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Silicon Plains to grow in Urbandale


Type “Silicon Plains Technologies” into your search engine, and you’ll find several employment ads for high-paying programming positions. The West Des Moines company, which will move to Urbandale by the end of February, has begun recruiting for the first of 20 new positions it expects to add within the next three years.

The average salary: $72,000 per year.

As a leader in a hot niche of the software market – it sells the type of management applications required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act – the company has been courted by several states to relocate. Instead of moving, however, it’s expanding in Iowa.

The company, which now employs 18 people, recently purchased a 10,000-square-foot building at 8530 New York Ave. in Urbandale.

“We’re high-tech, we’re very virtual,” said Greg McCormick, Silicon Plains’ president and chief executive. “We could be anywhere we want to be.”

The deciding factor to stay was receiving $266,000 – $7,000 for each job retained or created – from the state’s Community Economic Betterment Account fund earlier this month, McCormick said. The city of Urbandale is providing a $38,000 low-interest loan. The company is paying the rest of the estimated $5 million to carry out its three-year growth plan, he said.

Specializing in content management and e-business software, Silicon Plains is one of the top IBM resellers in the country for this niche, as well as a programmer of its own applications.    According to industry estimates, the market for enterprise content management software is expected to grow about 30 percent within the next several years.

Though the company has large customers such as Citibank, its sweet spot for the past several years has been the software market for small to medium-sized businesses, McCormick said. It sells software that handles tasks such as document management and imaging, as well as processing functions for mortgage and insurance companies. About 70 percent of its work comes from outside the state.

With its growth, Silicon Plains plans to write more of its own software products, he said.

Last year, Silicon Plains received IBM’s prestigious Beacon Award, the company’s highest award. It was also named Iowa Service Provider of the Year for 2003 by Software and Information Technology of Iowa, a statewide association of technology companies.         

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