SEP Featured in BioFutures Magazine 2011

March 22, 2011

Strong Company Culture Helps Software Engineering Professionals Succeed

By: William “Rusty” Wilburn, Biofutures Magazine 2011

Challenging as it is, getting a startup off the ground is just the first step in creating a successful business. Building a company culture that attracts the brightest employees and best clients is critical to sustaining long-term success.

Software Engineering Professionals (SEP), a homegrown Hoosier company that develops software systems and products, has done just that. Last year it was ranked number one among small- to medium-sized employers in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s 2010 Best Places to Work in Indiana list. That announcement was quickly followed by news that the owners had transferred 100% of SEP’s stock to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) established for the benefit of the employees.

“We have always had a strong culture,” explains Jeff Gilbert, founder and president of SEP. “Our employees come here largely because they want to be challenged and work on projects that make a difference. We are very proud of what they do. This move further strengthens the connection between SEP and its people. We are now all in the same boat together.

“Our clients hire us because we build quality products and can manage to a schedule and budget,” Gilbert adds.“People come to work here because we offer strong growth opportunities, variety and a great work environment. Strong client relationships, great people and consistent management are keys to our success.”

Founded by Rose-Hulman graduates in 1988, SEP now has 85 employees at its new headquarters in the Carmel City Center. Fifty percent of the firm’s workforce is made up of Rose-Hulman graduates, and more than 80% of its employees graduated from Indiana colleges or universities.

Attracting and keeping outstanding employees factored into the company’s decision to locate in the Carmel City Center.

The amenities, such as the Monon Trail, the Performing Arts Center and the many shops and restaurants, allow SEP employees to work surrounded by the vibrancy of all these entertainment and recreation options together in one place.

“We want to give our employees a place where they enjoy working,” Gilbert emphasizes. “Our culture is at the heart of everything we do, and giving them a new building with specific amenities was important to us.”

SEP develops software systems and products for its clients who are large companies developing software products for the medical, automotive, energy, national defense, aerospace and health care fields.“These products assist nurses, treat cancer, provide patient care, connect patients to doctors, optimize energy, improve aviation safety and help defend this country,” Gilbert says.

According to the company, 88% of SEP’s business comes from Fortune and Global 1000 companies. Of that, 54% is in the medical/health care industry, 19% in aerospace, 10% in logistics and 15% in national defense.

Gilbert would say there is more to the story. SEP has always had the luxury of concentrating on the quality of its services and culture because it has always been employee and privately held. “We haven’t been pressured to grow too fast and make short-term decisions. It almost isn’t fair to our competition. We don’t have to take every project that comes along and we can pick and choose the people we hire.”