Keith Woodruff on Tech Industry Trying a Recruiting Fix

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Keith Woodruff has been CEO of information technology products and services firm Edafio Technology Partners, which has offices in North Little Rock, Conway and Rogers, since 2010. He will step down from that role on Jan. 1 to become the firm’s chief technology officer. Before joining the Edafio team, he worked as a delivery executive at Acxiom for 15 years and at IBM for 13 years, as an account development manager and systems engineer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and his master’s in business administration from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Edafio Technology Partners was an Arkansas Business of the Year winner in 2017.

Information technology has changed so much since Edafio started in 1999. What does the future hold for this field?

While technology will continue to change, our commitment to the success of our clients stays the same. We want to be trusted advisers to help them leverage technology to run and secure their businesses.

Technology is an integral part of every life now, whether you’re 8 or 80, as the saying goes. How would you recommend regular folks keep up?

Siri, Alexa, Google, and Wikipedia enable quick access to troves of typically reliable information. As most know, it is also wise to be careful about which internet sites you access as many are malicious. I’ve found technology articles in Arkansas Business, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Wall Street Journal also provide good information, as well as listening to NPR on my commute.

What’s the biggest technological change you see on the horizon?

The accessibility of powerful technologies to everyone. Foundational technologies like 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing capacity will be readily accessible and a catalyst for the creation of powerful capabilities in the areas of autonomous transportation, education, automation, health care, science, business, entertainment and cybersecurity (both good and bad). The technology usage gap between my children and my grandchildren will be even greater than the gap between myself and my kids, who frequently show me new applications.

How difficult has it been for Edafio to attract the talent it has needed to grow over the years?

Recruitment has been one of our biggest challenges. Edafio is people, so attracting the right people is critical. Amy Beam joined us three years ago as our recruiter and has led our talent acquisition efforts. We’ve found interns to be one way to find bright young talent. I’m also very encouraged by Gov. [Asa] Hutchinson’s focus on computer skills in high schools and his recently formed computer science and cybersecurity task force. The need for cybersecurity professionals is growing exponentially.

What attracted you to this line of work?

As a graduate student at the University of Arkansas in the early ’80s, I worked in the computer lab. This experience helped me to see that I enjoyed using my engineering and business education to help people with technology.

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