Retooling a Workforce with Bit Source
How the company is providing opportunity to laid-off coal industry workers
Guests: Payton May and Ryan Jones
Payton May is the COO at Bit Source, a software development company that provides value-driven solutions for businesses.
Ryan Jones is a Director of SOAR Innovation, an organization that helps Appalachian businesses succeed and grow. Ryan has worked closely with Bit Source throughout its operation.
Bit Source builds anything from a basic website to more complex B2B custom software solutions. On top of that, they’ve also done some work in AR and VR. However, Bit Source is most known for training laid-off coal miners to code. The company has earned national recognition for their work in retooling a workforce that has been devastated in recent years.
People who worked in the coal industry have very diverse skill sets. For example, some are engineers, some did maintenance planning, and some were in industry support roles. Bit Source recognizes that these hard-working people know how to solve problems. Software development gives them a different way to use those soft skills.
Payton originally joined the team as the company’s creative director. He helped develop the organization’s brand early-on. Since then, he’s transitioned to the role of COO and handles day-to-day operations.
For a long time, Payton would’ve described himself as transient. In other words, he wasn’t attached to anywhere in particular. Over time, he began to realize what he had in Pikeville in terms the familial unit and the culture. Having a community and that you’re deeply embedded make Appalachia a special place.
Ryan shares the same sentiment. While he is originally from Virginia, he decided to stay in Pikeville because of the people. The people here create an amazing network, it feels like a huge community where everyone knows everybody.
When asked about challenges, Payton shared that as a startup company, they faced many obstacles. On the operation on the management side, they’re a startup company trying to compete in a global marketplace. On top of those struggles, there were also difficulties associated with retooling a workforce and teaching them an entirely new skill set.
Right now, Bit Source is trying to find its niche and experimenting with their product. Meanwhile, they have several new products available for a wide variety of uses.
Payton and Ryan are now making some changes for the betterment of the community and the businesses around them. Ryan Jones is facilitating programs and he’s enjoyed doing Co.Starters and helping entrepreneurs get from where they to where they want to be.