InfoTech-Minot, which is currently located in a former downtown Minot bank building, is the seed tenant in Minot Area Development Corporation’s (MADC) planned Research & Development Park, according to MADC President Jerry Chavez. Minot city leaders and MADC envision a future R&D park where high-technology companies will co-locate and leverage available resources and relationships to compete competitively on a national and global level.
MADC is targeting knowledge-based businesses that hire college-educated employees and pay higher-than-average wages in the area. InfoTech-Minot salaries range from $35,000 to $70,000, depending on the positions and experience levels.
Headquartered in midtown Manhattan in New York City, InfoTech is a software and system integration company offering technology and business solutions for the military and corporate America, according to President Matti Kon. They specialize in financial services software, federal systems, custom application development and integration and information technology outsourcing.
MADC and Minot city leaders brought InfoTech to Minot with promises of a business-friendly climate and a military contract engineered by North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. Dorgan was instrumental in passage of a 2007 appropriations bill that included $1.8 million in federal funding channeled into Minot. Info Tech was awarded that funding to open a Minot office and develop a Web-based location for the Department of Defense (DOD) to access military databases anywhere in the world.
Dorgan spearheaded an additional $2.8 million in the 2008 appropriations for InfoTech’s continued involvement in helping to build a DOD information network called the Global Information Grid. Dorgan also credited Senator Kent Conrad and Representative Earl Pomeroy for their work in helping move the bills through Congress.
“Our seed to start here in Minot was definitely the military project, but we are looking at ways we can leverage other projects as well,” Kon says. “We’re here to grow. And we’re not putting all our eggs in one basket.”
InfoTech’s Minot employees have had a hand in securing private commercial contracts to develop work system software for unions and Web-based systems for the financial industry. For instance, in March, Sheet Metal Workers International Local Unions contracted InfoTech to perform a survey and analysis of the union’s work force, employment, and hiring systems. Union officials said the Minot location positively influenced their decision to choose InfoTech because InfoTech was keeping jobs in America and the ability to, “host services from a North Dakota facility was very attractive.”
Neville, Rodie and Shaw, Inc. (NRS), an investment advisory firm based in New York City, has long outsourced its information technology services to InfoTech. NRS extended its InfoTech contract last year to include system maintenance and support that will be provided by Minot employees. InfoTech-Minot will build and host a disaster recovery center to meet NRS needs.
“We have a lot of extra bandwidth and communication capacity in Minot, which is suitable for remote backup and hosting locations, as Minot also provides the full infrastructure support for the Minot Air Force Base,” explained Wesley (Mac) Magaster, chief operating officer in the Minot office.
Minot employees also worked on a Web-based Research Publishing Automation System (RPAS) for Raymond James Mutual Fund Research & Marketing Group. RPAS is a sophisticated Web-based workflow automation application suite that enables financial research teams to author and publish time-sensitive information faster and more efficiently, Kon explains.
The Minot facility allows InfoTech to leverage development resources by providing high-quality work at more economical rates than can be done from InfoTech’s New York base where costs are higher.
“We’re extremely happy with what has happened in Minot,” observes Kon. “We’ve found salt-of-the-earth employees in Minot that are very well educated and have high work ethics. And we’ve had tremendous support from MADC and the community.”
From Minot’s perspective, Chavez says, Minot State University graduates – as well as graduates from other North Dakota universities – are more likely to work and raise families in Minot, which is good for Minot.
Minot’s relationship with InfoTech has yielded additional, unanticipated benefits, Chavez adds. “InfoTech has done a great deal of marketing for Minot in New York City with Fortune 100 companies. We’ve had some very solid inquiries from other businesses interested in locating here and it’s a direct result of InfoTech’s support for Minot.”
InfoTech-Minot currently employs 18 people. Plans call for the addition of another two to four positions by the end of this year.
Candi Helseth is the owner of The WriteDesign in Minot, ND. She also does freelance writing for state, regional and national publications and can be reached at email@example.com.