Job news: Global law firm to open Tampa shared-services center

The Baker McKenzie law firm, a company with 78 offices in 46 countries, has chosen Tampa for an innovative service center, a move expected to create 300 new jobs here by the time the center is fully operating in 2020.

Jamie Lawless, the center’s Executive Director, says the decision to locate in Tampa was an easy one – and she readily cites a number of benefits including the Bay Area's development projects, its strong workforce, diverse talent base, accessibility to international travelers, dynamic sports activities and culture.

“It was really important to us that we land in a top business destination,” she says. “Tampa is booming. Quite frankly, we wanted to be part of that.”

She says the company officials were “absolutely blown away” by the hospitality.

“Baker [McKenzie] has just as much to offer Tampa as Tampa has to offer us, and we’re excited about that,” adds Lawless, who previously worked as Director of Implementation and Chief Operating Officer of the firm’s Washington, D.C. and New York offices. “We’re very pleased they’re offering us an opportunity to continue to grow in a cost-effective market.”

The Tampa Center, part of the practice’s initiative to modernize the way it delivers services, will be one of three shared services centers for Baker McKenzie. The others are in Manila, Philippines, and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Essentially the center brings in-house professionals that serve clients’ needs in the areas of legal services, finance, IT, knowledge management, operations, business development, marketing and communications, and talent.

“It helps us better manage the resources and the quality of work that is ultimately being delivered to our clients,” she explains.

The firm “will be investing several million over the next several years” in the Tampa Center, she says.

Baker McKenzie is committed to choosing a space in Tampa where people can be collaborative, where it can be “fun, open, and different from a traditional practicing law office,” Lawless adds.

The firm will be recruiting for leadership positions initially, then for the teams operating in specialty services. While there is the potential for transferring those already employed by the practice, she expects the firm to hire many locally.

Baker McKenzie has global revenues approaching $3 billion for 2018.

Solar Source adds team members

Meanwhile, the Largo-based Solar Source has acquired Superior Solar Systems, a major solar contractor in Orlando, a move that virtually doubles the company’s capacity.

“Solar Source has already seen outstanding growth as the solar electric industry and continues to blossom. The implementation of the popular co-op programs has already doubled the size of our technical team, and now with the acquisition of Superior Solar Systems in Orlando, we have doubled the size of our overall staff as well,” says Rick Gilbert, Executive Vice President. “We plan to continue this growth pattern and are looking for experienced solar installers and salespeople on a continuing basis now.”

Superior Solar, located in Altamonte Springs, will use the name Solar Source and retain its existing employees and office.

Solar Source has been selling residential solar systems since 1984. It has been growing -- particularly in the commercial and utility market. Among its projects are solar carports at LEGOLAND, a solar parking canopy at Tampa International Airport and a student-funded rooftop array at the University of South Florida.

Learn more about the company.

Read on for more Tampa Bay job news

• A Lutz-based training and career development company is expanding into the veterans job market after gaining approval to provide services paid for by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Access Computer Training, which has been working with the unemployed and others who want to brush up their office skills, is also making plans to expand its curriculum to serve the growing tech sector in Tampa Bay.

“It [ACT] is computer training, but it is so much more. We are truly looking at the end goal, which is job placement,” says owner Kristin Pelletier.

In addition to software training, Pelletier offers personalized services that build confidence -- resume writing, practice interviews, goal setting and time management. She endeavors to help people find their passion and how they can make money from it.

With approval from the State Approving Agency, the school at 1537 Dale Mabry Highway now can offer fully paid training to veterans and their spouses who qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

It currently offers a Microsoft Office course, which lasts three months, and a broader business program that includes Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, Google and advanced skills, which lasts four months. Upon completion, students receive a diploma.

“We get really intense into Word and Excel,” says Pelletier, who graduated from Beverly High School in Beverly, MA. “We really focus on a lot of the different aspects of both of those programs.”

Classes are offered from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays on an ongoing basis. Students can be placed in a class after they have funding approval. “Not everybody starts at the same time and not everybody finishes at the same time,” she notes.

Her plans include adding IT instruction in about a year, specifically the computer languages A+, Security+, and Net+ through CompTia. She’s hoping to find an instructor for the class within six to 12 months; she’s been looking for a Microsoft Office trainer.

“I pretty much do it all,” says Pelletier, who developed her 4-year-old business with help from a friend and mentor. “I’d really like to go out and do business development.”

• An alternative fuels technology company, Materials Lifecycle Management Company (MLMC), has announced it will be opening a new facility in Plant City, adding 45 jobs and investing more than $10 million. The company will be hiring for a variety of positions including production, maintenance, sales, logistics, control room operation, and administration. The Parker, Colorado-based MLMC facility is to occupy approximately 103,000 square feet at 2067 S. County Line Road. The facility is expected to convert more than 150,000 tons a year of the manufacturing process and packaging waste materials from local businesses into energy, and deliver it to customers.

Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. 
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