By @SimonCocking one year on, we thought it would be interesting to see how the guys at WP Engine have been getting on since we first featured them last year. We were delighted to have a quick catch up with Annette Alexander who is the newest executive leader and CPO at WP Engine.  WP Engine have a great growth story, and they now have six offices total with two in Europe (Limerick, London) , three in the USm Austin, Tx., San Antonio, San Francisco,  and now also one Brisbane, Australia. The Limerick office is also now looking to expand and take on more people.

Business Showcase : WP Engine

We spoke with Annette Alexander to hear about her work and how she came to be working in Ireland after a varied and interesting working career.

Great to talk with you Annette, tell us a little bit about your background?

I have over 15 years of experience developing a high-performance culture and shaping great employee experiences for companies such as PayPal, Barclays, and Dell.  During that time, I’ve built and led global HR teams and was most recently, the Vice President of Human Resources at RetailMeNot in Austin where I led all human resources activities for the ecommerce company.

Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?

Absolutely. I’ve spent my career finding and cultivating talent for companies in e-commerce, financial services, industrial engineering and technology industries. WP Engine’s rapid business growth creates a tremendous opportunity to build and scale our team both here and internationally.

What are you working on now?

Building a strong and inclusive culture, one where each employee understands how they impact the business and how they can grow their careers. This can and will be a huge competitive advantage for WP Engine.

Why did WP Engine appeal to you?

WP Engine is already very well known for having a very clearly defined set of core values and has won many awards for its culture. I very much identify with these values and the company’s mission around diversity believing it leads to better decisions, it fuels greater innovation and help us better understand our customers. Diversity is a journey — and while we’re not at our destination yet, with intention and commitment, WP Engine will keep raising the bar. I am energized by the fact that this is the right thing to do for our customers, our people and our communities.

What is WP Engine, and where are they based?

WP Engine is the world’s leading WordPress digital experience platform that gives enterprises and agencies the agility, performance, intelligence, and integrations they need to drive their business forward faster. WP Engine’s combination of tech innovation and an award-winning team of WordPress experts are trusted by over 60,000 companies across over 140 countries to provide counsel and support helps brands create world-class digital experiences. The company  is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has offices in San Francisco, California, San Antonio, Texas ,London, England, Limerick, Ireland and Brisbane, Australia.

Why did WP Engine choose to open an office in Ireland?

In order to support WP Engine’s surging customer base across EMEA, we opened our second European office in Ireland in the fall of 2016. Ireland and specifically, Limerick, was the perfect place for us to continue building out our global footprint and get closer to our customers. Limerick has many similarities with Austin, where our headquarters is based. It too has similar values around family while having  a great community, a vibrant startup scene and its people have a desire to make a difference. We are excited about the possibilities in Limerick and we plan to continue to invest there and advancing the Limerick tech ecosystem.

What is the Irish aspect of what they do, and how is it integrated with the rest of the company?

Our expansion in Limerick was made to establish the first customer service hub outside the U.S. Further, drawing on the highly skilled technical talent in Ireland’s third largest metropolitan area, the Limerick office also expands what is already the industry’s largest R&D organization with a dedicated team based in Ireland to accelerate development of WP Engine’s digital experience platform. Our plans were to hire 100 people in the Limerick office within three years and we’re right on target.

What are the new positions coming up?

WP Engine is experiencing explosive growth—success we attribute to our most important asset: our employees. Our fast-growing team is passionate, intelligent, and highly skilled, which influences everything we do from our culture to our platform to our customer inspired approach to service and support. To further foster diversity and inclusion, we take great focus on recruiting and training to invest inside and help bring unique people together to provide new opportunities, create pathways for promotion, and ultimately lead to new innovations in the technology sector. If this sounds like fun, come join us! We are actively recruiting for great technical talent. Visit our career page wpengine.com/careers or follow @WPEJobs on Twitter for more details. We also post our Limerick opportunities at https://wpengine-careers.com/office-location/limerick/ We are also looking for an International Senior Technical Recruiter to help support our European growth which will be based in Limerick, Ireland.

What can we look forward to from WP Engine in the future?

The expansion into Limerick is a reflection of our commitment to deliver the leading WordPress digital experience platform that gives enterprises, agencies and small businesses the agility, performance, intelligence and integrations they need to win online.

Who do you get your inspiration from?

I was born and raised in Norway.  It’s a country of extreme beauty as well as extreme weather conditions. I get my inspiration from nature’s beauty as well as her challenge to us to adapt. As we say in Norway, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”.  In other words, be prepared.

Anything else we should have asked / you’d like to add?

One year ago, WP Engine proudly opened its first international R&D, engineering and customer success center in Limerick, and we committed to growing it to 100 employees within three years. As we celebrate the one year anniversary of our Limerick office, we are delighted to share with you the successes we’ve achieved in our first year and announce that we are on track to meet our hiring goal by exceeding our first-year hiring target.

One year ago, WP Engine proudly opened its first international R&D, engineering and customer success center in Limerick, and we committed to growing it to 100 employees within three years. As we celebrate the one year anniversary of our Limerick office, we are delighted to share with you the successes we’ve achieved in our first year and announce that we are on track to meet our hiring goal by exceeding our first-year hiring target.

The Limerick team recently moved into a recently refurbished building in downtown Limerick. WP Engine’s innovative approach to identifying and securing talent has seen the site grow to 30 employees in its first year and serves over 70,000 customers in 140 countries, including Irish customers such as Ryanair and Riverdance. The Limerick WP Engine team has given back to the local community by creating the “WP Engine Future Technology Leaders” four-year scholarship at the Limerick Institute of Technology, and through donations to breast cancer awareness, the Darkness Into Light suicide prevention program for Pieta House and St. Vincent de Paul Christmas giving tree. In sharing our culture of innovation we have also partnered with the Bank of Ireland Workbench on two “Startup Weekend” events, along with an event promoting STEM studies among primary school students.

Heather Brunner, Chairwoman & CEO, WPEngine interviewed by Andy O’Donohue


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking