By Nancy Dahlberg
Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms with $619 billion in assets, is setting up a Blackstone Technology & Innovations (BXTI) office in Miami, with plans to create more than 200 high-paying tech jobs for local talent over the next couple of years.
Last month, Blackstone signed a lease for 41,000 square feet in downtown Miami. The offices will be in the 2 MiamiCentral building, part of the mixed-used development that includes the Brightline rail station. Being next to the Brightline was important to the team and its South Florida regional recruiting strategy. Some office build-outs are ongoing, and the plan is to move in by early summer. Right now the team is in a temporary space in the Southeast Financial Center.
Blackstone’s Adam Fletcher, Chief Information Security Officer, and Josh Schertzer, Chief Technology Officer of Enterprise Technology, are leading the new office. Schertzer, who grew up in the New York area and has worked for Blackstone for 14 years, is responsible for cloud engineering and devops, and that includes overseeing productivity tools, voice and video infrastructure and other applications that are foundational to the firm. Fletcher, who grew up in western Broward, runs the firm’s cybersecurity program, including incident response, threat management, application and cloud security, and identity and access management. He also co-leads a program across Blackstone’s portfolio companies aimed at improving and sharing cyber best practices. Both Schertzer and Fletcher also manage a small portfolio of early stage technology investments.
“That’s what we’re doing here and we’re just getting started,” said Schertzer. “It’s been quite a ride so far.”
On its website – Blackstone.com/careers – are some 30 job postings for the new Miami office, including a security operations manager, an authentication engineer, a cloud security engineer and an identity management engineering lead on the cybersecurity side. On the enterprise tech side, the openings include a salesforce product manager, a salesforce technical lead, an end user computing engineering lead, a workflows technology lead, a devops engineer, and a site reliability engineer.
“Our overarching goal is really to build one of the larger tech presences down here over the next few years and hire locally and contribute to the growth of the community,” said Fletcher.
Refresh Miami reached out to Schertzer and Fletcher to learn more about the jobs and Blackstone’s plans for Miami. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
What will your tech teams be building in Miami?
JS: “Areas that we're focusing on now are things like self service and automation both in terms of infrastructure technology automation as well as business process workflows … enabling our user base -- Blackstone employees, our investors and our portfolio companies -- to essentially have access to all the data that they need in order to make key decisions and also the productivity required from anywhere in the world. And so that's really our vision, and all of the projects that we're working on and the team that we're looking to scale are around enabling the business to make faster decisions, to make good decisions, with the right data to do so.
AF: The firm places a high value on cybersecurity and its role in protecting our businesses from cyber threats that can either damage our reputation or result in data loss, disruption of business operations, or even direct financial loss. I will be building my cybersecurity team down here across a variety of roles, including security operations, engineering, cloud security, application security and other functions as well.
JS: We also have a pretty ambitious goal to [migrate to] the cloud by the end of 2021. In terms of the roles that we've got to accommodate that cloud migration and also our broader set of initiatives, it’s everything from cloud engineering and devops, data visualization and engineering data and analytics, cybersecurity, help desk and software development. There are roles open across the board. [Check out the Blackstone Miami positions here.]
How are you going about the hiring and developing the pipeline? Have you already started hiring?
JS: We’re trying to tackle this in a number of ways. We're currently, alongside our Miami office, working with a number of universities, engaging with them on programs for creating pipelines and developing junior talent. I also want to call out that we're looking to do that and take the opportunity to really diversify our talent pool as much as possible as well. That’s a core value of Blackstone and of ours as a technology organization.
AF: We've already started hiring locally, via our internal recruitment team and partners down here, sourcing in the traditional way as well as some novel ways. We've already had two of what we call Super Days where we've got a concentrated effort to bring candidates in and have them meet people across mine and Josh's organizations with a goal of making a number of decisions on a single day and those have been successful so far.
And as Josh said, we've been meeting with a lot of local organizations, whether those are universities or colleges talking about the programs that they have in technology, computer science, cybersecurity, cloud and all the ways where they are training the next generation of technologists, as well as boot camp type organizations involved in upskilling, or working with veterans transitioning into the workforce or working with people who are coming back to the workforce after a break. Our overarching goal is really to build one of the larger tech presences down here over the next few years and hire locally and contribute to the community and the growth of that community.
What’s the culture like at Blackstone?
JS: It's a fast-paced environment, a growing one, where curiosity is something that's extremely welcome, as well as the diverse differences of opinion and culture. You'll find in Blackstone that there are people that are willing to go above and beyond their day job to volunteer and to engage in local community programs.
Within technology and as a whole with Blackstone, you’ll find people that value working as part of a team, that are driven, that are highly collaborative. From a technology standpoint, we want folks that not only want to work with top engineers, but also are excited to work with professionals across different businesses within our organization, within private equity, within real estate.
I think one of the cool things about Blackstone is that our technology groups in general are very engaged with their business groups. There's a great chemistry there where folks really are trying to push the ball forward from both sides of the court. It’s a great place to be.
One of our primary missions is to is to recruit and retain diversified talent… We've got active affinity networks including a women’s network, diversity champions, recruiting programs, partnerships to attract diverse candidates. We have our veterans network. We've got a number of D&I initiatives across the firm, and then within BXTI we have a dedicated D&I team as well. So it's very much embedded into our culture.
Where do you hope the BXTI office will be by the end of 2022?
AF: The hope is to get to around 200 people hires, in our in our new office, by the end of next year. We've had a lot of inbounds from partners all around the city and by that time we'll have a number of programs on the charitable side, on the university side. We'll have career fairs going, and internship programs and obviously, hiring from the local tech community, all the way from college graduate up to experienced hires.
How has Miami treated you so far?
AF: I think the welcome here has been incredible. It has been a great transition back for me and my young family. I think that we came here at a perfect time for us -- my daughter is going to start elementary school in the fall. We love where we settled in Coconut Grove. We've absolutely been loving it for the three months that we've been back.
JS: I live here in Edgewater. I love Edgewater. I love that it's central within the city. You can feel the growth of the city, see the cranes. I feel like we didn't miss the boat ... We're in the early stages of the city, even though there's been a tremendous amount of work from a number of organizations over the course of the better half of a decade to get to this point, which has been quite exciting to see. It's nice to be here and watch it come to fruition and be a part of it.
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