Why my company is on a hiring spree

The recent news that just 142,000 jobs were added in September fell well below expectations, and indicated that many employers have slowed or paused hiring altogether.

Obvious ongoing factors include the strong dollar, which has tamped down exports; and slower growth in China. But, despite the mixed signals of late, current economic conditions present an ideal opportunity for small and midsize companies to grow, particularly amid less fierce competition for talent.

stamp hired with red text on white
Hung Kuo Chun | Getty Images

Future jobs growth ultimately will be dependent on the success of the innovations emanating from the convergence of big data, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and the Internet of Everything. This dynamic will permanently reshape the U.S. economy as a major exporter of advanced technologies and future demand for workers. This will have a snowball effect. In fact, a recent study found that one new high-tech job begets another four jobs.

About a year ago, I joined GeoDigital because it represented an opportunity to participate in such economic creation. That's why we're aggressively hiring, expanding our workforce by a third over the coming months — in full expectations of seizing leadership in new global markets.

In the autonomous-vehicles sector, for instance, our 3-D street maps go well beyond competing offerings, including a European mapping system just acquired by a German car consortium for $3 billion. We're on track to be first to market with precision maps to guide the first mass-produced self-driving cars in North America.

At the same time, we're expanding our intelligent in-car software offerings as cars become more adaptive, intelligent and collaborative. There are plenty of other North American companies working on game-changing innovation for autonomous cars. This will grow exponentially as self-driving cars become a reality on our roads in the near future.

In energy, our big spatial data platform helps utilities keep tabs on thousands of miles of power corridors and identify potential threats to the grid. We're also working with drone manufacturers and power companies on preliminary programs to virtually inspect the power-transmission and distribution infrastructure. This kind of technology offers not only more reliable power, a cornerstone of economic success, but also a billion dollars in potential annual cost savings for utilities.

To stay ahead of the curve, we continuously need new high-tech talent. Many of our new positions require advanced technical skills — notably artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics and expertise in the industrial cloud. We also employ those with "hybrid expertise," whose skills cut across tech disciplines. For example, our biometrician uses mathematical models to predict vegetation growth.

Finding such specialized talent is often tough. That's partly why we just moved GeoDigital's North American headquarters from Ontario to Atlanta. We needed greater access to high-tech talent and international travel routes. The relocation also allows us to partner with the likes of Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State on apprenticeship programs.

The innovations we're driving are just a few examples of the kinds of new converged technology creating significant growth opportunities. While start-ups and the innovations they're developing don't always get the headlines, they present new and exciting opportunities, and are likely to pave the way back to economic terra firma.

Commentary by Chris Warrington, president and CEO of Atlanta-based GeoDigital. Prior to joining GeoDigital, Warrington was president of the Americas for Ventyx, the enterprise software group of power and automation conglomerate ABB. Warrington also held several strategic leadership positions with leading technology companies, including Hansen Technologies, Peace Software and Oracle.