22 Nov

Transfinder CEO to Rep. Tonko: 'We need more people'

From the Albany Business Review
Nov 21, 2017, 1:49pm EST 

Antonio Civitella said Transfinder has to turn away new business at times because the company doesn't have enough workers. 

"I can't tell you how many times we turn away business because we don't have the horsepower to pull it off," the CEO told Rep. Paul Tonko during the congressman's visit to Transfinder on Monday. "I can't even tell you how frustrating it is … We need more people." 

Civitella said keeping even 2 to 3 percent of college graduates in the area would make a difference. 

"We preach about all these colleges and universities in this area. We just need 2 or 3 percent to stay every year. We don't need 50 percent," Civitella said. "Two, 3 percent, the world wouldn't even miss them. They don't even know where they're at, but we really do need them. Imagine every year, 2, 3 percent, that they stay here. That would be awesome." 

Transfinder develops bus routing software that school districts use to figure out the best routes and reduce fuel consumption, maintenance costs and vehicle replacement. Transfinder had $12.7 million in revenue in 2016. 

It has 100 employees between its Schenectady headquarters at 440 State St. and its offices in Shanghai, China, and Austin, Texas. Transfinder is looking to hire 12 people. 

The company recently hired a talent acquisition manager to help with recruiting talent. It offers $2,000 to employees who refer a contact who gets hired. 

Transfinder also covers visas for 10 employees who are from India and China and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Albany. 

Tonko, a Democrat from Amsterdam, said immigration reform could help keep talent in the area. 

"We should do everything we can because it's competitive now. Before, when students came here as international students, to study for especially graduate programs, they stayed because there was no opportunity at home," Tonko told Civitella. "Now, we're in an international sweepstakes on keeping talent and cultivating brainpower, and so now we have to have those innovative concepts and nuances. Immigration reform should wrap itself around this." 

During Tonko's visit, Civitella told the congressman about what's next for the company. He and other Transfinder employees showed Tonko their Cityfinder app, which gives live updates on Capital District Transportation Authority shuttles. 

Civitella also talked about the company moving into serving municipalities by tracking city vehicles, both for cities to have oversight and to increase transparency for taxpayers.