Bold new step for IT-ology, Innovista

This just came in a few minutes ago:

It’s a sign of progress. Friday, the Tower at 1301 Gervais — a landmark in the Columbia skyline — becomes IT-oLogy @ Innovista.

The installation of the IT-oLogy @ Innovista signage exemplifies the already successful partnership between IT-oLogy and Innovista to foster the development, growth and relocation of information technology (IT) companies, small and large.

“This marks the fruition of one of our original visions: a district with the strategic clustering of IT companies in one locality,” said Don Herriott, Director of Innovista Partnerships. “More companies are seeing the advantages of co-location, and IT-oLogy @ Innovista now houses 9 IT companies, and counting.”

SignIT-oLogy’s mission is to promote, teach and grow the IT talent pipeline and profession. With Innovista’s mission of creating, attracting and growing knowledge-based companies in the Midlands of South Carolina, the two constitute a perfect partnership for recruiting to the new IT-oLogy @ Innovista building.  Clustering IT companies in a single location, such as the Tower at 1301 Gervais St., can open the door for new opportunities for partnership and business development, stimulate new ideas and industry innovation and help in the recruitment of new companies to the region.

“Our goal is to bring the IT community together in a collaborative environment to develop the IT pipeline through programs at all levels,” said Lonnie Emard, executive director of IT-oLogy. “The partnership with Innovista is a perfect example of this collaborative effort because we are bringing together people and companies that are dedicated to both of our missions.”

The establishment of an IT district is not about a sign at the top of the Tower at 1301 Gervais St. While that is a visible representation of the partnership, the real story is what happens both inside and outside of the building. The uniqueness of IT-oLogy is that it is not a single company or entity; instead, it is a non-profit collaboration of companies, academic institutions and organizations uniting to address the nationwide shortage of skilled IT professionals. To address this challenge, IT-oLogy offers K-12 programs where students explore numerous IT career options, internships for undergraduate students and continuing education opportunities that keep professionals constantly learning and up-to-date. When all this happens, the result is a vibrant economic picture, which is the goal of Innovista.

The confluence of opportunities in IT-oLogy @ Innovista will provide a home in the community for local talent as well. “At the University of South Carolina, our responsibility to students and alumni extends beyond education. It includes a commitment to helping them find jobs, good jobs, when they graduate,” said Dr. Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina. “The pairing of IT-oLogy and Innovista is perfect because of their complementary missions, each focused on growing our innovation economy in this region and across South Carolina.”

“From the outset, the vision of IT-oLogy has been to have business and academic partners collaborate to advance IT talent,” Emard said. “The lack of IT talent is a national epidemic that is solved in a local manner. The establishment of IT-oLogy @ Innovista is a visible representation of bringing companies together to collaborate and partner, fostering new ideas and technologies.”

Recently, IT-oLogy announced the establishment of the branch IT-oLogy @ University Center of Greenville, located in Greenville, S.C. This is yet another way IT-oLogy is working locally to address a national issue. In the future, IT-oLogy will continue to open branches across the nation as a way to advance IT talent in a grassroots manner.

Innovista is a strategic economic development effort that is connecting USC and university-spawned innovations with entrepreneurs, businesses and stakeholders. Its purpose is to help attract and create technology-intensive, knowledge-based companies, which result in higher-paying jobs and raise the standard of living in South Carolina.

For more information about Innovista, visit

This is interesting on a number of levels.

Several months ago, I heard a rumor that Innovista’s headquarters were going to move from the USC campus to this building, in part to emphasize the point (emphasized by Don Herriott) that Innovista is about the whole community, not just those blocks in the area described by Assembly and the river, Gervais and the baseball stadium (and certainly far, far more than those couple of buildings people keep going on about).

Then I heard that wasn’t right. Maybe this idea is what started the rumor I’d heard.

Anyway, this is interesting, and I’m not sure what all the ramifications are yet…

6 thoughts on “Bold new step for IT-ology, Innovista

  1. Doug Ross

    The key word in that whole bunch of marketing b.s. is “nonprofit”.

    How many real private sector jobs are part of this latest marketing campaign?

    Will it be like the other Innovista announcements that are long on words and short on actual jobs? Their website still lists two companies who have no presence and never did anything but generate a press release.

    I’ll believe Innovista is real when you can point me to a website of an actual company with more than a couple employees who are not affiliated with USC.

    Til then, we can keep laughing at the $100+ million wasted.

  2. Doug Ross

    Well, I spent a little time reviewing IT-ology’s website.

    The bottom line is that they don’t produce anything. They don’t create jobs, they run programs to expose kids to IT careers and piggyback off other events run by other organizations.

    It’s not Google. It’s funded by Blue Cross/IBM/and USC. I’d love to see how much money each is putting into the non-profit. Staff size appears to be about 6 people so I’m guessing it’s about $1 million total.

    I’ve only worked in IT for 30 years so I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. I also learned my skills at a vocational high school where we spent every other week for three years in a computer lab learning to program. That’s where South Carolina lags behind the rest of the country. Instead of using high school to prepare kids for the world of work, they run everyone through a curriculum filled with worthless activity.

    The sign I’d like to see outside IT-ology is a counter that increments every time they create a new job.

  3. Silence

    Whatever happend to Affinity – as in, “The Affinity Building”? Having your name on a building downtown might not be the best idea. Sure, some companies have survived it, but some only barely.
    Wachovia, Tapp’s, Lourie’s, Bank of America, Carolina First, I could go on….

  4. Ralph Hightower

    I want to see the Midlands become a technology magnet again. I worked at NCR for many years in West Columbia. NCR provided financial contributions to USC’s Engineering College and Computer Science department.

    For a company that provides computer software or services, downtown Columbia is a great place to be. For a company that also does manufacturing, such as building computers as NCR E&M-West Columbia did, land is a necessity for the plant and also for expansion.

    I also worked for Affinity. It was a great place to work with talented computer programmers. They had a great product. I worked on the web version of their product. I enjoyed working in downtown Columbia; great local restaurants to have lunch. I also spent many a Saturday and a Sunday at the Affinity Building working on projects.

    Affinity’s failure was: 1) because they had problems closing deals; 2) clients kept changing requirements on their project.

    With continual changing requirements, there is an absolute: the project will never, ever, be completed! Affinity’s management never had the balls to say, “Okay, this change will cost this much and delay the project by this much.” Instead Affinity’s Manglement said “Do you want fries with that? Do you want to supersize your drink?”

  5. Silence

    @ Ralph – Mastering the art of billing for the change order is key to being a contractor. That’s where you make the real money. Lowball the initial bid and then gouge them on the change order. There must not have been any ex-military contractors over there in top management….

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