Ask almost any business executive: “what’s the toughest part of your job?” Nine out of ten will tell you that it’s finding, hiring and keeping good people. It’s an age old problem that Joseph and Eugenia Sefcik, the co-founders of Employment Technologies Corporation (ETC), saw as an opportunity. With Joe’s background in employee sourcing and human resources, and Eugenia’s hands-on experience building branch banking teams, they had enough business experience to know that offering easy and effective employee testing and development tools would be the solution to a major challenge faced by the business community. They were both passionate about the potential they saw in their solution and about the opportunity it represented for them and for their future customers.
And so off they charged. Joe had watched employee training evolve from live role playing to computer-based automation and onto static video interactivity. And in the back of his mind he knew that he had had a yearning since his childhood to own his own business. Then an opportune change in management at Joe’s employer gave him and Eugenia the opening they had hoped for. In 1988, through a spin-off from Joe’s previous employer, together with four colleagues they launched ETC.
Since then, Employment Technologies Corporation has established itself as a pioneer and world’s #1 developer of employment simulations. ETC’s signature line of EASy Simulations® improves hiring, accelerates employee performance, and inspires success.
Joe and Eugenia have engaged in an ongoing continuous improvement effort to get there. And their products demonstrate the value they have created for their customers. ETC has evolved employment testing into the realm of simulation and, in so doing, has produced a solution that is more robust, accurate and fair than anything that came before. The company’s products, including its signature line of EASy Simulations ®, delivers proven, bottom line results including substantial reductions in interview time, absenteeism and job-related errors, as well as increases in sales referrals and shorter training sessions.
Over the years, Joe and Eugenia have availed themselves of a variety of resources available to Central Florida entrepreneurs as they worked to grow ETC. One of the important and valuable programs they have participated in to great advantage is the Florida SBDC at UCF’s Advisory Board Council (ABC), an economic development program that operates within the Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF and is funded by Orange County Government. The program is a no-cost professional advisory service for local companies. By acting as a matchmaker between businesses and volunteer advisors, all of whom are professionals in our community, the Advisory Board Council program acts to positively impact Orange County businesses through revenue growth and job creation. Businesses also benefit by improved operations, marketing, financial management, reduced costs, leadership development and succession planning.
In the case of Employment Technologies Corporation, their Advisory Board contributes regularly to their financial management expertise, sales activities and marketing. The Board, which includes SBDC at UCF’s certified business consultant Roger Greenwald and ABC program manager Jill Kaufman along with four additional outside advisors, meets quarterly to assist ETC.
“Our Advisory Board from the SBDC at UCF has been invaluable,” said Joe Sefcik. “Their input, consulting and coaching has helped us make important decisions and chart the direction of the company. Having these objective, external experts put 100% of their focus on our business allows us to better benchmark our performance and guide our thinking. We are grateful for the support we have received from our Advisory Board.”
Another Florida SBDC at UCF program that ETC has taken advantage of is the SBDC’s award winning Small Business Institute® (SBI®) program. SBI® connects local small businesses like ETC to the resources and management expertise of UCF’s College of Business Administration (UCF CBA) and the SBDC at UCF by providing confidential and professional management assistance through consulting projects performed by UCF CBA students. In the case of ETC, the Small Business Institute® team assisted in producing and evaluating valuable market research that helped the company make new product decisions.
Thanks to the Sefcik’s leadership, the dedication and hard work of their team and support from resources like the SBDC at UCF, the results at ETC have been outstanding. Their products have won myriad awards, including being a five-time winner of the prestigious Human Resources Executive, “Top HR Product of the Year” award. More recently, the company received the highly-regarded William C. Schwartz Innovation Award for their innovative practices and exceptional impact on Central Florida. The company has grown to more than XX employees. And revenues have increased steadily, with but a few slowdowns during periods of high unemployment and minimal hiring. In fact, over the past three years they have worked with their SBDC at UCF Advisory Board, ETC has seen revenues increase 40%.
Importantly for Joe and Eugenia and their team at ETC, they have been able to use their success to help their community. They are an active supporter of the University of Central Florida, having donated a psychology laboratory to the school and employed interns and students from the school. Fully one-third of current ETC employees are UCF graduates, many of whom came into the company through this route. Eugenia has taken a leadership role in supporting Kids Across America; in recent years her work has enabled more than 40 inner city children to attend a summer camp designed to encourage, equip and empower urban youth and their mentors through camping and education.
The combination of providing pioneering employment simulation solutions for its customers, being a growing Central Florida business for its employees and staying a meaningful contributor for its community makes Employment Technologies Corporation a success story indeed. The FSBDC at UCF is proud to have made a small contribution to that success.