LEADERSHIP HALL OF FAME PROFILE: MIDDLE AMERICA SOURCING STAR MONTY HAMILTON
By: Sandy Frinton, PULSE Editor
Rural Sourcing CEO Makes an Impact in Communities Close to Home
Monty Hamilton vividly remembers sitting in the audience in a packed conference hall at his first OWS event a decade ago as a newcomer to the industry with a bold idea that he was afraid to even speak out loud.
The consultant turned entrepreneur wondered if the concepts he was hearing the panel of experts advance on stage about the future of outsourcing could be applied to a domestic marketplace.
With knots in his stomach, sweaty palms and shaking knees, he asked in an unsure voice an unfathomable question for that time: Could offshoring be reversed and done in the rural U.S.A?
At first, he received a deafening silence. But after that came the overwhelming support from IAOP and many others in the industry to help make his dreams a reality.
From that point on, there’s been no turning back for Hamilton and the company he has built and leads as CEO, Rural Sourcing, Inc.
For his pioneering efforts in helping to create the domestic sourcing industry and bring thousands of jobs to middle America as well as his many contributions to society, Hamilton has been inducted into IAOP’s Leadership Hall of Fame.
Hamilton recalled the trepidation he felt when he approached the industry experts for support back then. Among those offering their help were Atul Vashistha, COP, Founder, Neo Group and Supply Wisdom, who had the pleasure of inducting Hamilton into the prestigious ranks that he is also part of.
In those early days, Hamilton worked with IAOP to launch a chapter devoted to domestic and rural sourcing and grow this practice. Over the years, he has become one of the leading voices for onshore software development.
“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to IAOP CEO Debi Hamill, Atul Vashistha and all the leaders for helping educate and counsel me about the possibilities of truly bringing outsourcing to America’s backyards in Middle America and take this idea to where it is today,” he said in accepting the honor. “We started this journey with a big dream, and nothing more than 10 people in a tin-roof shack in Arkansas.”
The Third Option in Sourcing
Hamilton calls the choice he presented to customers in 2009 “the third option,” providing an alternative to off-shore or in-house. He compares it to Starbucks’ entry into the marketplace, which created a new niche that companies sought.
With Rural Sourcing, Hamilton has not only provided a cost-competitive, onshore option for IT and software development work, but he also has helped to reverse the trend of talented young employees being forced to leave small and midsized markets to find meaningful and good-paying jobs in larger cities.
While the term impact sourcing wasn’t yet coined, Hamilton was pioneering this practice. “Doing well by doing good has been our mantra from day one,” he says.
Through his leadership, Rural Sourcing has created tremendous job opportunities with a huge spillover economic value for communities with its six U.S.-based software development centers in low cost of living, high quality of life locations in Mobile, Alabama; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Augusta, Georgia; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
This impact can be seen in such communities as Mobile, Alabama. Since Rural Sourcing opened its development center in the Port City in a renovated historic former car dealership in 2016, it helped revitalize the surrounding area turning it into a technology corridor with seven high-tech companies.
Growing up in a two-traffic-light town in rural Mississippi, Hamilton knew he would have to leave his town to chase his dreams. He’s proud that the company’s approximately 700 employees haven’t had to pick up their roots for employment and have found a company with a great culture that is making a difference for its colleagues, clients and communities. Rural Sourcing has consistently been named one of “Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.”
“There’s no shortage of great high-quality talent in middle America that we can tap into,” he says. “I am very grateful and humbled to receive this honor. It’s been quite the journey and a lot of fun, and it’s one that we’re going to continue. No one should have to choose between a location they love and the vocation they dream of.”
The Future is Bright and Purposeful
Looking ahead, he says he is “super optimistic” about the future. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many company’s digital transformation efforts and Rural Sourcing has responded by providing low-risk, high-collaboration responsive solutions in today’s fast-paced digital world.
Rural Sourcing’s digital engineers provide high-quality software applications in the cloud environment for large Fortune 100 and 500 clients, including ParkMobile, Cars.com, Jostens and Southwest.
In 2019, Bain Capital Double Impact, the impact investing business of Bain Capital, acquired a majority stake in Rural Sourcing allowing the company to further scale its national footprint and digital service offerings while creating high-quality jobs and new technology corridors across the country.
He is also excited about continuing the company’s second-year diversity, equality and inclusion initiative that moves Rural Sourcing from being “incidentally good,” to “intentionally great,” in hiring and career opportunities with plans to increase opportunities in technology for persons of color and veterans.
As the father of two sons with special needs, he is an active proponent for equal accessibility for those with disabilities and proudly serves on the Board at Ventures ATL, a non-profit organization that provides meaningful employment opportunities for adults with Autism or other developmental disabilities. Hamilton is also a supporter of Georgia Tech’s Excel program by offering internships for individuals who face hurdles to finding employment.
At-a-Glance: Monty Hamilton
Current Role: CEO of Rural Sourcing
Role Models: Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ former longtime CEO and chairman. Hamilton has his book, Onward, on his office coffee table and is inspired by the coffee mogul’s passion for his products and services.
Best Advice: “Work hard and be nice to people.” While he admits it’s a simplistic viewpoint, he holds this belief close to his heart and also wears it on his chest on a Michael Franti & Spearhead band t-shirt.
Giving Back: Serves on the Advisory Boards for the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, Ventures ATL, is on the Board of Trustees for Millsaps College, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and active in Special Olympics with his children.
Past Experience: Manager at Accenture from 1988-1995. One of four founders and managing partner of Clarkston Consulting, which acquired Rural Sourcing in 2009.