CLIFTON PARK -- On the day of its 21st anniversary, officials at a local software company welcomed visitors into its sleek, new headquarters on Route 9 in Clifton Park.
Founded in 1998, Kitware is a consulting, research and development company that specializes in open-source software with clients in a diverse array of industries. Its business model is heavily skewed toward service and expertise, rather than products.
What began with five employees working out of General Electric’s Research and Development headquarters in Niskayuna has blossomed into an organization that brings in around $17 million in annual revenue with more than 180 employees, with plans to add 41 more over the next decade.
"It's successes like yours that make us the great state that we are," New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.
Citing women in her immediate family who had ventured into the IT market, she lauded Kitware's female leadership and added that companies like Kitware are what will inspire young women to dive into the world of science and technology.
The goal, said Kitware's President and CEO Lisa Avila during Tuesday's grand opening, has always been to take on more projects.
"It was difficult to do that from inside of GE, so we took the leap and started the company. We always like to be working on something new," she said.
Kitware's new headquarters occupies 40,000 square feet of a nearly 60,000-square-foot building in Clifton Park. Previously, employees were split between two buildings in Halfmoon, one off of Sitterly Road, the other on Route 9. The company moved in to its new facility before Christmas.
Bill Hoffman, one of Kitware's founders, said the move into the new headquarters went better than anyone had anticipated, making for an almost seamless transition from the two offices in Halfmoon to the centralized one in Clifton Park.
"The move was incredibly smooth, and our system administration team did a really great job. We actually spent a lot less overhead than expected," he said.
All of the company's computer servers were put on a rack on a truck, brought to the new headquarters, and back online in six hours, which Hoffman called an incredibly risky but efficient move.
The company has also more than doubled its internet connection capacities, paving the way for a more efficient communication with clients, Hoffman said. Also crucial is the centralization of the one office as opposed to two, and the collaborative opportunities provided as a result.
"I think one of the big things it brings to us is that we're all under one roof again. We'd outgrown our previous space, and we had an office space across the road, and it was inconvenient to go back and forth between the buildings. If it was snowing, if it was raining, people didn't like to do that. But now we're under one roof again and we have room to expand," he said.
The new space also features meeting rooms, a 2,500-square-foot auditorium to be used for celebrations, training and other company activities; a 2,000-square-foot rooftop patio, single-person offices, multi-person offices and motion activated lighting.
Kitware received assistance to make the project happen, including more than $400,000 in sales tax and mortgage fee waivers and property tax exemptions worth more than $900,000.
The Saratoga Economic Development Corporation, which helped Kitware secure the mortgage, property and sales tax exemptions from the Clifton Park Industrial Development Agency, said the move retains a roughly $14 million annual payroll in the area.