Carroll County officials turned out Friday to welcome the county's latest entry in the high-tech government contracting arena, with the official ribbon cutting of the new corporate headquarters of Applied Technology Group in Eldersburg.
Applied Technology Group, a software development company supporting the intelligence and defense industries, is poised for growth and is on track to expand from its current 45 employees, to about 75 by the end of the year, according to CEO James Rainey, an Eldersburg resident. Many of the company's employees work at the locations of its government clients, he said, but as the company looks to grow, he wants to root that growth in the county he calls home.
"Myself and my business partner live here. We wanted to engage the community that we live in," Rainey said. "If you also look at the tech sector, the customer base in this area, it's almost a triangle that's out there. There's Fort Meade down south, if you go east you have the Social Security Administration and Health and Human Services, and if you go west, you have Fort Detrick out there. It sort of puts us in this centralized hub."
The company focuses on big data, Rainey said, creating applications that analyze the information stored in large cloud-based storage repositories for mission-critical purposes — helping certain clients determine if a terrorist attack is likely, for instance. Much of that work is classified and requires on-site work, but Rainey said that over the next six months to a year, there could be an increasing opportunity for much more unclassified software development work.
"We see opportunities like that, where if we can do unclassified development work, we can do that in local facilities here in Eldersburg," he said. "You have this quality of life here — you are not in Columbia or Anne Arundel County — you are right here where a lot of people want to live. People are driving 40 minutes down to Fort Meade — if you can do it here, it's a great opportunity."
County Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, said he was excited about the possibility of unclassified software engineering jobs opening in Carroll and about the county being in a good situation to foster that type of growth.
"Years when distribution centers were more the norm, we never had the roads or the water or the infrastructure to do those things," Howard said. "When you look at what is strong in Carroll County, we have always been strong with an educated workforce and training capabilities, so this feeds into what we are good at."
Cybersecurity and information technology are exactly the right type of growth for Carroll County, according to Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, who also attended Friday's ribbon-cutting event, and it represents the type of business the county has wanted to attract for years.
"Here it is right in our laps and, low and behold, it's from people that have roots here and have decided to stay home and employ people here at home," Shoemaker said. "I think there are tremendous economic development opportunities for this type of industry in the county, and I hope we see more of it."
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