113 A SPIRIT OF INNOVATION CHAPTER FIVE Rural Broadband Association. “The industry is just beginning to realize how incredibly powerful data can be.” Elon Musk, famed inventor and entrepreneur, plans to beam high-speed internet from space via satellites. Musk’s company, Tesla, is already installing solar roof tiles that resemble regular shingles, along with batteries for storage of the energy. Technology is changing ever faster, and only the most nimble can keep up. To Vern Dosch, constant change is part of the excitement of being a tech company. The challenge — the vulnerability — lies in recruiting new talent who will move boldly into that future. IT consulting is a global marketplace, but Dosch chooses not to outsource. NISC prefers to develop talent in-house. Jason Bartsch, a Manager of Profes- sional Services, hired 14 people in a year, mostly through referrals from other employees. The Midwest may not have the allure of Silicon Valley, but it doesn’t have the high cost of living, either. And most of Bartsch’s team members are “virtual” or remote employees who travel for their work and live wherever they like. NISC recruits from colleges and universities in the Midwest and offers internships that become a kind of tryout on both sides. Erik Verduin, a 2016 IT graduate, went to a career fair At an annual weekend LAN party, NISC staff play and challenge each other in a variety of video games. at Southern Illinois University and met Matt Moorman from NISC. He was impressed with how straightforward Moorman was. The interview process focused on technical challenges and peer interviews and emphasized the NISC values and culture. When he received an offer from NISC, Verduin broke off the interview process he had under way with OneSpace, a Swansea, Illinois-based company that connects businesses with freelancers for project management and other services. OneSpace has an open bar in the office, an office soccer team and a massage therapist on site twice a week. NISC offers its own camaraderie and team-building events, and Verduin has a mentor and a supportive environment with an emphasis on teamwork. “It feels like a place I can come and code with people and learn from them,” he says.