Janie Gonzalez has some choice words for describing her information technology (IT) business, Webhead: “We have a badass team,” she said. “Webhead is all about them: our core, with strong core values and an undeniable work ethic.”
This Saturday, Feb. 21, Webhead will hold a talent recruiting event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their center city San Antonio headquarters, 1710 N. Main Ave., in an effort to bolster that team. The company invites military veterans and transitioning military personnel to attend, but anyone with experience in IT has a chance to hear a company overview from Gonzalez, tour the company’s facilities, and talk with employees. Former state rep. Mike Villarreal, currently in the race for mayor, is scheduled to open the event with remarks concerning workforce and economic development.
Gonzalez, CEO and president of Webhead, founded the company in 1994 while attending college at UTSA.
“We started with $500 cash, total,” she recalled. In 2013, Webhead purchased its midtown headquarters, the result of a concentrated, slow push into the national scene via large-scale, big-money federal contracts. While the company’s roots lie in website hosting, Webhead now deals in a formidable array of tech trades: data solutions, cybersecurity, content management systems, and data analysis.
Webhead’s growth has led to this weekend’s job fair, with 10 of the 25 new jobs needed to be filled immediately. Gonzalez is seeking experienced developers and mid-level personnel willing to jump into Webhead’s accelerating drive.
“Most of our positions are best suited for professionals looking to advance their careers, not necessarily to start them,” she said. “We require, in a majority of cases, a minimum of two to three years of experience in the industry.”
“We are smaller than Rackspace, and that means that company life is a bit different: with Webhead at its current size, employees work hand-in-hand with leadership—and I mean that as more than a tagline. All our hires have a direct effect on the company’s trajectory.”
In relation to Geekdom, which operates out of its downtown offices, Gonzalez describes Webhead as more focused on “the long run,” with an emphasis on steady maintenance and expansion. “Webhead has been around for 20 years,” she said, “and it’s become a business staple in San Antonio. We hire more slowly than some of our competitors, so what we’re really after is retention. Webhead is a place to stay.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, San Antonio’s unemployment rate stood at 3.4% in December 2014, lower than the 5.4& national rate. Looking specifically at employment numbers for military veterans, that number jumps slightly to 5.6% nationally, and even higher when the pool is reduced to Gulf War-era II veterans: 7.9%. In late 2014, Forbes listed San Antonio as one of the “Best Places for Veterans in 2014,” specifically praising USAA’s veteran hiring program. Webhead hopes to provide a place for tech-minded vets to pursue a focused, passionate career.
The company needs application developers, PHP and .Net programmers, administrators for varied data systems, and experts on Military IT and electronic systems, including U.S. Army Real Property Tracking. New hires can expect to work with Webhead’s commercial clients, including HealthyPlace.com, Life Time Fitness, and GI Forum, as well as with the company’s federal partners, which include the 24th Air Force at Lackland, U.S. Army Headquarters, and U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM).
While many of the positions are in San Antonio, Webhead is also recruiting for satellite offices nationally.
So what is it like to work at Webhead?
“We value entrepreneurship, passion, and social inclusion at Webhead,” Gonzalez said. “You can’t just code in the corner and be forgotten; we believe that we’re at our best when employees push themselves independently on projects, and when they’re constantly connected to the rest of the company.”
As a female CEO of one of San Antonio’s largest privately owned IT companies, it’s no surprise that Gonzales passionately supports women working in the industry.
“The females in our team — and there are quite a few — are especially badass,” she said. “As a company, we push to break the ‘IT guy’ stereotype. Information technology professionals are people from all walks of life, who do all different things.”
Gonzalez has a few words of caution as well.
“Work at Webhead isn’t for the weak of heart. We’re looking for employees to really apply themselves. If you’re looking just to settle, to do only one thing, then perhaps this isn’t the place for you.”
A tech business leader for 20 years, Gonzalez sees San Antonio, as a whole, as entering a “tech resurgence” of sorts after the 2008 economic recession. “Here in the South, as opposed to the East and West Coasts, it’s always been harder to push technology,” she said.
She praised Geekdom and Rackspace for their work promoting the industry in the city, and believes Webhead has done its part, too. But recruitment is all about the future. Gonzalez, hopes to see a tighter, more focused, and more cooperative future for IT in San Antonio.
“I’d like to see more specificity in San Antonio’s push for technology: not just ‘cyberbusiness,’ but IT by name,” she said. “San Antonio’s big tech names are very different. Moving forward, I’d like to see more cooperation between them, more of an alignment of purpose and work for the city.”
Mayoral candidate Villarreal will add his own vision of the future of tech in the city on Saturday.
Webhead, as a San Antonio tech company with strong business ties to the U.S. military, stands poised to benefit from U.S. Rep. Will Hurd’s recent push for the city to become a cybersecurity center. Potentially, Webhead could become a commercial counterpart to the National Security Agency facility in northwest San Antonio and the Air Force Cyber Command at Lackland.
“The tech community has grown up,” Gonzalez said. “Webhead is made up of members of all generations, pushing forward together.”
*Featured/top image: Webhead employees in the midst of a brainstorming session for an upcoming project. The rightmost employee is Easton Morgan III, Webhead’s Senior Web Applications Developer. Photo courtesy of Webhead.