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Canadian Tech Giant Resolver Invests in Charleston, WV
by John Dahlia BUSINESS EDITOR
CHARLESTON — Kevin Hall and his staff of tech-savvy professionals never imagined they’d be working high atop the iconic Chase Building in downtown Charleston for one of the fastest-growing companies in the world.
“One of the pride points I have when you look at their map of offices you see Toronto, Edmonton, London, Sunnyvale, CA, London and right there in the middle is Charleston, West Virginia,” Hall said, referring to Canadian tech firm Resolver; a business solution and risk management software products giant that up until last year, knew very little about Hall and the Mountain State.
“To be honest, I didn’t know much about West Virginia until I touched down on Yeager’s memorable landing strip,” Resolver Chief Executive Officer Will Anderson said remembering his first visit to Charleston. “I was immediately impressed by the scenery, historic buildings and genuine people.”
Anderson and ultimately, Resolver’s interest in the West Virginia, however, began long before they built-out a new, high-tech open, 5,600 square-foot office space on the 10th floor of the Chase Building on the corner of Virginia Avenue. The Canadian tech company CEO said he connected with Hall, now Resolver’s general manager, back in 2014.
“Through a series of conversations, we built a rapport and understood how we could work together in a mutually beneficial way,” Anderson said about his company’s eventual acquisition of Hall’s small, home-grown tech software company called Next Connections and the crisis management software he developed called Global AlertLink.
“We actually created (Global AlertLink) under Charles Ryan on the side in 1999,” Hall said of the crisis management software he developed while working at Charles Ryan Associates early in his career. “It was a small concept to help companies collaborate during crisis situations.”
Later, in 2008, Hall got some backing and successfully spun-off from the business communications firm creating a new company called Next Connections.
“It took us a year or two to get going,” Hall said. “2009 and 2010 was an awful time to start a company,” Hall said. “But 2010 and 2011, we started to get some traction and got some big company customers. That was really our market.”
The relationship, Hall explained, was almost synergistic from the very beginning. The crisis management software solution he created complimented Resolver’s well-known list of pre-built, business solution and risk management software products.
“Resolver wanted to invest in the technology,” Hall added. “They do risk management and corporate security. We fit very well into that overall Resolver picture. It was a very strategic acquisition from Resolver’s perspective.”
In 2017, Hall’s small company was officially acquired by larger firm.
John Ward, Hall’s first hire when he owned Cross Connections, is the Development Manager in Charleston. An admitted skeptic, Ward became a believer soon after Resolver committed to his home state.
“They could have come in and gut the staff and take on the product, or they could have kept the staff and keep us in smaller officers,” Ward said. “But they didn’t. “They built this. They invested in this. They’ve already brought in people. They got more openings for people. They are wanting to see an investment in Charleston beyond anything I could have ever imagined.”
The investment, Ward mentioned is clearly visible to anyone visiting or working at 707 Virginia Street, Suite 1000.
“We intentionally built a space that we could grow in to,” Anderson said of the massive, 5,600 square feet of open office space on the 10th floor of the Chase Building in downtown Charleston. “We strongly believe that there is a solid talent pool in Charleston.”
One of those talent pools are the students from Bob Hayton’s computer and technology course at Bridge Valley Community and Technical College in South Charleston. He brought four students, three faculty members, and Bridge Valley’s Vice President of workforce, Jeff Wyco to Resolver’s October 4 open house event.
“Students were very impressed with the overview and product Kevin (Hall) and his team at Resolver presented,” Hayton, the computer and information technology department chair at BridgeValley, said. “As a technology professor, it’s extremely important for our students to have high tech opportunities in the Kanawha Valley area, such as Resolver. These high-tech companies provide the employment opportunities that will enable us to keep our talented graduating students in West Virginia.”
The open house, Hall added, is just the beginning. The company is pushing its Charleston location to grow from its current 15 tech professionals today to 32 as soon as possible.
“We are looking for three primary areas,” Hall said of his company’s immediate hiring plans for software engineers and two technical customer-focused positions; customer success and technical support analyst. “The customer success position is someone who is more of an account manager.”
On the job since September, Josh Massey is a .Net Developer. His hometown is in Whitesville down in Boone County where not too long ago he expected to leave his home state to find a job in technology. All that changed when he heard about the opportunities at Resolver in nearby Charleston.
“The fact that I could get into a tech company that wasn’t just based around coal mines or natural gas was surprising,” Massey said. “Having a large company like this in Charleston and hiring people has been a blessing.”