Pensacola, Florida
Saturday May 26th 2018


Breezy Tech

AppRiver Builds Technology and Talent in Northwest Florida

Why is AppRiver a Game Changer for the Escambia and Santa Rosa County area? Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Joel Smith’s answer is short and sweet.

“Providing jobs, bringing technology to the area.”

Founded in 2002 with a skeleton crew led by Smith and CEO Michael Murdoch, AppRiver now employs more than 140 people and services 45,000 customers.

In under a decade, the company has become a major player in the network and email security market, currently protecting over 6 million inboxes worldwide. AppRiver maintains multiple secure data centers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia and has been identified as one of the best companies to work for in Florida.

Smith credits the company’s success to their ability to serve customers that other providers can’t.

“Most security providers service the Fortune 500. But there are only 500 of them. It’s tough for those larger organizations to service the smaller accounts.”

“We’re doing that in an automated fashion and bringing those enterprise technologies to those smaller companies that they might not otherwise have access to.”

Gulf Breeze might seem like a strange place to run a technology business to some, but for Smith and AppRiver, it’s ideal.

“With the Internet, you can have a business anywhere. And my thing, being a native of the area, was I wanted to build a technology company here. I knew I could do it here.”

Thanks in large part to AppRiver, Gulf Breeze’s presence in the technology industry is starting to grow.

“We have a long way to go for it to be a technology hub, but…it’s getting easier to recruit people here.”

Smith’s passion for the area has created a strong focus at AppRiver for cultivating local talent.

“With the younger tech folks, software programmers, technical engineers, things like that, they tend to be local. If it’s a senior person and they’re in this area, we always encourage them to apply with us. Even if a job posting’s not listed, we’d like to get to know them.”

Smith says most of their senior level employees have been recruited from outside the area.

“The beach is a great recruiting tool. We present to them the full package—there’s no income tax, there’s cooperative companies that we work with in the area. It’s getting easier (to recruit.)”

Smith is hopeful that AppRiver will be able to staff its senior positions with more local talent.

“We encourage (talented locals) to get to know us, come visit us, and talk to us about roles that may be opening up within our company.”

As part of their commitment to the community and to local talent, AppRiver has formed strong partnerships with UWF and Pensacola State College. They participate in free SQL training events at Pensacola State College and are aggressively acquiring interns from both schools.

“We let local tech folks know that hey, we’re here,” says Smith. “We have a very precise HR process that lets us look at every single candidate that comes in the door. Nobody slips through the cracks. So we can really evaluate everybody, make sure everybody has a chance to stay in the area.”

Asked how he expects AppRiver will grow in the future, Smith’s answer is again short and sweet.

“Hopefully we’ll maintain our fast growth rate. The model is currently working. We see it continuing to work.”

1101 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze