Relus turns 4 years old this month! 2017 has been a great year so far. We’ve come a long way since January, which is when I joined. I’ve seen so many changes since I’ve been here, from the growth of our Talent Delivery team to the 100+ new logos we’ve brought in as a company. I wanted to commemorate how far Relus has come since its birth in September 2013. We’re still headquartered in Peachtree Corners, GA, but we now have offices in Knoxville, Raleigh, Chicago, New York and Austin. We’re growing – we’re about to hit 100 employees. This week, I spent some time speaking with employees who have been with Relus for a while (1.5 – 4 years), and there were a couple of things that stood out among my conversations.
I’m sure you hear it all the time – culture is key in a successful company. The Relus culture seemed to have an impact on every person that I spoke with. When Relus first started with only a few people, Matt Whitney (VP of Relus Cloud) compared our culture to “a newborn infant – awkward and trying to find our way in the world”. That can be said for any startup; it comes with the territory. What I found interesting was what Josh Schaefer (Sr. Cloud Sales Executive) said that many people echoed: “We’re fun, young, ‘work hard, play hard’, full of constant change and excitement. We give back to our community and create a tight-knit group of employees focused on our customers. Those things have always been our core.” Relus truly cares about making the company a great place to work.
My coworkers brought up a couple of good examples of our culture. A few months ago, when we had so much rain, Josh jumped in an inflatable raft and rafted down the “Relus River” behind our building (yes, that’s a broom stick!). That brought lots of memes and jokes for weeks to come. In May, our team ran in the Tough Mudder to support Promise686, a local charity. Sarah Everett (Director of People and Culture) said one of her favorite memories was “watching Mark Metz get shocked by a live wire and literally try to swim through the mud.” Not many people that I know can say that about their CEO.
Perhaps Sarah summed it up perfectly when she said “Our culture is more deliberate now. In the beginning, we tended to make things up as we went along and that worked just fine. Now, we have a more established identity as a company and have become more intentional about the culture we’re trying to create here.”
First and foremost, Relus is a technology-based company. We create solutions for our clients utilizing different technologies. One of our biggest accomplishments is Relus Cloud, the largest AWS partner in the Southeast. We are almost to the level of Premiere Partnership. So far, we’ve achieved 4 different competencies as a company: Migration, DevOps, Big Data, and Marketing & Commerce. Each competency is a huge feat – and this doesn’t include the 40+ individual certifications my teammates possess.
When I asked about the biggest change they’ve seen, almost every single person mentioned the cloud growth. Adam Book (Principal Cloud Engineer) said “Amazon doesn’t think we’re a staffing or infrastructure company anymore.” That’s huge. We have truly shifted to being an AWS partner – a public cloud-first company.
In addition to keeping Amazon happy, we’re keeping our customers happy. Every week there’s a new happy customer – just look at any of our case studies. We have the ability to save our clients tons of money, as well as help generate new revenue. With our wide range of services and relationships, we have a unique opportunity to completely change our clients’ technology departments into something that works strategically for them.
We take pride in being very visible and involved in our community. Relus hosts a good amount of events each year, but we sponsor and attend even more. Hannah Rowley (Marketing Events Lead) talked about our annual event “Alter Your State” at Sweetwater. She said, “I may be biased here since I am the Events Lead at Relus, but my favorite event we’ve had has probably been our Alter Your State series that we’ve put on the past few summers at SweetWater Brewery. This is our largest customer-facing event that we host with some of our top partners and AWS. Seeing this event through to fruition is always a great feeling every year, and having it at a brewery doesn’t hurt either.” Many people had the same opinion!
Michael Whaley (Director of Talent Delivery) talked about one of our internal events: our last Quarterly Meeting held at Top Golf. He said, “It was awesome hearing our CEO discuss all the exciting things happening with our company, and then step into a driving range bay afterwards and hit a few balls right next to him.” Again, this goes back to our culture at Relus – it’s a priority to keep everyone engaged and happy. It seems to be working!
Even though we’re just turning 4, we have many traditions that make working at Relus fun. Of course, everyone loves Beer Fridays, but a large majority of people I spoke with mentioned our holiday Toys for Tots tradition. Ryan O’Donnell (Pre-Sales Cloud Engineer) said “Before I accepted my offer at Relus, I watched a video posted on the Relus website from the holiday Toys for Tots event. Each year, Relus employees swarm a toy store and purchase toys to donate to children in need. In the video, Mark Metz rode around the store on a skateboard and the sales reps had a hula hoop contest while others threw footballs back and forth. The joy on everyone’s face was authentic and I knew from that moment that I would be joining a company with a fantastic mission and culture.” Valerie Bussey (Technical Recruiter) described it as “such an incredible experience and everyone is into it. It’s so much fun and extremely rewarding!”
Another tradition, brought up by Michael Campbell (VP of Sales) is “Making people sing karaoke when they close their first deal. It’s so awkward – for everyone.” I can attest to that – super awkward, but it’s a great way to break the ice and bond with your new coworkers.
The future is exciting. We’re in a great place right now, and we have all the resources, technical talent, and skills to keep growing at this insane pace. I think everyone here feels the same way. When asked about the future, Caroline Ellis (IT Hardware Maintenance Coordinator) said “I think it will be interesting to see how the industry changes and how that changes Relus in the future. It has already changed so much since I started 4 years ago, so I can only imagine how we will look in another 4 years.”
The next few years will be exciting for all of us. Jon Hillard (Director Infrastructure Sales) put it best when he said, “I’m excited about seeing more people find their true careers here, buy their first houses, and improve their ways of life.” That pretty much sums it up. Relus is definitely the place to be if you want to be part of a fast-paced, ever-changing, disruptive company.
The future is bright & I’m excited to be along for the ride! If you’d like to learn more about Relus and become a part of our team, check out our open positions here. We’d love to have you!