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July 2023 TechCast | A closer look at Arizona’s shifting IT industry

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Should we build out our internal IT department or work with a managed service provider? Should we onshore or offshore IT support? How can we attract qualified IT talent?

The July 2023 episode of the Arizona Technology Council’s AZTechCast podcast featured experts including Alex Cole, CEO of Cole Technologies; Will Davis, director, Data & Analytics at Slalom; and Jackie Shipley, chief people officer at AccountabilIT. These leaders joined Steve Zylstra, Council president and CEO, and Karen Nowicki, president and owner of Phoenix Business RadioX, in discussing tips for how to enhance your IT strategy and better prepare for shifting trends in technology.


In this hour-long episode, the panel of three experts defined information technology, emphasized the importance of having an IT department, team or resource on hand and debated the pros and cons of having an internal IT department and working with a managed service provider. Throughout this entire conversation, the experts shed light on some of the IT challenges they regularly see Arizona companies struggling with and discussed how our state can better train, recruit and retain highly qualified IT talent.

Alex Cole is the founder and CEO of Cole Technologies, and is an accomplished IT and cybersecurity professional with extensive expertise in leading the implementation of next-generation IT solutions. He has helped to manage and deliver large-scale enterprise IT projects in the healthcare, defense and manufacturing industries. He is passionate about revolutionizing the way small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) handle their IT and cybersecurity through compliance with industry standard frameworks including CMMC, SOC2, HIPAA and Risk Management Framework (RMF). By implementing strategy-first and holistic IT and cybersecurity solutions, he has been able to drive innovation and efficiency, reducing the time to value for an organization to just 30 days.

Jackie Shipley has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry. As AccountabilIT’s chief people officer, she manages human resources, including benefit administration, payroll, recruitment and employee relations. AccountabilIT is an all-in-one technology partner and leading managed security services provider. As a Microsoft Gold Partner and award-winning MSP and MSSP, AccountabilIT helps organizations make the right technology investments and make the most out of newly adopted technology. Although they offer enterprise-level operations and solutions, clients still can count on tailored and personalized service from people who truly care about you and your business.

Finally, Will Davis serves as the director of Data and Analytics for Slalom’s Phoenix office. He leads a large and growing team that helps clients unlock the value of their data through analysis, visualization and overall business strategy. He has been with Slalom for the past six years and has over a decade of experience in the technology consulting space, advising clients ranging from deeply impactful non-profits to Fortune 10 cornerstones. Will also previously served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, where he was a developmental engineer and mission manager for satellite and test vehicle rocket launches.

In conclusion, these experts were convinced that Arizona has huge potential to grow its IT workforce and become more of a national leader in IT. They also emphasized that if your organization’s approach to IT needs to be revisited, now’s a great time to dive in and elevate your IT capabilities. Take a listen below to hear more of what they had to say!


Founder & CEO, Cole Technologies

Director, Data & Analytics, Slalom

Chief People Officer, AccountabilIT



About AZTechCast
The official podcast of the Arizona Technology Council, AZTechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond. Through the art of the connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s hosts and guests share success stories, tech news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling Arizona’s growing technology ecosystem. Visit to learn more or to listen to recent episodes.

About Phoenix Business RadioX
Karen Nowicki is the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX. Amplifying the voice of business, Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession and community. A successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™, Nowicki is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. In addition, Nowicki has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room and Mid-Day Arizona. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, she has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.


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