Study: IT sector grew fastest in Culpeper
Apr 18, 2012 (Culpeper Star-Exponent - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Information technology & telecommunications led Culpeper County in industry advancement the past five years experiencing 26 percent growth with the addition of 191 jobs, according to a new market study.
The group also had the highest average earnings at $77,036 the regional report commissioned by the seven-county Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development said.
An example of a local IT firm is Terremark, which opened its $250 million data center here in 2008, and has continued to expand. Last January, Verizon bought the international cloud computing company for $1.4 billion.
The market study by Tennessee-based Younger Associates reported 921 Culpeper County jobs in IT & telecommunications in 2011 and 54 firms.
"Brand this region as the region for ... IT," said Sharon Younger of Younger Associates at an unveiling of the study last week in Culpeper. "This is a hotbed of where the growth will be."
Culpeper County is especially poised region-wide to attract IT industry because of its proximity to D.C. (close but not too close) along with its firmly established broadbrand infrastructure. Lower wages in Culpeper can also attract employers, the study said.
"You've got a great quality of life and a great location," Younger said.
Though the recent market study showed IT as the fastest growing industry in Culpeper County, support services, unfortunately, have not kept pace.
"... the county's economy has not fully adjusted to the rapid growth in ... Information Technology & Telecommunications. To date, support services and supply chain activities for these growing industries are performed outside the county," the report said.
Still, the IT sector grew faster in Culpeper from 2005-2011 than the national trend, according to the study which further identified the county's "technology assets" -- companies that create knowledge or employ knowledge workers. Culpeper County's technology assets, besides Terremark, include the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, Attotek and two aerospace companies, Rochester Wire & Cable and Propulsion Systems, the study listed.
"Multiple broadband fiber-optic communications trunk lines and redundant sources of electrical power are necessary for operations of this type and magnitude. Culpeper County meets these requirements with two electric providers and three major telecom providers," according to the study.
Numerous sectors, most notably the federal government, are increasingly looking to locate operations to rural settings like Culpeper as the events of 9/11 emphasized the critical importance of having alternative data centers to the main ones in Washington, D.C. or NYC, the report said, mentioning the Packard Campus and Terremark as examples of rural outsourcing at play here.
Low power costs and location on the U.S. 29 corridor are among Culpeper's other selling points.
"It is likely that many of the jobs are filled by people who have moved to Culpeper County from the Washington, D.C. area because of the high skill and security clearances required," the study in the Technology Assets section.
The study more specifically identified data processing, hosting & related services as among new and emerging industries in Culpeper County -- in 2006 there were 119 jobs in the field compared to 245 in 2011. The average salary here for data processing positions was $108,227.
Network World magazine recently named Terremark at No. 9 among the 10 most powerful IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) companies on the globe. The publication recognized Terremark for its multi-pronged approach to providing data security and services. The company, with its location in Culpeper, primarily stores massive amounts of electronic information for a range of clients including the federal government.
Earlier this month, Terremark launched the latest addition to its portfolio of secure cloud offerings -- the Enterprise Cloud Private Edition. Cloud computing is a networking solution in which everything from computing power and computing infrastructure to applications is delivered as a service anywhere at any time.
Top 5 growth industries in Culpeper County: 2005-2011
1) Information technology & Telecommunications -- grew 26 percent adding 191 jobs
2) Health Services -- grew 18 percent adding 231 jobs
3) Transportation & Logistics -- grew 15 percent adding 39 jobs
4) Apparel & Textiles -- grew 11 percent adding 37 jobs
5) Business & Financial Services -- grew 10 percent adding 169 jobs
Shrinking industries in Culpeper County: 2005-2011
1) Forest & Wood products -- decreased 52 percent losing 739 jobs
2) Arts, Entertainment, Recreation & Visitor Industries -- decreased 11 percent losing 57 jobs
3) Education & Knowledge -- decreased 10 percent losing 20 jobs
4) Printing & Publishing -- decreased 9 percent losing 43 jobs
Source: Comprehensive Target Markets Report by Younger Associates. View the entire report online at http://surveys.younger-associates.com/va/tjped/
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