Chairman and CEO
WHY HE’S A CHAMPION OF THE NEW ECONOMY
Tim Bryan is racing at breakneck speed. With hospitals and medical centers requiring added technology to improve patient wellness, prevent diseases, and boost efficiency, Bryan, chairman and CEO of GalaxE.Solutions in downtown Detroit, is moving rapidly to meet the demand for health care IT services — mandated, in part, by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Demand for your services is a good thing, but how have you been able to keep pace?
We are in a leadership position in terms of companies that are outsourcing their work to Detroit. One of the things we’ve done is locate a facility here. We’ve begun hiring a significant number of individuals who will help us build and integrate these systems so health care companies can boost their outcomes, increase their efficiency, and improve their [patient] care. We found a great location downtown next to two other IT-related companies — Quicken Loans and Compuware. We’re starting to see a technology hub come together. And now we’re drawing individuals who are looking to enhance their careers, and who are going to consider downtown Detroit as part of their career search. Downtown has all the elements of what they’re looking for — proximity to entertainment, sports, casinos, cool bars, great restaurants, and high-quality apartments and condominiums. And it’s all in easy walking distance of great offices. You’re really starting to see the diversification of the employment field.
Since opening an office in Detroit last spring, you’ve hired more than 100 people and you have 200 openings. How do you manage hiring?
We’ve got a full-time recruiting effort. We’re also beginning to talk to local colleges to create a curriculum to support what we’re doing. We can either bring in [recent] graduates or people who have been retrained. We’re doing an awful lot of interviewing. We’ve interviewed and hired some really excellent people. We’re very happy with the response. An entity that is ramping up quickly likes to see a great supply of potential workers, and we’ve been fortunate to be on the right end of a great hiring push.
Why did you locate in Detroit, as opposed to operating in a low-cost country like India?
A couple of factors. The cost of doing business here in Detroit is very reasonable. When you compare it to offshore destinations, Detroit is starting to come close on labor costs. Because we’re in the U.S., paying in U.S. dollars, the native language is English, we’re in the Eastern Time Zone, and it’s an hour flight to New York — the so-called soft costs are very attractive. Detroit is very competitive with a number of offshore locations because of those differences. Now, don’t get me wrong; we’ve been successful with offshoring work, but Detroit is a new offering. [In addition,] the region has a highly educated work force with significant technical ability, and the city is committed to improving the area.
What’s the reception been? Have you met your neighbors — Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans, and Peter Karmanos, chairman and CEO of Compuware?
Yes, [and] Dan and Pete have been extremely supportive. They share the vision for Campus Martius being a tech hub. They recognize we’re the first outside entity to locate a data center here. They recognize that’s a major statement to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world. They love Detroit and are native sons. My business is in New Jersey, and I came here as a business opportunity. I’ve since fallen in love with the city. The Fox Theatre is one of the finest theaters I’ve seen. Comerica Park is excellent. The Detroit Athletic Club is incredible, and I have become a member. The people are incredibly supportive and welcoming. People who live and work here are upset with what has happened [to the city], but they’re working hard to turn things around.
What do you think Detroit could do to improve its image?
The irony is, I don’t think the rest of the country realized how bad things had gotten. It’s hard for people outside Michigan to envision how hard-hit this city has been. But they probably don’t appreciate the upside potential, either. It’s very important for the city and state to get the word out that Detroit is open for business, like Mayor Dave Bing says. It’s time to put people and resources back to work, and we should share that message with the rest of the world.
What’s the biggest impediment to your growth?
Exceptional growth has to be managed very carefully. We are very cognizant that we’re introducing new technology and programs to our customer base, and it all has to work correctly. We can’t take our eye off the ball in delivering world-class services.
If President Obama asked you how to improve U.S. competitiveness, what would you tell him?
I would tell him that the American worker is the smartest, most productive, most innovative worker in the world. Anything we can do as a country to put people in positions where they can be productive and innovative is a great step in the right direction. If you can do that, the economy will turn around very rapidly.