When Corky Ellis decided to leave his New Jersey business to launch a software company, he knew exactly where to go. Ellis and his wife had driven through Maine before and fell in love with its wide open spaces, rugged beauty and coastal culture.
“I started the company here because this is where I wanted to live,” Ellis says.
Twenty years later, Portland-based Kepware Technologies has grown into a leading provider of communications software for manufacturers, oil and gas producers, utilities and other industries, helping them connect disparate automated devices and software applications.
Rising demand for automation across all industries fuels the company’s growth, but the secret to its success is its collection of high-caliber talent, Ellis says. Half of Kepware’s employees are University of Maine graduates, including its CEO Tony Paine, who started as an engineer at the firm.
“The most important thing in running a business is having good, smart people who share your values – it’s not hard to find that in Maine,” says Ellis, Kepware’s chairman.
Information technology companies gravitating to the state also find this to be true. Maine’s colleges and universities produce a high share of skilled, tech-savvy graduates who attract diverse technology firms, from semiconductor producers like Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor to cloud-based data protection groups like Carbonite, to software companies developing technologies for mapping, bioinformatics and financial services.
Adding to the workforce advantage are lower costs for businesses and a highly rated telecommunications infrastructure that includes more than 110,000 miles of fiber optic cable and 100 percent digital switching technology.
For the full story and more about entrepreneurship in Maine, visit BusinessClimate.com