Vartega, a Colorado-based startup closing the loop on carbon fiber waste, is recycling used carbon fiber to give it a new life and prevent it from ending up in landfills. As Vartega entered a critical stage of scaling its operations, leadership recognized the significance of assembling a robust team to accelerate its growth and impact. To achieve this goal, Vartega partnered with Autodesk employee pro bono consultants to develop an effective employer brand strategy.
Carbon fiber is lighter-weight, stronger, and more corrosion-resistant than many traditional materials on the market like steel and aluminum, making it a top choice for manufacturers across industries like automotive, aeronautics, and even sporting goods. The increased use of and demand for carbon fiber could come at a high environmental cost due to carbon emissions from its production, but it doesn’t have to.
Vartega is redefining circularity in manufacturing by recycling advanced composite materials like carbon fiber into usable stock products—diverting thousands of tons of hard-to-recycle goods from landfills annually.
As a startup with competing priorities, setting an employer brand strategy hadn’t been a focus in the early days. However, with a new 82,000-square-foot facility opening in Colorado and a growing list of customers, priorities for CEO Andrew Maxey and marketing lead Adam Peterson began to shift. Recruiting and hiring top talent aligned with Vartega’s mission would be foundational to the success of the new facility. Maxey looked to the Autodesk Foundation’s Pro Bono Consulting program for support in developing an employer brand strategy to attract and retain high-quality and mission-aligned applicants.
Autodesk employee pro bono consultants Kassidi Sorensen, Employer Brand Manager, and Raymond “Ray” Leung, Senior Employer Brand Manager, answered Vartega’s call and stepped in to help develop a talent marketing strategy for successful hiring and impact delivery. Over three months, the two Autodesk employee volunteers worked with Maxey and Peterson to build an employer brand strategy and offer tactical recommendations for growing the company’s talent pool and developing related content.
Sorensen and Leung taught the Vartega team how to utilize digital tools to streamline social media marketing and talent recruitment efforts, including Indeed and LinkedIn for posting and announcing jobs, and Canva for developing brand assets and graphic designs. They also provided editorial guidance and a custom content calendar to ensure a more consistent, balanced, and timely posting cadence and a more efficient approach to collaboration with partners and funders.
— Andrew Maxey, CEO, Vartega
The Pro Bono Consulting project also helped the Vartega team realize the need for a more cohesive, inclusive company culture as part of their larger strategy for a more productive and unified workforce and working environment.
Sorensen and Leung provided recommendations for aligning the Vartega brand with employees and customers. After brainstorming with Maxey and Peterson and conducting independent market research, the Autodesk pro bono consultants proposed a hashtag concept—#Vartegans—to further establish the Vartega brand and improve its culture for better recruitment outcomes.
“Since the project, we’ve had much less turnover and have also tried to highlight employees more—to make sure everyone feels part of the Vartega family,” says Peterson.
Vartega’s Pro Bono Consulting engagement with Autodesk resulted in a successful talent recruitment platform to sustain its production and operations growth. After implementing the strategies, tools, and tactics identified and shared by Autodesk pro bono marketers, Vartega witnessed significant improvements in the quality, mission alignment, and volume of applicants.
— Adam Peterson, Marketing Communications Specialist, Vartega
Vartega has left the pro bono engagement equipped with a strong talent attraction strategy and awareness of how to implement key tactics to support its mission while expanding its customer base and production capacity to drive greater impact well into the future.
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