Grand Rapids tech firm OST names everlasting CEO

Electronic and I.T. consulting company Open up Units Systems Inc. (OST) has chosen interim president and CEO Lisa Jilek to head the enterprise on a long lasting basis.

Jilek served in the interim place for Grand Rapids-centered OST — which also has places of work in Minneapolis, Detroit and London — given that August. She succeeds previous president and CEO Meredith Bronk, who served virtually 25 many years at the firm.  

OST was founded in 1997 in Grand Rapids and since 2012 has been a portfolio corporation of Kodiak, Alaska-based mostly Koniag Inc., an Alaska Indigenous Regional Company established for the reward of much more than 3,800 Alutiiq shareholders from the Kodiak Island location. Koniag has a diversified portfolio that features organizations in the governing administration contracting, business I.T. and power and drinking water sectors, as nicely as authentic estate holdings through the place. 

Jilek, who lives in Minnesota, joined the OST group 4 many years ago as vice president of sales and promoting prior to going into a function as main advancement officer with a concentration on technique. She recently spoke with the Business Journal about OST’s aim on aiding customers adapt to new systems, and why the corporation anticipates additional advancement in Grand Rapids, where by neighborhood officers are attempting to develop a Midwest tech hub.


For the duration of your profession, you’ve started off your very own small business and pivoted to corporate management roles. How has your journey well prepared you to get on your role at OST? 

I started out my career at a consulting corporation dependent in Minnesota with the comprehension of what it was like to perform at a little business and the scrappiness that went into that, and the understanding of carrying several hats. It was a actually fantastic discovering expertise to commence off in a small business and in the consulting sector. From there, I made the decision to go out on my individual with a small business associate. We started our possess enterprise (Revved Final results Inc.) and seriously concentrated on the executive suite field and aiding govt suite entrepreneurs and operators extend their business enterprise. 

I then created a rather significant pivot into much more of the corporate arena and labored at Thomson Reuters. So I went from a tiny company — my possess organization — to a 50,000-in addition world wide organization. It was an fascinating however fantastic studying experience in a various environment. 


What originally drew you to OST? 

I was enamored by the chance of a company that has this kind of a fantastically robust lifestyle about staff members bringing their full selves, and it getting a position where by you can be current for life’s moments that subject and be in a substantial-progress natural environment that has aspirations to do major matters. It was the mirroring of people two factors and a profession go that just manufactured all the sense in the world for me at the time. Now, 4 many years afterwards, I uncover myself in this enormous prospect to wear the chief hat.


As president and CEO, how do you hope to direct OST towards far more growth and innovation?

OST just experienced its 25-calendar year anniversary last calendar year, and the company’s presently done some fairly good issues in that 25-yr record. In phrases of what is future, I would say we’re truly going to double down on our attempts to innovate and to bring companies to marketplace. 

I want us to be a prime competitor in our place. We have to keep on being at the forefront of our market from a technological innovation capability standpoint. And when I feel about what that basically signifies to compete as a best participant, it usually means that we have to keep on to entice and keep top rated talent.


As economic progress and small business leaders start a method to make Grand Rapids a tech hub, how valuable has it been for OST to commit in people and technological innovation right here?

Grand Rapids is our headquarters and it’s our most important place of work from an employee standpoint. As we proceed to increase, we are hunting at Grand Rapids as a hub from a expertise standpoint and as an financial investment in our roots. 

Later this 12 months, we’re scheduling to shift into a new business office that we’re tremendous energized about. The place will serve as a collaboration and relationship hub for both of those our crew and our customers to be equipped to use. I imagine one of the important things was to have this room … be a reflection of how persons want to do the job nowadays — the hybrid ecosystem, the collaboration surroundings and the areas for creative imagination. It’ll be a reflection of that new way of functioning.


Many providers are even now modifying to new know-how-driven techniques of performing enterprise. Why is it significant for them to continue to be up to date? 

For companies that have been all-around for a although and corporations that are hunting to remain applicable into the future, they have to spend in their electronic experiences, no matter whether which is building electronic products or generating electronic companies that are tied to their merchandise or generating a electronic purchasing encounter. 

The pandemic has accelerated investment in electronic and companies needing to go electronic. Now that we’re a range of years in, not only is there an expectation that consumers have to have issues be digital, but then from a company-to-business enterprise standpoint … they’ve bought a ton of back-conclude systems, equipment, procedures and infrastructure that they require to accelerate.


How does OST help shoppers adapt to emerging technologies? 

For corporations that need to have infrastructure like servers and storage, we are so deeply rooted in providing I.T. infrastructure that we can also assistance corporations not just generate the electronic ordeals on the items and companies side, but also what I’m likely to phone the electronic backbone — like an I.T. infrastructure that has the adaptability and the security to allow what the business desires. So we offer expert services on equally sides: the electronic backbone facet as perfectly as the items and providers facet.


What will enable OST increase for an additional 25 years? 

I feel it’s important that, as we’re on this growth route, we’re not heading to evaluate ourselves to other corporations in our place. Persons ask, ‘Who are your opponents?’ And you could say all the things from the major management consulting corporations to the specialized niche gamers. But for us, it isn’t about evaluating ourselves to other firms since I think we’re heading to do it uniquely our way. That stems from who we are culturally as an firm and our main values becoming our North Star. It’s all about enabling and empowering our men and women.