The state employment department says the Twin Cities ranks fifth among the most technologically advanced metropolitan areas in the country. The high concentration of technology workers in the metro has attracted a growing number of companies, including most recently, Isilon Systems, Inc., out of Seattle.
Isilon is a worldwide IT company that designs and builds data storage systems. The business is defying the economic trend by experiencing growth. Isilon just chose Plymouth as the location to expand its hardware engineering division and open a new customer support center.
Vice president of global support, Bill Wolak, says the area has a winning combination thanks to a good education system, a strong customer service mentality and a wealth of other tech companies.
"We looked at other parts of the U.S. as well as other parts of the world to put this call center but the high quality of talent here was very attractive to us," said Wolak. "We're a company that prides itself on high quality and really good service to its customers. I think that reflects very well on the Twin Cities area being able have people who can do that type of work and do it well."
Isilon hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony this week to celebrate the new location. Many recently-hired employees watched on with relief to be back on the job.
Isilon's new manager of technical support, Craig Munson, is among them.
"I got let go from my previous organization," explained Munson, who was hired by Isilon in June after nearly a year out of work.
"Being able to find this kind of role again without having to move was just such a relief to everyone."
Munson says since he joined Isilon, four of the last six people he has hired were previously out of work. Many local tech companies were forced to downsize in the last few years resulting in lots of workers who are highly qualified, yet unemployed. As those people settle into a new routine at Isilon, there's a shared sense of relief to be back on the job.
"Just being in that constant change and excitement is just absolutely enjoyable and refreshing," said Munson, "considering the last few years what's been going on in our economy."
Isilon Systems, Inc., had a small Minnesota location in Osseo since 2006. Those operations have now moved to Plymouth. Thirty employees are at work now in Plymouth, and Isilon expects to hire at least 50 more by the end of next year.
Jennifer Anderson reporting
October 8, 2010