliance said its “Outlook 2005: Attracting, Retaining and
Developing Talent,” is to begin at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 27. A networking reception starts an hour
Deborah Vazquez, Protech chief executive officer, is to moderate a panel discussion to feature
insights and findings from local experts in corporate technology, human resources, search and
staffing, software development and education.
Panel members are to include Bill Hicks, Ultimate Software chief information officer; Alicia
Blain, Visa International vice president of information systems; Barry Shiflett, Florida
International University’s graduate program director of career management services; Kathleen
Bocek, Campus Management vice president of human resources; and Tom Holmes, JM Family
Enterprises vice president of operations.
The meeting is to be at Citrix Systems, 851 West Cypress Creek Road, in Fort Lauderdale. It costs
$15 for members and $25 for non-members, if registered in advance. To register, go to
© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.
Posted on Mon, Nov. 17, 2003
Experience gives IT staffer an edge
When it comes to filling job positions in the world of information technology, more than just bits and bytes
Deborah Vazquez, who runs ProTech, an IT staffing company in Miami, believes her firm has managed
to thrive even after the Internet bust of recent years because she comes from the IT world herself.
Vazquez, 39, started out as a programmer.
Most of the eight people on her staff have similar backgrounds. So, they can speak the lingo of a client
company’s chief information officer or its CEO.
”We can decipher between someone who is truly qualified for the job” and someone with minimal
experience, says Vazquez, who started the firm in 2000.
Now Miami-based ProTech has survived the downturn in the economy, the rash of corporate scandals, and
Funded with $100,000, ProTech grew by 53 percent last year and is on track to double its growth in 2003.
Vazquez also added two minority investors this year.
ProTech’s focus is filling IT jobs in any industry. The firm has clients in financial services, healthcare,
media, and software. The talent the firm finds usually comes from South Florida.
ProTech has amassed a large database of local talent. Those in the database have already been interviewed
and their references have been checked. So when ProTech gets a job requisition, it can more quickly
present a list of viable candidates to a client. Vazquez says about 95 percent of the placements come from
ProTech’s own database.
Since the beginning of the year with the economy picking up, Vazquez says more companies are hiring.
Right now, the biggest demand is for database administrators and systems and network engineers.
There’s less demand for security engineers, which had been the hot job after Sept. 11.
Vazquez also says contract workers are being hired permanently.
Despite the increased hiring, she still sees a lot of resentment from workers. ”Many people feel overworked
and underpaid. Companies are doing more with less,” says Vazquez, an active member of the South Florida
CIO Council. “Companies are trying to produce the numbers for shareholders, so they have to cut corners
and cut costs.”
With the pressure to trim expenses, Vazquez is seeing increased consolidation and outsourcing of IT
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The consolidation also has spilled over into Vazquez’s own work. When she started the firm, she says, there
were 15 to 20 other companies providing the same services she was.
Now, the number has dwindled to less than five.
To paraphrase Martha Stewart, less competition is a good thing.
ProTech plans to open an office in Broward County next year.
BIG GAINS EXPECTED
Right now, there’s no major out-of-state venture capital firm with offices in Florida.
Sure, firms like Atlanta-based Noro-Moseley Partners travel throughout the state often, visiting the
companies they have already invested in and looking for new deals. But none have set up an outpost in the
But Les Croland, an attorney at Edwards & Agnell in Fort Lauderdale who works with start-ups and
venture capital firms, expects this situation to change once The Scripps Research Institute has set up a
branch in Palm Beach County.
With a cluster of bio-tech companies being spun off as the research done by the Scripps scientists
eventually is commercialized and brought to market, Croland expects venture capital firms finally will have
good reason to plant permanent roots in this state.
”The VC find it hard to get their arms around what’s in Florida. [All the companies] are so spread out
through the state,” says Croland.
In the San Diego area, where Scripps is based, some 300 to 500 companies have been spun off from the
The start-ups also should come from work by scientists from some of Florida’s own universities who will
work in conjunction with Scripps researchers.
Like many others in Florida’s business, academic and government communities, Croland is excited about
Scripps’ impact on the state and its economy.
”It will change the landscape of South Florida and the entire state,” he says. “This is the biggest thing to
happen to Florida since Disney and NASA.”
TV SHOW DEBUTS
TodoBebe’s Spanish-language TV show for expectant and new parents debuted on the Telemundo network
The half-hour weekly show is produced by the Hallandale Beach-based company that got its start in 1999
as an online retail and information website on pregnancy, birthing, and child-rearing in Spanish. The show
will be seen on Telemundo stations in Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston and Orlando.
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AOL Latino, an arm of America Online that’s focused on the U.S. Hispanic market, has signed as the
show’s online sponsor for its initial launch.
TodoBebe, which produces a weekly radio show, also partnered with several medical associations and
hospitals for the show, including Miami Children’s Hospital, and Pediatrix Medical Group, which cares for
high-risk pregnant women and babies in intensive-care units around the country.
Experience gives IT staffer an edge Page 3 of 3