Tim and Sara Hale & Work-Life 2.0
They were surprised when Governor Rick Scott chose to celebrate their company’s expansion and new location with his “Job Creator Award” at the Enterprise Florida Board & Stakeholders meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, just a few miles north of where they base their business and personal life in Palm Coast. The company Tim and Sara Hale founded in 2012, Coastal Cloud, a consulting and technology company, has grown to over 75 employees in just a few short years, with the expectation that it could double again in the next 12 months.
The couple’s journey began with corporate careers at Arthur Anderson, then Accenture, which now boasts more than 350,000 employees. They worked within the Washington metro area, until Tim made an exit, as he was in the enviable position of being a partner when the company went public. He landed a multi-year contract in Hawaii, which revolutionized their corporate high pressure/ metro paradigm.
It was in Hawaii that he and Sara decided it was time to synchronize their lifestyle aspirations with their incredible business and technical acumen. Tim admitted, “I tried retirement for six months, but I just wasn’t ready for that.” So they combined their skills, Tim as a business consultant and Sara as a software engineer, into Coastal Cloud.
They moved directly from Hawaii to Flagler County where they were building a vacation home on the beach and decided there was no reason people shouldn’t work where they want to live. They soon came up with the very appealing recruitment slogan, “Live at the Beach. Work in the Cloud.”
Riding the Re-Shoring Wave
Unlike other firms of their type, all their employees are based in the U.S. and they only work with cloud based technologies, particularly Salesforce. Tim describes Salesforce as a software “box of Legos” enabling him to “implement and con gure software for businesses or public service organizations.”
Sara explained, “What that means is companies used to purchase customer management or manufacturing software from an Oracle or SAP at considerable cost and sometimes risk. But Salesforce enables us to build and customize this very versatile product to the particular company’s individual needs.”
“I believe we are in the middle of a ‘re-shoring shift,’ the whole ‘The World Is Flat’ model, where everything was being offshored I lived, when Accenture went from 18,000 to over 300,000. But like manufacturing, IT is coming back in a more cost effective, more productive model. What we are able to do is sit down with clients and really understand their business, and then how to improve it; we are able to deliver a better customer experience, which in the nal analysis is what it is all about,” Tim said.
Coastal Cloud has worked with everything from small stage two companies to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, where they adapted Salesforce to track the movements and populations of black bears, alligators, panthers and other wildlife all across the state. “It integrates with Google Maps so every time there is a wildlife incident, like we’ve recently had with bears, we are able to document and track the encounter and the response all based on Salesforce,” Tim explained. “We tailor the product for the individual customer and their need.”
Sara elaborated, “We are about people; we have skilled people who can communicate with clients, do business analysis and data analysis to see how the software interacts with their needs and requirements. Another signi cant client of ours is CareerSource Florida. Every regional workforce board has the goal to connect the needs of business, like Coastal Cloud, with the talent pool in their area. We design the software that ensures all their programs and incentives can be deployed for individuals looking for work and businesses seeking workers.”
“With the collaboration tools we have at our disposal, you can literally work anywhere, combined with ability to build applications in the cloud in a more modular way. Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce.com, and Google Apps are all leaders in this new approach. We realized all the industry knowledge and business analysis knowledge we had could be joined with the capacity to actually build solutions, without having to design a custom program. That was and is a game changer.” •