Talent Crunch

Anthony Fernandez and Tony Fernandez are working to expand their rapidly growing technology firm, MTech.

AJTF

In 2012, Anthony Fernandez’s father and grandfather helped him start MTech Repair, an on-the-spot fix-it company for mobile devices such as Apple and Samsung phones and tablets.

Three years later, Anthony Fernandez and his dad, Tony, teamed up again to expand the MTech brand with MTech MDM, which stands for mobile device management. The MDM segment of the brand works with businesses to provide repair services, software advice and installation and has a call center for mobile-technology-related questions.

Lakewood Ranch-based MTech has seen rapid growth in what Tony Fernandez calls an exploding industry. MTech Repair is expecting its final sales to grow by 50% to 70% in 2015 — the first year it won’t grow sales at least 100%, Tony Fernandez says. And just three months after its launch, MDM already comprises about 25% of MTech’s total business, he adds. Firm officials declined to release specific revenue figures.

But with business booming, the company now has an urgent need: more employees. That includes call center staff and more people for repair work. The company, currently with 19 employees, is on track to move into a larger facility and have 50 or more employees by the end of 2016, Tony Fernandez says.

One way MTech addressed finding good people is through a partnership with Manatee Technical College, which has four campuses spread through Bradenton, east Manatee County and Palmetto. Students have the opportunity to work with MTech starting as interns and potentially moving up into part-time or full-time roles. They will be cycled through each department of MTech, working with MDM, repairing and provisioning products and working in the call center.

“These employees get a feel for all different types of businesses,” says Roger Hostetter, vice president of professional services at MTech. “It puts them in a position to determine what they like most.”

Manatee Technical College will also reap the benefits of the partnership. The hands-on experience for students will be crucial during their job searches, says Martha Meyers, business and industry services coordinator at the college. “It’s difficult to get in the door without it,” Meyers says.

Prior to the partnership with MTech, Manatee Technical College’s curriculum wasn’t focused on mobile, but there was room for growth, Meyers says. “We weren’t really in the mobile side and weren’t really sure where to go with it,” she says. “Sometimes you need that outside direction to guide you.”

In addition to employees, MTech will assist on the college’s advisory board, which is made up of employers that help drive the college’s curriculum. Tony Fernandez and other MTech employees will also help with teaching classes. On that front, Fernandez thinks even larger than his fast-growth business.

“Mobile devices help companies serve their customers better,” he says. “They all need their employees to be able to handle IT. It’s not just about MTC students helping MTech, but other companies, too.”

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