Andy Frank, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, launched the Richmond-based company UDig in 2001. Frank graduated from James Madison University in 1994, and the company seeks to bring other JMU alumni and recent graduates on board.
With its start of a few employees, UDig has grown significantly to about thirty full-time staff and 135 consultants with offices in four additional locations: Ashburn, Hampton Roads, Raleigh, and Nashville. It’s no surprise that Inc. Magazine named UDig as one of the fastest growing private companies in 2008, 2011, and 2015.
Virginia Business and Best Companies Group also recognized UDig in their 2016 Best Places to Work in Virginia list.
UDig engages with a range of clients in variety of industries to solve their problems through technology solutions. However, UDig has proven its innovation, as the company shifted its mission over the past eighteen months. To better accommodate its clients, UDig expanded upon traditional IT staffing to include consulting services and opened its Innovation Studio to provide prototyping, software development, and project implementation.
“We’re able to provide our unique clients with additional resources,” Amy Thompson, Vice President of Marketing & Strategy, said of the Innovation Studio. “We have more stake in our clients and have more meaningful services.”
Thompson used her network to connect with fellow JMU alum Andy Frank and land her role at UDig, which demonstrates the lasting sense of community that JMU creates in its students. The company believes in the knowledge and foundation of skills that JMU instilled in its students. They attended the Spring Career & Internship Fair to engage with the student body and found this to be true.
“We had a positive experience and were impressed by the caliber of students and their preparedness and knowledge of the job market and process, more so than in other institutions,” Thompson said.
However, Thompson pointed out that students in attendance passed the UDig table at the career fair, thinking they were only looking for Business majors. However, UDig looks for more than Business majors. Make sure you view their Talent Acquisition Specialist posting on Recruit-A-Duke!
“A direct message […] speak volumes,” Carter said.
JMU alumni at UDig encourage students to attend the career fair and use Career & Academic Planning in order to jumpstart your career.
“I remember interviewing on campus and going to site visits with both IBM and EDS my senior year. Although I didn’t end up pursuing opportunities with either company, the process exposed me to available opportunities and helped me realize what was not the right fit for me at that time. In that case, it was almost more beneficial to learn what I didn’t like in order for me to ultimately find the right fit,” Andy Frank said.
“I participated in career fairs and on-campus interviewing as a student at JMU. As a business major, it was great to be able to interact with employers on campus and learn about organizations I wouldn’t have otherwise considered,” Thompson said.
Founded by a JMU alum, UDig understands the JMU student and carries on the university’s culture of innovation and achievement.
“Millennials don’t want to be placed somewhere where they don’t make an impact,” Libby Carter, Corporate Talent Acquisition Specialist, said. “UDig really values people just coming [into their career]. Andy Frank even asks me to solve problems. It’s refreshing that he cares about what I have to say, and I contribute to the betterment of the company.”
“I like the feeling of accountability and impact,” Thompson said of working at UDig, compared to a large corporation. “We have a culture of doing interesting work and contributing to the future of organization.”
JMU is proud of its alumni, and congratulates UDig on all they’ve accomplished and continue to achieve!
Read how JMU prepared and led the alumni now working at UDig:
Taylor Long, ’12, Communications Major, Talent Acquisition Specialist
“I was a Communication major, and I definitely think my major taught me how to communicate effectively with anyone I meet both verbally and nonverbally. I also participated in an internship practicum for my major with the Athletic Department. My internship granted me real-world experience while still in college, which I think helped me to develop professional skills early on. I also played club soccer while attending JMU which I think taught me how to be a team player on and off the field. I can honestly say that I use all of these skills each day in my job as a Talent Acquisition Specialist at UDig.”
Tanya Cornwell, ’01, Kinesiology Sport Management Major, Office Manager
“After graduating with a Sports Management major and Business minor, I went directly into sports management in Richmond. My experience working for the Athletic Department my junior and senior years played a large part in preparing me for my first job and my job here at UDig. My hands on experience for the Athletic Department helped me to put what I was learning in the classroom into action and develop real life strategy and organizational skills, time management, and get a taste for how businesses operate. I am constantly thinking back to my Accounting and Small Business classes in my role as Office Manager at UDig and I am thankful that although I didn’t end up in the business I majored in, I am able to succeed in any task handed to me because of the fundamental skills I developed at JMU. Also to note: I love JMU so much! I like to go back any chance I get. My kids even know the fight song by heart! ”
Kelly Bien, ’14, History Major, Account Services Coordinator
“I graduated with a History major but for a while starting out I was a Hospitality major. As a Hospitality major, I was assigned a project where I was expected to interview industry managers. This project introduced me to my first real life experience speaking with professionals, which I have to do all the time as an Account Services Coordinator for UDig. I was also an active member of my sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, on campus. With ASA, I participated in many fundraising events for organizations such as the Special Olympics and M.A.D.D where I was expected to speak and negotiate with all different types of people whom I had never spoken to before! UDig is full of surprises and every day I speak with new and interesting people and I think my experiences at JMU definitely cater toward my everyday work.”
Andy Frank, ’94, Business and CIS Major, Founder & Chief Executive Officer
“The academics at JMU were fundamentally instrumental in helping prepare me for my career but beyond the academics, I think that the network and relationships I built during my time as a JMU student and as an alumnus were arguably even more essential in my quest to build a business from the ground up.”
Amy Thompson, ’98, Business Major, Vice President of Marketing & Strategy
“My business degree and marketing concentration has served me well throughout my career. Not only did I receive a broad understanding of many of the topics I would later encounter, the project-based group work prepared me to work collaboratively in teams.”
Morgan Vega Gomez, Recruiting Assistant
Employer Relations and Recruiting Services, Career & Academic Planning