Oakland County software firm launches expansion in downtown Ann Arbor
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Lakeside, which originally announced its intentions to expand here when it secured tax incentives from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. in March, is moving into the office space above Vinology on South Main Street.
Lakeside CEO Mike Schumacher said the company would like to hire about a dozen software developers as soon as possible to staff the new operation, which has space to hold up to 30.
The company eventually expects to hire more than 70 workers in Ann Arbor over the next several years, according to documents distributed by the MEDC in March. (Apply for jobs here.)
"The people we’re looking for have the experience and knowledge to be very adaptable," Schumacher said. "The technology, the tools we have change all the time. We need people who are pretty creative thinkers."
Lakeside produces software to help clients improve remote working capabilities, enhance security and reduce computer energy usage.
The company is maintaining its Bloomfield headquarters, where it conducts corporate functions such as sales and marketing.
But as demand surged for its business intelligence software, Lakeside struggled to recruit software talent in Bloomfield. Lakeside executives said the primary reason they decided to open the Ann Arbor office was to access the strong pool of software talent here.
The decision to expand in Ann Arbor was not inevitable, though.
Schumacher said Lakeside was considering an expansion in Silicon Valley when an MEDC representative placed a routine call to the company several months ago asking whether it needed assistance of any kind in its growth.
After discussions with MEDC and economic development group Ann Arbor SPARK, Lakeside visited Ann Arbor and was impressed by the talent available here.
Powering the company's expansion is demand for its software applications, which are sold and distributed through corporate partners such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, which package Lakeside's software into their own offerings.
The company considered a number of properties in Ann Arbor, including office space on South State Street and Miller Road, before settling on downtown, said Colliers International's Brendan Cavender.
Lakeside is leasing office space used by Google Inc. when the Internet giant first opened an office in Ann Arbor more than five years ago. The property's owners include local restaurateur Jon Carlson. Colliers' Jim Chaconas represented Carlson in the transaction, while Cavender represented Lakeside and led the lease negotiations.
Lakeside "needed cool space that will attract some good talent and I think we found them that," Cavender said. "It'll be a great fit."
Ann Arbor software development veteran Ed Wegryn will lead the company's local office. He said his first priority is hiring top-tier talent.
"The focus to me is more on the creative person, the independent person than the skills," he said. "We’ll train them."