Jacksonville Business Journal Names Stellar VP Brian Ellison a 2021 ‘Tech Leader of the Year’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (August 16, 2021) — The Jacksonville Business Journal has selected Stellar's Vice President of Information Technology, Brian Ellison, as one of its 2021 Technology Leaders of the Year. He was one of only 10 honorees to receive the annual recognition and will be featured in a forthcoming issue of the Business Journal.

Ellison first joined Stellar in 2015, and his early foresight and strategic planning positioned the company to not only survive the sudden changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, but to thrive without incident. Upon his arrival, he set a course for Stellar to reduce its dependency on legacy systems and transition to a robust cloud-first strategy.

"Were it not for this forward-thinking plan, our operations would not have fared in 2020 as seamlessly and efficiently as they did," said Brian Kappele, President/COO of Stellar.

Ellison led a multi-pronged strategy that involved deploying several software and technology solutions, including:

  • Company-wide adoption of remote collaboration tools like Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and GoToMyPC, as Stellar transitioned to a remote work model.
  • Procore, a cloud-centric construction management software that streamlines project management and allows on-site crews to quickly communicate with each other and with designers or engineers remotely. It also allows clients to receive progress updates and access drawings and other project information via a smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Transitioning to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), allowing designers to easily access necessary graphical computing power via the cloud from anywhere. Now, those powerful yet cumbersome workstations don’t have to be located in an employee's home; they can use all enterprise design tools securely from a home computer. This solution also enables virtual collaboration with external partners and subcontractors, meaning design work can now truly be conducted from anywhere.

Given the confidential, proprietary and high-profile nature of client projects, security was a main priority for Stellar as it made these technological transitions. Therefore, Ellison led efforts to implement multiple cloud-based security measures including multi-factor authentication software, cloud-based endpoint management and security solutions, and a remote monitoring and management (RMM) system to monitor, remotely control and patch company systems regardless of geographical location.

"Thanks to Brian's efforts and strategic planning, we were able to transition to a work-from-home model within just seven days from when company leadership announced the change at the height of the pandemic in 2020," said Kappele. "This enabled Stellar to become one of the first firms in the industry to transition to a majority remote workforce, with minimal interruptions to productivity and operations."

The Tech Leader of the Year honorees are men and women whose leadership has helped grow their companies, shape their industries and influence the First Coast. The leaders were chosen based on the impact they’ve had both at work and in the broader business community.