A few days before the presidential election in 1992, when a victory for Bill Clinton and Al Gore seemed imminent, several Democrats realized that almost every appointed government employee in Washington, D.C., was a
Republican and resumes would soon flood in from Democrats who wanted jobs in the new administration.
That's when they decided to call Resumix, Inc., the nation's leader in computer-generated resume evaluation software systems. In less than three months, Resumix's artificial
intelligence based product helped process more than 30,000 resumes, many of them more than twelve pages long.
“It's a task that would have been physically impossible to accomplish without our product,” says Stephen Ciesinski '70, Resumix's chief executive officer.
If you're heading out on a job search in the near future, chances are getting better and better that Ciesinski's company will have something to say about your curriculum vitae. Since joining Resumix two years ago, Ciesinski has guided the company to a 150 percent increase in revenue, more than doubling the country's size and customer base and attaining consistent profits. Today, even the White House's Office of Productivity and Management uses Resumix.
Located in Santa Clara, Calif., Resumix produces software that scans resumes,
catalogs essential information, and automatically matches top candidates' qualifications with the positions that need to be filled. The company has sixty percent of the market share and clients that include Walt Disney, Motorola, Ocean Spray Cranberries, and Northern Telecom.
The story at Resumix echoes Ciesinski's earlier success at another technological company. Thirteen years ago he arrived at Octel Communications at a time when few people had ever heard of “voice-mail” and even fewer thought the product could play a useful part in their lives. When Ciesinski left Octel in 1993, it was a $350 million corporation, and voice mail had become a mainstay of business.
“I enjoy being with companies that create a need for new technology,” says Ciesinski, who also helped Applied Materials become the leading producer of the equipment that makes computer chips during the 1970s and 1980s.
“Everyone used to think communication had to be simultaneous and two-way, so at Octel we had to show people that they could talk to one another the same way they write letters,” he says. “I can leave you a message, you can get back to me by leaving me a message a few hours later, and then I can do the same. We're communicating and doing business even though we might not be talking to each other simultaneously.”
Now Ciesinski is teaching the world how technology can speed the hiring process. Last year, Resumix licensed its software to a British business consortium, which decided to take advantage of its citizens' love of gambling and set up a state-run lottery. Ciesinski and Resumix became part of the group, named Camelot, that was in charge of creating the lottery.
“We had to form a 500-person company in three months,” Ciesinski recalls. “It was fun for us because in that kind of a pressurized environment, where every day without a lottery you're going to be losing money, we can really thrive. That's what we do best.”
Ciesinski credits Union with preparing him for a career in managing high-tech companies. A double major in electrical engineering and modern languages, Ciesinski has the scientific background to understand
cutting-edge technology and the language skills that helps him explain the technology in a layperson's language.
As a result, Ciesinski feels just as comfortable in the lab with Resumix's thirty-five researchers as he does during what he refers to as his “missionary sells”-his meetings with other businesses when he has to convince them that they will soon need his technology to keep up with the corporate world. And his French and German have come in handy when he has done business abroad. “People really warm up to you when you attempt to speak to them in their own language,” he says.
Ciesinski has hardly limited his know-how to the corporate world. A Schenectady native and an honorable mention Little All-American in football at Union, Ciesinski was taught by a hard-working father to value education. Adam Ciesinski '41, a lawyer in Schenectady, sent all seven of his children to college, and now those children are passing on that legacy. The Ciesinskis have established a Union scholarship in their father's name to help students from Schenectady with an interest in both science and the liberal arts.
Ciesinski gives more than just financial support to education. He serves on Union's Board of Trustees, is on the cabinet at the California State University at San Luis Obispo, and is both a board member and a volunteer for Junior Achievement-an educational foundation – in Santa Clara County. Once a week, he teaches a class of graduating seniors at Yerba Buena High School about the world of business and technology.
“The press usually lambastes corporate and business types,” Ciesinski says, “but people have to realize that without business and commerce there wouldn't be a lot of jobs around.”
What does Ciesinski do when he isn't introducing the world to the latest technology? “I've got a
two-and-a-half-year-old and a five-year-old,” he says. “They keep me pretty busy.”