Liza Massey would like to give you a job. If you've got the right technical expertise, she probably knows a company that will hire you — and she'd very much like to get the two of you together.
"We've got 1,000 jobs, and I feel personally responsible for filling every single one of them," she says, sitting in her office above the intersection of Broadway and First Avenue.
As president and CEO of the Nashville Technology Council, Massey's challenged herself to close the gap between the opportunities that exist here — in everything from engineering to programming for mobile apps — and the highly skilled workforce Nashville needs to fill those jobs. This involves, among other things, coordinating with the more than 400 members of the council. Ask her to name them — the list includes companies ranging from titans like Microsoft to homegrown businesses like email marketers Emma, government agencies, universities and startup entrepreneurs — and she'll gladly rattle them off with an ease you might not expect from someone who's been here only six months. "I moved on the weekend and started work on Tuesday after Labor Day," she says.
Massey thinks Nashville has what it takes to be a tech boom town, and while that might sound surprising, even to some Nashvillians, she knows what she's talking about. A former chief information officer for the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, she's worked for 17 years in public sector technology, with stints in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas along the way, and several years with her own consulting business.
When her husband (who works in the tech industry) was presented with an opportunity to move wherever he wanted last year, Massey started looking at jobs all over the country. She saw the Nashville Tech Council listing and was intrigued. "I read it before looking at where it was," she said. "When I saw it was in Nashville, I thought, 'Wow, Nashville has a tech council? What's going on here?' "
What's going on, she says, is a tech scene on the rise, and a community buzzing with innovators that's well ahead of its reputation — that, and a great place to live. And about those jobs: The NTC puts out a list every quarter, so get those skills sharpened up.
The People:The Legend: Little Jimmy Dickens
The Community Builder: Dan Heller
The Power Couple: Peter Depp and Kristin Vasquez
The Broadcaster: Tom Randles
The Barber: Mark Walker
The Internet Star: Jessica Frech
The Teacher: Gatluak Ter Thach
The Chef: Laura Wilson
The Artist: Vesna Pavlovic
The Councilman: Fabian Bedne
The Saxman: Bobby Keys
The Coach: Ed Temple
The Designers: Jamie and the Jones
The Enforcer: Brian McGrattan
The Bird Brains: Birdcloud
The Poet: Sebastian Jones
The Geeks: Janet and Mike Lee