From its roots as a local Christchurch business to a multinational enterprise, tech firm Verizon Connect says Christchurch will always be its home.
Verizon Connect, formerly called Telogis, has offices in 15 countries including the US, UK, and Australia – a story that all began back in 2000 with a dream to improve the way people, vehicles, and other things move through the world.
When Christchurch local Ralph Mason teamed up with American-based Newth Morris, Telogis was born. Back then, they developed a fleet tracking software to track vehicle locations.
In 2014 the company rebranded from Telogis to Verizon Connect and created a new portfolio of solutions and services.
Despite the renewed global focus, Verizon group vice president of mobile research and development Gary Jenson says Christchurch is still at the heart of research and development opportunities.
“We have the capability and go-to attitude to think laterally and build the most innovative solutions in ways that other countries and locations might not be able to,” he says.
Because much of the group’s original technology was developed in Christchurch, it has been instrumental in transforming the company into a ‘pioneer’ in the telematics industry, Jensen says.
What’s more, Verizon Connect still engages with up-and-coming Christchurch talent by regularly hiring university graduates for its Christchurch office. It also hosts interns, many of whom stay as permanent employees after graduation.
“The quality of software engineering students and the close relationships we have with Canterbury University and other groups has helped to make Christchurch a thriving place for our technology company,” Jensen says.
He notes that the Christchurch tech sector progressed in massive leaps, particularly over the last decade.
That local tech sector is the second largest in the country and contributes around $2.4 billion of GDP, as well as annual exports of $1.1 billion.
Diversity, creativity, tech talent and strong relationships between business and students all enable the region ensures the right skills for the city’s future workforce pipeline.
“Community groups like CanterburyTech have also helped increase the profile and strength of the Christchurch tech sector significantly, bringing to light some of the strong engineering work the city has always been good at, but no one was aware of,” Jensen says.
He adds that Christchurch’s closely connected tech community and supportive business environment also makes it an ideal environment for start-ups with big ideas.
“Focus on the big picture beyond the local market, while still keeping roots in the Christchurch and Kiwi way of doing things.”