Techead

Phil and Philise Conein moved Techead from their apartment to Shockoe Bottom in 1990 and have since expanded from one to three buildings. “We were the first creative staffing firm in central Virginia,” he said.

Techead is a valuable staffing resource for a company in Charlottesville.

“Techead has been able to provide us with experts who have the specific skills that we need for special projects. Our requirements are pretty unique,” said Jennifer John, publishing systems manager for the Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group, a scientific, technical and medical publisher.

She finds Techead employees knowledgeable, friendly and responsive.

“That is so important in our deadline-driven field of STM publishing,” John said.

Richmond-based Techead specializes in providing temporary creative, digital and information technology staff. Its clients include Fortune 500 corporations as well as local, state and federal government agencies and small- to medium-sized businesses.

“We serve 18 states, including Hawaii,” said co-owner Phil Conein, who founded the company with his wife, Philise, in 1988. “We have international clients as well.

The couple started Techead in their one-bedroom apartment on Addison Street after seeing a need in the marketplace for a company that could provide temporary workers skilled in desktop publishing.

“Desktop computers had just come out, and there was a demand for making everything look nice,” said Phil Conein, adding he had an “aha” moment when the vice president of marketing for financial brokerage Wheat First Securities (now Wells Fargo Advisors) asked if he knew anyone that could provide temporary help for desktop publishing.

“We went by the seat of our pants and started a service to provide desktop temporary employees for various businesses,” he said.

The company has since added creative and IT talent to its pool of workers.

“We were the first creative staffing firm in central Virginia,” Conein said. “We had a service that people needed, especially Fortune 500 companies. We changed and grew with the internet.”

The couple moved the company to Shockoe Bottom in 1990 to build the business and have since expanded from one to three buildings.

Some temporary employees that Techead placed in various firms years ago are now employed by those same firms in management positions.

“We helped their careers and now they are hiring back from us,” Conein said.

In 2004, Techead merged with Mac IT, founded by Ruth Magee in 1989.

“It was a one-person shop so we just added clients,” Conein said.

In 2006, Techead spun off Shockoe.com, a separate division of the company, and sold it to Edwin Huertas, who was a partner in the business. Shockoe.com specializes in coding, programming for websites and back-end solutions as well as mobile app development.

Since 2015, Techead has grown in profit an average of 5 to 8 percent year over year.

“It’s slow and steady growth, which is fine,” Conein said.

In 2014, AT&T reached out to the company to see if Techead would consider serving as a subcontractor on the Next Generation Enterprise Network contract with the Navy and Marine Corps to provide cybersecurity personnel.

“We had to become a cleared facility. That was jumping through a lot of hoops and paperwork,” Conein said. “I learned a lot.”

Techead is working on the intranets of the Navy and Marine Corps on bases around the world.

“It has to be highly secure,” Conein said of the intranets. “They do a great job to keep information safe.”

The contract prompted Conein last year to start another division, U.S. Cyber Workforce, to provide government-cleared professionals for the Next Generation Enterprise Network contract.

“We decided we needed to make a separate division of Techead,” he said.

Paris Ashton, creative director for the Virginia Department of General Services, said Techead has “always focused on creative services along with the changing technological needs of their customers.”

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