Executives at French-based tech consulting business Capgemini wanted to pick a new place in the U.S. to develop hundreds of talented young workers.
They zeroed in on a region of the country, and then a city: Nashville. They met with officials from the state, chamber and multiple universities. They began scouting real estate options.”And all of a sudden, Covid shows up, which did not make a pressing case for me to go to Paris and ask for a bunch of money to sign a new lease.
They’d have looked at me like I had three heads,” said Joe Greer, a top Capgemini executive leading the expansion effort.The pandemic stymied Capgemini’s plans, but didn’t spike them.
And when Greer’s team resumed its site search, Nashville looked as good or even better than before.”In the period of time we’d gone dark, several buildings had finished that were really attractive real estate spaces,” Greer said. “We lost some time, but it wound up working out.”Greer spoke with the Business Journal shortly after Capgemini announced its Nashville arrival.
The company committed to a minimum of 500 jobs based at Midtown’s Broadwest development. Capgemini projects that headcount eventually will hit 1,000.Greer is a vice president at Capgemini and lead of its Americas Development Centers. Nashville is the third such operation, joining Houston and Columbia, South Carolina. Capgemini adds a more international flavor to the region’s burgeoning tech profile.
Globally, Capgemini has more than 300,000 employees in almost 50 countries; 10% of those workers are in the U.S., Canada or Latin America.”We knew, given the growth we’re seeing, that we needed another one,” Greer said. All three are Capgemini’s attempt to have the right people in the right location at the right time, avoiding “a bunch of ad hoc hiring,” Greer said.
Nashville stood out for being central to Capgemini’s U.S. customer base, with ample flights and easy highway access.The concept, as Greer described it, is creating a setting to grow talent rapidly. The Nashville hub will be a place to “build critical skills in certain areas, tap a very robust pipeline of campus hiring, bring in junior people and surround them with the right experienced hires,” he said.Greer had been to Nashville before, but not in awhile.
Before Capgemini, he worked more than 30 years for AT&T, dating to the BellSouth era. Nashville’s iconic AT&T Tower was originally built for BellSouth in the mid-1990s.”Holy hell, it has changed,” Greer said. “You can feel it. When you’re in town, you can feel the energy level.”Greer is counting on that to help boost the company’s recruiting efforts as it works to establish name-recognition on campus.”We believe there will be a good talent pool and tech footprint here. Obviously, we’re not the only ones who believe that, right? We’ll definitely have to compete,” he said. “We’ll recruit from local and regional universities, but I believe we can pull people out of Midwest schools or Southwest schools who would be interested in going to Nashville.
“Asked about a pay scale, Greer said the company is still evaluating what that will look like. Capgemini has begun posting job openings on its website.Cloud technology will be one of the focal points in Nashville, Greer said. Capgemini’s clients range across an array of industries, from automotive and energy to chemicals and transportation. “The underlying fabric is data analytics,” Greer said. “That whole area of data, [artificial intelligence] and machine learning — we’ll have a big focus there.”