H-1B visas – The Real Story

Is the H-1B Visa program good or bad? Does it hurt US workers and depress wages? Do Google and Silicon Valley firms really need the H1B visa program for their talent needs?

Overall, the H-1b Visa programs effects are generally positive and the program helps to bring in a lot of great people and talent to the U.S. However, about 25% of approved applications are fraudulent. A recent study by USC and University of Michigan researches estimated that the H-1B program has caused IT wages to be 5.1% lower than they would be without the H-1B visa program. WSJ article covering this study: https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-look-at-the-h-1b-visa-programs-impact-on-american-workers-1489483811

Many IT outsourcing firms (Infosys, Tata, Wipro, Cognizant, Accenture and others) use the program as a source of cheaper labor that allows them to make additional profits. These firms do this by paying below market wages to H-1B visa holders. Many of these H-1B holders are treated almost as indentured servants with their firms refusing to allow an application for a Green Card and onerous restrictions to keep the H-1B employee from seeking other employers.

On the other hand, Google and other Silicon Valley employers appear to be using the program to bring in top talent. The below graph shows a big difference between wages paid by outsourcing firms (Tata, Wipro, Infosys, Accenture, etc.) compared to wages paid by Technology firms (Google, Apple, Microsoft).

Here is a link to a more thorough article on this topic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-h-1b_us_5890d86ce4b0522c7d3d84af

We Are All New

Randy Dean has bought out most of Fast Switch Ltd. from his partners, breaking out the Dublin headquarters and several branch offices of the IT staffing and recruiting firm – which will debut a new name on Friday.

Founder and CEO Mark Pukita will keep the Fast Switch name along with the market based in Hartford, Connecticut, an office that he said via email is growing fast because of the concentration of huge corporations nearby. He’s also launching a U.S. Senate campaign to try to unseat Sen. Rob Portman in the 2022 Republican primary.

Carey Pachla, the third partner who heads the Detroit office, bought that location and will run it as a separate business.

Terms were not disclosed. The deals close Thursday, with Dean’s portion to relaunch Friday as Revel IT Inc.

The Revel portion of the business represents nearly 500 of the company’s 800 employees and consultants, and about $57 million of Fast Switch’s $94 million projected revenue for this year.

“The fun challenge with that is, how fast can we get back to that old level of sales?” Dean said. “I think we can do it pretty quickly.”

Besides the headquarters at 4900 Blazer Pkwy., Revel has offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Pheonix/Tuscson, and plans to open soon in Austin.

“There are new markets we want to go in pretty quickly – all the hot IT markets and good places to live,” Dean said. “Previously the three of us together had differing opinions of what type of markets we want to grow into.”

The transition will be “turnkey” for customers, employees and contractors, Dean said. Protecting those constituencies was the top goal of the sale, Pukita said via email.

“I know Randy can, and will, take Revel IT to the next level,” Pukita said. “I expect he’ll be at $100 (million) in revenue … in a very short period of time.”

Though a smaller portion today, the Hartford office also can reach that level of sales within seven years, Pukita said. Led locally by Ted Woytowicz, it serves East Coast clients from Boston to North Carolina.

“The concentration of Fortune 500 prospects in that corridor is mind-boggling,” Pukita said.

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After working for big IT firms including IBM, Pukita started the business in 1996 in his basement with $1,000, according to his campaign website. His co-founder was Bob Irwin, who went on to become CEO of the former Sterling Commerce Inc. and other tech companies. The name came from their software that sped up network switches, Dean said.

Dean joined at the end of 2004, when it was still a “lifestyle” business with about $5 million in sales, he said. His job was to grow the Columbus market, while Pukita dealt with a sudden decline in Detroit.

“We didn’t have any employee benefits,” Dean said. “We didn’t have a website.”

Pukita rearranged the business to make each geographic area its own profit center, and in 2005 made Dean a partner, compensated on a percentage of profits.

“He wasn’t sure I would take it, actually, because it was going from salary to no salary, and anything I would earn was based on what I would produce,” Dean said. “That partnership model really unleashed drive and created ownership for me, and made me more interested than I would have been as a salaried employee.”

The business took off: $25 million revenue in 2010 and double that in 2012. The next year, Dean had lunch with Columbus restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, who urged him to aim for $100 million. Fast Switch hit $94 million last year and is holding steady this year, Dean said.

Dean’s goal with Revel is to make Columbus a leader in adoption of artificial intelligence, including robotic process automation. Revel is adopting software robots internally for accounting and some steps in the recruiting process, and bringing ‘bots to clients.

“It effectively creates a virtual worker,” Dean said. “It takes something routine and lets a ‘bot do that at greatly reduced cost. The person can focus on not the drudgery parts of their job, but more on value-add.”

Dean said he involved management and employees in choosing the new name. The team went through about 40 candidate names, starting with a list of available URLs.

“It was a very fun experience choosing the name with the staff,” Dean said. “Pretty much anything with ‘tech’ in it, we said, ‘No, we don’t like that.'”

Randy Dean Buys Out the Majority of Fast Switch Ltd

The winner actually came from a dictionary of unusual vocabulary words the Dean had bought for his 8-year-old son.

“It’s a people business – if it’s done right, we really believe we can improve people’s lives, find opportunities for our consultants and also solve real business problems for our clients,” Dean said. “To ‘revel’ in something is to really enjoy what you’re doing.”

Revel IT Hits Staff Size Milestone of 800


Today Fast Revel IT announced it has reached a total staff size of over 800 associates. “We have added over 100 net new staff this year, which helped us break the 800 total staff member level,” stated Mark Pukita, Revel It’s CEO. “We are exceedingly grateful to all of our staff, clients, and suppliers. Thank you all!”

Revel IT Named One of SIA’s 2017 “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” Award Winners


Today, Revel IT. was named a winner of the 2017 Best Staffing Firms to Work For awards by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), the global advisor on staffing and workforce solutions. The winners were recognized at the 26th annual Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Forum North America, being held February 13-16th at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA. The winners represent companies who scored in the top quartile in each of the contest categories.

Approximately 300 firms sought participation in the program this year, which was conducted by SIA in conjunction with Quantum Workplace, an Omaha, NE-based company. Internal employees at each firm were asked to complete a 40-question online survey that measured 10 key engagement categories focusing on items including teamwork, trust in senior leaders, feeling valued, manager effectiveness, compensation and benefits.

In order to gather statistically sound results, participating companies must have reached a minimum level of employee participation, based on their total number of employees. Companies were ranked in each size category according to their overall score. Winners were chosen based entirely on the survey results.

Revel IT Announces Record Preliminary 2016 Financial Results


Mark Pukita, CEO of Fast Switch, Ltd., today announced Fast Switch’s preliminary 2016 financial results. For the full year, revenues exceeded $93.0 million. This is an increase of over 16% from the year prior.

Fast Switch ended 2016 at its highest staff level in its history, with a total staff of over 800 associates managed from its Columbus, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, Hartford, Connecticut, Denver, Colorado, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Ohio, Phoenix/Tucson, Arizona, and California locations.