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
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
“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
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.”