When Joyce Pingel went looking for experts who could help the Holt family of businesses integrate their technology, she found an opportunity.
Pingel, Holt’s chief information officer and head of digital innovation, found plenty of companies offering systems integration — the creation and management of processes that integrate the disparate technologies companies use to run their businesses. But Pingel found a distinct lack of those that also had deep expertise in the industrial sector.
She took her “a-ha moment” to Holt leadership, and was encouraged to pursue what has become Epiphany Industrial Technologies, which launched in January 2022. Holt businesses include Holt Cat, one of the largest Caterpillar dealership networks in the country; Holt Manufacturing; Holt Renewables; and others. The Holt family is also the majority owner of the San Antonio Spurs.
On Tuesday, Epiphany held an open house at its newly refurbished headquarters on Southeast Military Drive, next to the future home of the San Antonio Arboretum and less than three miles from Holt’s $24 million corporate headquarters, completed in 2017.
The 13,000-square-foot building was formerly the University of the Incarnate Word’s professional golf management facility. Today, the putting green out back has been replaced by pickleball courts and an outdoor kitchen. Inside, a spacious kitchen, gym and light-filled collaborative workspaces will welcome new employees and future clients alike.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined Holt CEO Peter J. Holt; Corinna Holt Richter, president and chief administrative officer of Holt; Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran (D3); and her sister Rebecca Viagran, a former councilwoman who is now president and CEO of the South Texas Business Partnership (formerly the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce), for the open house.
In her remarks, Pingel described systems integrators as akin to general contractors; Epiphany, she said, will eventually serve industrial customers in the construction, oil and gas, renewables and manufacturing industries.
The Holt family of companies was Epiphany’s first customer, she said later, helping them while ironing out the startup’s processes. Later this year, she said, Epiphany will start to court outside customers, including other Caterpillar dealers.
Pingel initially led a team of three — herself, Vice President of Solution Engineering Dinu Mathai and Vice President of Solution Delivery David Kash — in forming the company. Today it has 15 employees, she said, and expects to double that figure by the end of 2023.
“We’re bringing high-skill, high-tech jobs to the South Side,” she said to applause from the crowd of business leaders, elected officials and South Side boosters.
The company is hiring for positions such as solutions architect, data integration engineer and senior Salesforce developer, according to its website. Mathai said as it fills its senior ranks, Epiphany also hopes to expand opportunities for more recent graduates and interns “to fill the pipeline.”
He acknowledged that it’s been a struggle to hire locally, and expanding their search statewide helped round out the company’s leadership team. A partially remote and hybrid workforce is the reality, Mathai said, but he hopes the amenities of the new headquarters will help attract workers to San Antonio.
But “we love to hire local,” said Kash, “and the tables are turning, things are picking up.”
Access to a qualified workforce and the ability to attract and retain talent is a top priority for the South Texas Business Partnership, said Rebecca Viagran. The former Southside chamber, which merged with the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in 2020, now considers not just the South Side but all of South Texas as its service region.
The economic center of San Antonio is “shifting ever southward,” said Nirenberg. “The amenities coming to the South Side are not to be overstated.”
Peter Holt said his company is “pleased to be a part” of the South Side’s growth, and lauded Pingel’s vision.
“When new ideas come up,” he said, “let’s run through the door together.”