Executives of the global technology firm Capgemini say they chose Columbia as the site for company expansion because of the cooperation between state and local officials to lure the company to the Capital City.
“The university, the military bases, the access to talent and the focus and the leadership of the city and the state were critical,” Capgemini North America President John Mullen, said. “That was a big factor in our decision was where do we see the city and state three, four, five years from now? And we’re very impressed with what we saw right away.”
Capgemini executives and dozens of state, regional and Columbia leaders cut the ribbon on the company’s new Security Operations Center at the BullStreet development on Wednesday. Employees can sit at their workstations and look out upon the Spirit Communications Park minor league baseball stadium.
“The ability of the city, the region and the state all collaborated and worked together,” Capgemini Vice President of Operations Paul Naquin said. “The group here, the teams from each of those three levels really collaborated very well from the get-go.”
University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides also was part of Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting.
“As Capgemini goes, so does the University of South Carolina,” he said. “Students want Capgemini. They want to know they’re living and working in a city that is closer to the cutting edge than from where they came. And what you do here gives us hope that Columbia’s future is not only going to be about high touch, but about high tech as well.”
Mullen said the relationship with the University is important.
“Getting access to the world’s best talent and helping develop with the University the talent that graduates and help them to stay in the state and continue to work in a technology-forward environment, the things that are cutting edge in new technology in the business world. We want to offer that opportunity,” he said.
Naquin said University of South Carolina students offer the soft skills the company wants. Capgemini also plans to tap into the military pool of potential employees, including their spouses, particularly from the U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Gordon near Augusta.
Capgemini is a $14 billion company which provides technology support services to Fortune 500 corporations. It helps them develop new technology strategies and means to operate their technology. With about 200 current employees in Columbia, the company anticipates it will bring a total of 500 new jobs to the Bull Street center.
Capgemini has about 200,000 employees in 40 countries.