By Tony Agresta, VP of Marketing at Nearmap.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2017 edition of Silicon Slopes Magazine.
Crystal clear, bird’s-eye imagery of the nation’s most iconic landmarks and bustling businesses is now viewable from one of Utah’s newest tech companies, Nearmap. Famous locations such as the National Mall in Washington, D.C., President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida, Apple’s under-construction headquarters in Cupertino, California, Utah’s Temple Square, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, and even Amazon’s new headquarters in Seattle, are all part of Nearmap — along with neighborhoods, construction sites and much more.
Nearmap is a location content provider that delivers high-resolution aerial imagery to businesses and government entities that allow for easy exploration of their environment. Based in Australia, this publicly traded company recently selected South Jordan, Utah, as the location for its U.S. headquarters.
Why did this growing tech company select Utah as its stateside hub? There are three distinct reasons that made Utah the ideal location for Nearmap — a tech-trained workforce, a culture of commitment, and welcoming business climate.
With five notable and growing Wasatch Front universities — Utah State, Weber State, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and Utah Valley University — churning out many STEM graduates, the Utah workforce is rich with tech-savvy minds.
With most of those graduates finding jobs within the state, tech companies like Adobe, Qualtrics, Novell, Pluralsight, and IM Flash find a wealth of highly qualified employees in their own backyard. Utah added the greatest percentage of tech jobs in the country during the first six months of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reaching 7.69 percent, leading all other states.
These impressive statistics made it only natural that Nearmap would hone in on the well-educated workforce as it looked to expand.
Culture of commitment
We’re all well aware that Utah is known as the Beehive State for good reason. Like a bustling hive, Utah’s workforce culture is one of industry and innovation. No longer just a pioneer-era adage, the work ethic of Utah residents is consistently praised.
In a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation called States Innovate, Utah ranks first in the nation for high-tech job growth, R&D investment and short-term job growth, third for higher-ed degree output, fourth for STEM job growth, and sixth for high-tech share of all businesses.
That desire for quality work, pride in innovation, and entrepreneurial drive caught the eye of Nearmap’s leadership as they sought out an environment with a committed work culture.
Welcoming business climate
The Ogden-Salt Lake City-Provo region of Utah boasts several advantages over other tech-company hubs like Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin, Texas, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York City. Cost of living, tax incentives for incoming businesses, affordable housing, startup incubators, convenient mass transit, and the extraordinary recreational opportunities are just some of the advantages Utah has over those larger metro areas.
By offering tax rebate incentives to companies that make capital investments in the state and create jobs, under the governorship of Gary Herbert, Utah is known and respected for welcoming a variety of businesses, from large corporations like eBay and Microsoft to burgeoning startups like Freshly Picked and Chatbooks.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report also noted that “although Silicon Valley remains the epicenter of U.S. high-tech activity, momentum is building in other states outside of California. In the survey’s rankings for high-tech performance, the top 10 widely divergent states range from Utah and Massachusetts to Virginia and Texas.”
Ultimately, when mapping out where this growing company would establish their U.S. headquarters, Utah’s tech-savvy employee base, ingrained work ethic, alluring business climate, and time zone alignment all proved to be part of the winning combination.