Open for Business

February 21, 2018

Area professionals see value in Liberty partnerships

As the Central Virginia region continues to grow in the engineering, software, technology, and research and development sectors, the academic programs that are preparing students for these fields are becoming vital resource wells for employers.

BWX Technologies Inc. (BWXT), a leading power generation technology company focused on nuclear energy, is one of Lynchburg’s top employers. Kenneth Camplin, president of BWXT’s nuclear services group, said he has been pleased to see Liberty grow its ABET-accredited mechanical and electrical engineering programs and computer science program in recent years. ABET is the foremost nongovernmental organization that accredits applied science, computing, engineering, and technology post-secondary education programs.

“There is a good alignment between our company and the nature of the programs (at Liberty) and the direction of the engineering school,” Camplin said. He noted that Liberty’s focus on energy as it builds the School of Engineering’s new facility at the Center for Energy Research & Education in nearby Bedford County, is of particular interest because his company will have significant manpower requirements in the future.

“There is no question that the product — mostly from your engineering, business, and other schools — fits our needs,” he said of Liberty. “We continue to see ourselves in the future as a primary consumer of your well-educated graduates.”

Small businesses also enjoy the talent pool springing up from Liberty.

Alumnus Matt Pantana (second from left) has hired a number of Liberty University graduates to work at his startup, Clearview Software, including Dean Hendricks (left), Stewart Waddy, Richie Worrell, and Lucas Hayden. (Photo by Leah Seavers)

“I start with Liberty; I rarely need to look anywhere else,” said Matt Pantana, CEO of Clearview Software, an enterprise resource planning company that services architects and engineers.

Pantana, a Liberty alumnus, co-founded the company in Lynchburg 11 years ago. He said the company considered moving the business to a larger market, but a lower cost of living in Lynchburg, a family-minded community, and the ability to recruit quality talent from Liberty helped him decide to grow the company where it had started.

“There is a lot of talent coming from Liberty and not a lot of competition — when we hire somebody we don’t lose them to somebody in town,” Pantana said. He pointed out that Liberty is unique because it attracts a certain type of student — someone with talent who is also grounded in a strong belief system.

In markets like Boston or New York, where many of his clients are, Pantana said that, statistically, “you are going to get smart people, but typically those students did not pick those schools because of a value system.”

“With Liberty, you find many people who could have attended any school, academically, but chose Liberty because of what Liberty is,” he added. “As a growing, but still relatively small business, it’s important to feel confident in both the aptitude and character of the people we bring in. The Liberty graduates we have hired thus far have exceeded expectations.”

Liberty is committed to preparing students for the local workforce and helping them to bring fresh ideas and strong values to the marketplace.

Alumnus Matt Schubert, CEO of Selective Wealth Management, lends advice to recent graduate Will Hungerford (left), senior Devin Freitas (right) and business student Alex Barker, all partners in a drone technology startup through Liberty’s Spark! program. (Photo by Leah Seavers)

Alumnus Matt Schubert, CEO of Selective Wealth Management, recently served as a mentor to a group of student entrepreneurs with a drone technology startup. The relationship was arranged through Liberty’s Entrepreneur’s Center and the Spark! program (read story).

Schubert’s experience leading an extremely successful Baltimore startup for over a decade brought a valuable perspective to the project. And the students are eager to learn from a leader who is actively growing his business in Lynchburg with a team of Liberty alumni — and with great success. Selective Wealth Management was recently recognized as No. 1 in Growth at a Reasonable Price (out of over 14,000 prescreened professionals) by SumZero, the world’s largest community exclusively for professional investors.

Schubert believes that with more talent being nurtured at Liberty, Lynchburg’s business landscape can change dramatically.

“I think people locally will be really amazed with the talent they see come out of Liberty and how its rising entrepreneurs can be a strong source of job creation over time.”

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