Chad Willard pulls no punches.
“If you’re not at the pinnacle, you won’t last here. If you’re looking for a job where you can hide, this is the wrong place. Everyone here has to input.” The gravel-voiced Floridian is forthright and honest, which is why his words command respect.
He doesn’t see much point in beating around the bush. It soon becomes clear that Chad has plan.com running through his veins. He not only describes working for the business as a ‘gift’ but he is positively beaming when talking of the capabilities of his tech team:
“Our technology is bleeding edge. We are generations ahead of everyone else. Hands down, our developers are the best developers I’ve met in my life: a group of really intelligent guys who move at an unparalleled pace.”
So too, does Chad. His monologues fly at machine-gun rapidity and are delivered with infectious conviction. You suspect one could spend time with Chad musing on almost any subject in the world and still remain enthralled.
As he points out, such belief in plan.com has to be authentic. You can’t fake relocating from Florida to Ballabeg and leaving your family behind; you have to mean it. You don’t swap the Sunshine State for getting stuck behind tractors on the way to work unless you know you’re part of something special. As Head of Tech, Chad is responsible for overseeing the roll out of new software products, leading his team of genius developers and data scientists into a brave new world where plan.com operates at the vanguard of tech.
As we touched upon previously, Chad is directly responsible for overseeing an ethos that is very much “Dream up what doesn’t exist” and then, his team of brainiacs are left to it. The business growth of plan.com has been phenomenal; Usain Bolt-like pace allied with Tony Montana’s insatiable hunger for more. Chad believes this is only the beginning, which is why he’s on a mission to find and hire more talented front-end Developers and an experienced Senior Data Analyst. Hand in hand they’ll help improve business performance and help push the plan.com partner experience to a whole new level.
“It’s like we’re on the launch pad,” he says.
“What has made this place accelerate is everyone having input. Everyone is given the opportunity to contribute, to challenge, to think of ideas and free-think. For those people where creativity may have been stifled before, at plan.com it can flourish and grow.”
For Chad, the plan.com journey is just beginning. However, Tech jobs are notoriously hard to fill, particularly here on the Isle of Man. The blissful comfort of our Traa Dy Looar outdoor lifestyle is often at odds with the “lights off, headphones on, plugged in” habitat of the stereotypical software developer. Add on top of this the loud, vibrant, fully energised plan.com HQ – suddenly the idea of filling a developer or analyst role seems like a tall order.
Nasty stereotypes aside, plan.com is more interested in how people think than the way they choose to work. Tech and data people need to be inquisitive, life-long learners fuelled by a passion to push the boundaries and explore the unknown.
Finance Director, Neil Kelly who we met earlier on in this three-part, is confident that the right people are out there to fill these roles even though there is a national shortage.
“We are willing to search around the globe for the top talent if needed, but it’s always a bonus if we can find and hire local talent especially as plan.com can provide stability, and development opportunities on Island for coders, analysts and developers.
Currently, our coders, developers and analysts hail from all corners of the globe. So, not only is our team brimming with top talent, it’s also dynamic, multicultural and diverse – which makes for quite an eclectic and refreshing mix.
“This is a real opportunity for anyone who wants to reach the pinnacle of their career. A CV will get you in the door, but it won’t keep you here,” adds Chad.
It may seem brusque but Chad is under no illusions as to the kind of person they need: you have to fit the mould. Chad doesn’t shy away from telling us it’s tough at the top and plan.com don’t necessarily do things the easy way. They challenge, they push boundaries and they aim for the absolute zenith. But they have an open, honest and trusting work environment.
In the analyst role, there will be a huge level of responsibility for developing strategy and delivering recommendations for all key areas. And for the developer role, the focus will be on designing and implementing new systems, as well as building new core modules and providing operational support.
“As soon as you prove that you are competent in your job role you are given autonomy.. We give our techies high-level tasks and let them get on with their jobs,” says Chad.
Chad talks a lot about the “comfort zone”. plan.com doesn’t have any time for those who reside within its confines. They only have time for those with a strong enough mindset to motivate themselves and others around them. The charisma given off by both Chad and Neil is fitting – they may not state it themselves, but it is exactly what they’re after in the new roles. It can be a tricky balancing act though, as Chad illuminates:
“You have to be confident without being arrogant. You have to be able to make decisions without being cocky.”
Another difficult line to traverse that we’ve mentioned previously is plan.com’s reputation as fun-time party animals versus the reality of tech-savvy workhorses. Chad is particularly fond of the culture of the business and realises how important it is for staff morale to have the blow-outs that make plan.com IOM famous.
Chad, it seems, is the personification of plan.com itself. He loves a party but only after putting everything of himself in to the work. If you fancy yourself as someone of Chad’s ilk and are ready to join a leading tech company, based right here on the Isle of Man why not check out the job specs and submit your application.