CEO Dan Pickett said the information technology firm is in the midst of expanding into a massive new space in Menands. He said the company has about 500 employees in the Capital Region and has openings for 100 more employees now.
With the physical expansion to Menands, there’s room for 1,000 more.
The company had its roots in the basement of his parents’ Mechanicville liquor store a quarter century ago and last year was acquired by Zones, a larger Seattle-area information technology firm. The combined operation has 2,300 employees and $2 billion in annual revenue. Its three-year revenue target is $3 billion.
It was a fitting topic for the fifth installment in the Lunchtime Entrepreneurship Series, a collaborative effort by the BizLab and Clarkson University.
Pickett said nfrastructure has grown by being good at what it does and having employees who like what they do.
“I don’t think I have anybody I work with who thinks it’s a job,” he said. “We’re a company of believers.”
The services offered by nfrastructure (the name derives from “network infrastructure”) run the continuum from designing to building to supporting information technology. It partners with many large companies in the tech field to serve everything from a sneaker maker (Nike) to a railroad (BNSF).
Pickett said many of these customers are leaders in their field, and serve as models for his company, rather than just a source of revenue and/or frustration.
Nfrastructure is concentrating its technical services in the Halfmoon office and moving its professional and support services to the new Menands facility, which will become the East Coast headquarters of Zone.
The Menands building — which housed a Two Guys department store decades ago — totals 130,000 square feet. Nfrastructure has spent about $5 million renovating 50,000 square feet and has the option to expand further as the company grows. It could fit 1,000 people, Pickett said.
There also will be room to add new employees in Halfmoon, in space vacated by those that have moved to Menands.
Pickett said nfrastructure is able to attract the new employees it needs, despite operating in a region with limited population growth, low unemployment and a shortage of tech workers. “Our retention rate has been outstanding,” he said. “We’re working hard to be a special place.”
He said the region's tech industry still has room to grow.
The venue for Thursday’s talk is undergoing some changes of its own. The New York BizLab will soon have a new tenant, Saratoga National Bank, and the ground floor of 251 State St. is being redesigned to accommodate it. As a result, the atrium area for events such as business luncheons has been enlarged.
BizLab owner Antonio Civitella joked about the work continuing through much of 2017. He noted that regular attendees at the luncheon series would have seen something different nearly every time, and might have wondered when the work would be done.
“You’re not the only one asking that,” he said.
One result of the changes is a clearer view of the 52-foot-long Edward Becker mural depicting Schenectady’s past, a historical gem that hangs high in the open first floor.
Civitella said it’s his favorite feature of the building.