Morales gift leaves information and computing services legacy

spring 2012 morales

In anticipation of his company’s 30th anniversary, Jorge Morales wanted to leave a legacy as he prepared to hand over the reins of the family business to his son, Michael. He chose the University of North Florida as the way to establish that legacy and help countless students for generations to come.

 

Morales, chairman and CEO of Information and Computing Services, decided to create an endowment to fund a scholarship that his company has been providing on an annual basis for the last five years. The scholarship is for juniors and seniors majoring in computing and information sciences.

 

But the scholarship goes much deeper than merely marking an anniversary. It also helps guarantee a potential source of ingenuity and innovation for his Jacksonville company in the future.

 

Morales recalled a time when the company primarily hired new employees with previous experience. When it became harder and harder to find such workers in a tight job market, the company turned to UNF interns.

 

“We realized we needed to change the way we were recruiting new employees and find a different talent pool,” Morales said. “UNF provided us with students with the right skills, the right attitude and the right maturity level. It has really paid off handsomely for us.”

 

Today the company, which specializes in wireless, mobile and enterprise software, employs more than 100 workers, including nine UNF graduates. Many of these alumni have been recipients of the company’s previous scholarships.

 

One such scholarship recipient is Brandon Parker, a 2008 graduate who has been working with the company since graduation.  

 

Parker is involved in various software development projects and is referred to as “The Sponge” around the company’s offices because he absorbs new technology so quickly. He recently developed an iPhone application that can be used in warehouses to scan barcodes. It only took him two days.

“ICS has been a great experience because of all the opportunities I’ve had to advance my knowledge and learn new technologies,” Parker said. “In a smaller company such as ICS, you’re able to wear many different hats and explore different areas.”

 

Stories such as Parker’s illustrate the symbiotic relationship between the company and the University.

 

“UNF is filling a wonderful role for our company,” Morales says. “We could think of no better way to continue to facilitate that process than through an endowed scholarship.”

 

Dr. Mark Tumeo, dean of the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction, said the benefits of the collaboration go beyond the scholarship.

 

“UNF works with companies such as ICS to ensure that our students have both the theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience needed to allow them to become productive, valuable employees immediately upon graduation,” he said. “This type of public-private partnership is what will help grow Jacksonville’s economy and allow our industries to compete successfully in an ever increasing global market.”

 

Even after Morales hands off day-to-day operations to his son, he plans to remain chairman of the company so he can watch the continually blossoming relationship between ICS and UNF.

 

“We fully support what UNF is doing in the community and its role in providing outstanding graduates to fuel businesses such as ours.”