[Originally published in the Tacoma News Tribune]
The San Francisco Bay area tech firm Infoblox could add another 70 workers to its Tacoma office in the next 12 to 18 months.
The company’s current 80 employees occupy two floors of the Horizon Pacific Center on Pacific Avenue, said chief marketing officer Ashish Gupta. There is plenty of nearby office space should the company need to expand, he said.
In the Tacoma office, 30 positions are open now, in fact. Jobs are not just in high-tech. Sales and marketing positions are up for grabs as well.
Infoblox expects University of Washington Tacoma to make “an excellent university-corporate partner” as the company expands its tech presence in Tacoma, said Norma Lane, executive vice president of human resources and facilities.
“The city of Tacoma is our focus to expand in the United States and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with you,” Lane said via email.
Infoblox provides network services to companies around the globe, but its Tacoma office focuses on cybersecurity research, threat intelligence and engineering.
Its Tacoma office started as a complement to the company’s other locations, Gupta said. It has Silicon Valley-style amenities, including a foosball table. Workers often gather on Wednesdays to drink wine during the afternoon, he said.
“We had a vision and it’s paying off. It’s become an immense benefit for Infoblox,” he said of the Tacoma location. “We are growing in Tacoma in a pretty strong way.”
Last year the company announced a research partnership with UWT to, among other things, prevent online connected devices — the so-called “Internet of Things” — from disrupting other online services.
It would predict attacks by using a type of artificial intelligence called machine learning to detect abnormal patterns in internet traffic.
Infoblox is hiring some of those interns, as well as students from other area colleges, Gupta said.
“Our hiring plans are always expanding and changing,” he said. The company wants to “bring in high-performance folks who are motivated early in their career. It makes a lot of sense to hire from UW, not just in Tacoma but from universities in the Seattle area.”
The state gave the company $100,000 from the Department of Commerce’s economic development strategic reserve fund — half to move employees from California to here and half to pay for employee education and recruitment, including veterans from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“There is very much a focus for Infoblox in training and hiring military veterans,” said Penny Thomas, spokeswoman for the Commerce Department. “Given that it’s a cybersecurity company, I think it’s a really good fit.”
About two dozen California workers have volunteered to move to the area, Gupta said.
The company expects to retain employees longer in a market such as Tacoma — where Infoblox is one of the first large tech companies to land — as opposed to the Bay Area, where it’s one of 1,800 employers, Gupta said.
Housing prices here are much lower. In April, Santa Clara, California, had a median home price north of $1.1 million, while Pierce County’s median home was $294,400, according to real estate data firm Zillow.
In King County — the home of Microsoft, Amazon and dozens of other tech firms — the median home cost $606,500.
“The cost of living in the Bay Area is pretty high, Gupta said, bringing up a friend who’s moving here.
“The kind of place he’s getting — near the beach in Tacoma — he’s so excited,” Gupta said. “Excited, happy employees make for a really good company.”
IID, formerly known as Internet Identity, started up nearly two decades ago in downtown Tacoma. When Infoblox bought the company last year, executives decided to stay in Tacoma. The company since has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners.
Information from News Tribune archives was included in this story.
Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports