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“We are transforming an industry weakness into our strength,” says Sam Sandusky, President and CEO
of Big Sur Technologies in regard to the tightening job market, the lack of ready and capable candidates
to fill open positions at growing tech firms like Big Sur. It is astonishing that the average age of a
Network Engineer is forty-three, with only 9.4% being women, highlighting a significant lack of diversity.
Sam and his team are dedicated to changing this situation. The Academy prioritizes practical and
comprehensive learning, where employees strive to become “Grandmasters” through accreditation,
certification, and collaborative teamwork. Big Sur’s strong emphasis on its people has already shown
great promise in positively impacting customers, and the company aims to drive industry-wide change.

Unlike traditional roles at larger companies, the Managed Services Provider (MSP) environment at Big
Sur offers employees unique opportunities to work with diverse tools, platforms, and industry verticals.
This approach has proven successful, as employees report accelerated learning and a genuine passion
for problem-solving. As the company has experienced significant growth, there is a demand for talent,
leading to the establishment of the Big Sur Academy. The Academy specifically targets recent graduates
and individuals new to the technology field. The company is witnessing the diversity and potential of
younger generations through its recent cohort of interns. New hires from non-technology backgrounds,
such as retail and education, have made an immediate impact due to the accelerated learning provided
by the Academy.

Sam highlights the continuous and critical importance of understanding their target audience. He
emphasizes that people no longer wish to be confined to a box; they seek freedom of choice and the
ability to learn quickly. Big Sur’s focus on these aspects has propelled the company to new heights.

The Big Sur Academy operates with two specializations: Basic Training and Sharpshooting. Basic Training
is modeled after various trades, these levels (Apprentice, Craftsman, Journeyman, and Grandmaster)
include practical achievements like A+ certification, as well as qualitative goals such as collaboration,
communication, and mentorship. On the other hand, Sharpshooting Training is tailored for more
experienced individuals seeking to develop their skills in server administration, networking, VMware,
Microsoft 365, and Cyber Security. This dual approach not only ensures efficient support but also fosters
the highest levels of customer service for clients. Big Sur covers the costs of certifications and
encourages community service by providing employees with opportunities to attend classes,
conferences, and offering forty hours of paid time off specifically for non-profit efforts. These initiatives
provide employees with continuous learning and personal development opportunities.