Jackson — While Pileum Corporation is only three years old, the management team at the management consulting firm boasts varied and lengthy professional backgrounds. The director of engineering, Sandy Turnage, has 13 years of experience, while the head of sales has professional experience that stretches across a quarter century.
And then there is founder, president and CEO Jill Beneke. Before establishing Pileum, she spent more than 20 years in developing, managing and marketing financial services to government and commercial clients. She was a senior manager at Deposit Guaranty National Bank, and was there during the subsequent buyouts of the bank by First American Bank and AmSouth Bank.
And Beneke, who received her bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Mississippi and her MBA from Millsaps College was quite successful. In 1997, the Mississippi Business Journal named her one of the 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi. Still, the mergers left her wondering about her future in banking.
“I began to realize that I was going to be doing the same job for the rest of my life,” Beneke remembered. “If I was going to get out, it seemed like the time was right.”
Beneke said she was drawn to business technology, convinced that it would grow in importance to the business community as an essential tool. She took approximately a year in the early part of this decade to learn about technology and meeting people in the field. Convinced that she had found her calling, Beneke opened Pileum in early 2002 in Jackson.
(Pileum is Latin for “the top of the head of a bird,” which, according to the company, “reflects our goal of providing guidance to our clients with information and solutions that enable them to soar to the highest levels of performance — rather than becoming a sitting duck.”)
“Yes, my expectations for Pileum have been met,” Beneke said. “When we started, a large group of flagship companies moved their business to Pileum. I believe the key to our success is that the engineers and management team have so many years of experience. And we were all pretty connected when we opened, so we really didn’t have to start from scratch. That’s why our clients chose us.” Then she added with a laugh, “Of course, the management team keeps meeting and raising the expectations. I guess we’re just a bunch of crazy folks, but we keep raising the bar.”
Beneke is proud of Pileum’s achievements. The company now counts customers from one side of Mississippi to the other. These clients include everything from mega-corporations to small businesses. And the variety of clients matches the skills and knowledge of the management team. The government, legal, financial services, manufacturing, business services, news/media, healthcare, educational/academic and insurance industries have all called on Pileum for consultation and assistance.
The services provided to these industries are just as varied. Pileum offers management consulting, including organizational assessments, project management assessments, business process improvement, personnel recruitment and retention, HIPAA security standards compliance, project audits and business case development.
Not surprising considering Beneke’s background, Pileum offers a number of financial consulting services. These encompass Internet banking, treasury management services, business process implementation, Graham-Leach-Bliley compliance and security.
Pileum also offers technology services without being software or hardware centric. Its technology services include network planning, design and implementation, application readiness assessments, project management, network voice, security, enterprise assessment services and desktop. Beneke said some clients bring in Pileum to actually run their information technology efforts, while the company serves others as a supplier.
A noted technology project recently undertaken was for Madison County, which experienced a network crash last October that resulted in a loss of data. According to the Madison County Journal, the county subsequently hired Pileum to run its information technology department, and the company conducted a management audit and investigation into the cause of the crash.
According to Beneke, who also serves as chairperson of CIT.ms, which strives to preserve and promote the value of communication information technology as the centerpiece of economic development in Mississippi, the work is fairly typical of Pileum’s projects. “Usually we’re called in when the fire is raging and the call for help goes out,” Beneke said. “With our experience, many companies immediately think of Pileum when they need help. Our reputation is excellent.”
Today, Pileum employs 13 workers and remains focused on clients in Mississippi out of its office in Jackson. However, Beneke said that could change in the future.
Right now, everything we do, we do from Jackson,” she said. “In order to be closer to some of our clients, we are looking at opening perhaps two offices in Mississippi in the future. And we do want to eventually expand outside of Mississippi.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at firstname.lastname@example.org.