Editor’s note: Jeff Pfeifer is Raleigh Site Leader and Vice President of Product Management for LexisNexis. Follow him on Twitter @JeffPfeifer.
RALEIGH – With the non-news news from Apple this week, some in our area are feeling stung this year by the three A’s – that’s Army, Amazon and Apple – and their apparent rebuff of the Triangle. Let me be the first to re-affirm the technology leadership exhibited by this great community.
LexisNexis has been in Raleigh for five years now. Our move here was carefully thought and very deliberate, focusing on the technology talent in the region to bring greater innovation to our industry. We wanted our new technology center to be filled by passionate technologists who could clearly understand and desire to join in our mission.
By locating on Centennial Campus at NC State University, we literally changed the trajectory of our work and the level of innovation in our company. We’re one block away from the Department of Computer Science, one of the top computer science institutions in the world. This partnership gives us access to some of the brightest minds anywhere, both faculty and students alike. They work with us as summer interns, join us as employees and collaborate with us as consultants. More than 120 students joined us in October for our annual hackathon, sharing ideas and gaining valuable experience through advanced technology projects. We’re roommates too, sharing lab space in the Experience Innovation Studio in our building.
With a strong local emphasis on education and many schools like UNC, Duke and NCSU producing high quality talent, it’s no surprise our workforce is hungry to learn and grow and develop themselves. This kind of attitude gives us a chance to “build our own unicorns.” Rather than always looking for a type of employee that may not even exist, we’re helping motivated employees grow into highly valuable tech workers by offering them specialized training on the job. Again our in-house experts teamed with NC State to develop an advanced technology curriculum. Now more than half of our technology workers have “upskilled” to meet the technical demands of data science, artificial intelligence and cloud computing in a legal information context. That’s enabling us to bring new ideas to life, advancing what’s possible for our customers through highly innovative analytics and powerful, new decision tools.
The Triangle’s innovation ethos drives local success stories, best illustrated by its strong technology and start-up communities. Organizations like CED and NCTECH nurture and foster this can-innovate mindset and challenge larger organizations like ours to adapt and change as well. We’ve acquired several start-ups in recent years to bring new ideas into our organization and fuel efforts in advanced technology. Last year, in partnership with our Silicon Valley acquisitions, we began hosting our own start-up Legal Tech Accelerator in Raleigh, also giving some local start-ups a boost.
Looking out my office window on Centennial campus, I see people every day from all over the world coming and going, focused on learning and growing. I’m inspired by what’s happening here. LexisNexis has a highly diverse workforce spread around the globe. Our strength as a company is rooted in the character and uniqueness our people. Many have relocated here. Many others regularly visit for our business. Our customers visit here too. The competitive environment repeatedly demonstrates that workplaces that promote teamwork, diversity, inclusion and trust outperform the rest. The same goes for communities too – and we get that here in the Triangle. As the Raleigh Chamber says, “All are welcome here.” And it’s true.
Choosing a site location is a challenging proposition. I don’t know what the other site selection teams are looking for, but I can say without hesitation that LexisNexis is thrilled to be here in Raleigh. We’re achieving everything we’ve hoped for and delight in all the good things the Triangle has to offer.