Kelli Moretter-Bue is leading efforts to build a software development specialty practice in her new role as president of ESP IT, a Minneapolis-based tech consulting and staffing service firm.

The firm is exploring the option of becoming a Salesforce partner, Moretter-Bue said. Specializing will help ESP IT compete in a market with a low tech unemployment rate — averaging 2.8 percent in 2016 — and reports of negative unemployment for Java and .NET developers among others in the state.

“The software development life cycle encompasses so much so we get a wide variety of job requests,” Moretter-Bue said. “For us that’s great. But to be able to focus more on one area is going to be really important because then our recruiters will be able to connect with and build relationships with people in one area rather than 10.”

Moretter-Bue’s promotion to president continues her rapid rise at the firm. A certified public accountant, she joined ESP IT in 2015 as controller and was promoted to vice president of finance and operations in early 2016. She previously worked in the medical device industry. Bob Hildreth, owner of president of ESP IT since 1986, is now chief executive.

ESP IT, founded in 1968, describes itself as the state’s first IT consulting and staffing services firm in the state. It has been among the fastest-growing private companies nationally and in the state in recent years, which Moretter-Bue attributed to long-term connections with clients and strong relationships with information technology professionals in the Twin Cities.

Moretter-Bue has an accounting degree from St. Catherine University, a degree in Spanish from Bethel University and a master’s in Hispanic literature from the University of Minnesota.


Q: How is the low tech unemployment rate affecting clients?

A: It’s really important that companies looking to hire for the best fit and talent budget to pay market rates. It’s as important that they consider what makes them a great company to work for and how to differentiate themselves.


Q: What does it mean for candidates?

A: Over 30 percent of them are likely to look for a new role. They think they can get better pay and more meaningful and exciting work elsewhere.


Q: How has the firm responded to the challenging recruiting environment?

A: We’ve made investments on the recruiting side. We try to make it easy for candidates. We try to make onboarding as seamless as possible. We have a fast fact sheet of our clients that outlines some of their great aspects so (candidates) know from a cultural perspective what that client would be like.

Todd Nelson