Building an impact-aligned employer brand


Image courtesy of Vartega

Collaborating to develop a cohesive employer brand

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.


Recycled carbon fiber balloon with grey background
Image courtesy of Vartega

Advancing circularity in composites and manufacturing

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.

Two Vartega interns working at computers on a folding table at the new Pecos facility in Denver, Colorado. Both individuals are wearing t-shirts and looking at their computers. The table is covered with writing utensils, notebooks, two reusable water bottles, and power cables.

Two Vartega interns working at the new Pecos facility in Denver, Colorado. Image courtesy of Vartega

Establishing an effective talent marketing strategy

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.

Headshot of Andrew Maxey, Vartega's CEO, smiling, wearing a plaid button-down shirt and blazer.

“What’s amazing about the Autodesk team is the breadth and depth of their knowledge and capabilities. The Pro Bono Consulting project on employer branding helped us to build and support our team in a critical phase of growth.”

— Andrew Maxey, CEO, Vartega

Attendees of the Pecos facility ribbon-cutting touring the new space. Roughly a dozen individuals of various ages and demographics walking along the warehouse wall. Two men looking at the carbon fiber bicycle rim on display, toward the left of the photo.

Image courtesy of Cyrus Martin

Meet the Vartegans

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.

Andrew Maxey, Vartega's CEO, wearing a blue t-shirt with an orange Vartega logo emblem, standing at the entrance of the new Pecos facility, with two business partners—a woman wearing a purple shirt to Andrew's right, and a man wearing a blue blazer and collared shirt to his left—just after the "Grand opening" ribbon was cut. All three are holding scissors and smiling.

In May 2023, Vartega opened its second facility, an 82,000-square-foot warehouse in Denver, Colorado. Image courtesy of Cyrus Martin

Scaling up for long-term success

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.

Headshot of Adam Peterson, Vartega's Marketing Communications Specialist, smiling, wearing a white shirt.

“We’ve grown our workforce significantly over the past six months, fulfilling all our hiring needs. This pro bono project played an integral role in that.”

— 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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