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Tech Entreprenurs in Fort Bend County Find a Wealth of Talent, Support

Learn how a growing numbers of technology businesses in Fort Bend County, TX, are discovering Fort Bend's pro-business atmosphere, workforce and high quality of life.  

By Jason Zasky on July 10, 2015

Growing numbers of technology businesses are discovering what Texas Instruments (TI) learned more than 45 years ago – Fort Bend County’s pro-business atmosphere, dynamic workforce and high quality of life make it the perfect location for investment and expansion. Greater Houston is a hotbed of technology innovation, with more than 140,000 people employed in high-tech occupations that tap into the region’s energy, aerospace and other industry clusters. Increasingly, those workers and the companies that employ them are making Fort Bend County their location of choice. Moving to Sugar Land was one of the best things software developer HCSS did, says Vice President Sophie Rydin. The company develops software to help construction companies with tasks including estimating, bidding, dispatching and maintaining equipment.

Destination for Success

HCSS’ mission is to help customers dramatically improve their business through innovative, high-quality software and exceptionally helpful service while providing a great life for its employees. Being in Sugar Land helps it achieve those goals.

“Before we moved our office to Sugar Land in 2008, we were just a small business in Houston, never being recognized for receiving one of the best places to work in Texas and other awards, like a small fish in the ocean,” Rydin says. “We have since been treated like a valuable major business in the Sugar Land community, like a big fish in a small pond.”

HCSS isn’t alone. Other technology businesses that have gravitated to Fort Bend County include FairfieldNodal, a global leader in seismic nodal technology, and Ventyx, a leading supplier of industrial enterprise software for industries such as energy, mining and public infrastructure. The company is a subsidiary of Swiss-based ABB, a leader in power and automation technology systems.

Galleon Embedded Computing, a developer of high-performance, high-quality storage solutions, and small, rugged data recorder systems, servers and NAS devices, located its product development and system integration facilities in Katy. Applied Optoelectronics (AOI) has its corporate headquarters, wafer fabrication, advanced engineering and production facilities in Sugar Land. AOI’s products are the building blocks for broadband fiber access networks around the world and are used for cable television broadband, fiber-to-the-home, and Internet data centers. The company created a new market for its products when it developed a revolutionary new laser for measuring methane gas in the atmosphere. Such measurements are increasingly important in industries including oil and gas exploration, coal mining safety, chemical manufacturing, greenhouse gas monitoring and pipeline monitoring, says David Chen, AOI’s director of product management. “Every day we see new applications for fiber-optic based sensor technologies,” Chen says.

Fort Bend County: Unbeatable Location

All of these companies joined Texas Instruments, whose roots in Fort Bend County date back nearly half a century. TI is still growing. It most recently opened a 160,000-square-foot office for its Embedded Processing operations in Sugar Land. The facility, which houses 375 workers, includes an Innovation Center showcasing its latest technology. From its base in Sugar Land, FairfieldNodal provides its revolutionary seismic nodal technology to customers around the world. The company designs and manufactures a complete range of cable-free ZLand and ZMarine systems, and offers expert marine acquisition and data processing services. HCSS’ Rydin says Fort Bend County offers advantages that can’t be duplicated elsewhere.

“Sugar Land is a very tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone else and supports one another to prosper and succeed. We are proud to be a part of this great community,” she says. Among Fort Bend County’s key advantages are a highly educated workforce, with educational attainment levels above the state and national averages, and two campuses of the University of Houston system, she says.

“With a large pool of highly educated professionals, we were able to recruit and hire many full-time and part-time employees with various technical skills that we need,” Rydin says. “We have easy access to the career fairs at the UH campus and have hired several full-time and part-time employees with good skills.”

Fort Bend County’s high quality of life is another advantage, she says. “Sugar Land has become a desirable suburb for young professionals like most of our employees to work, live and raise a family,” she says. “We have been able to recruit and hire many out of town and out of state candidates after they tour our office and visit the neighborhoods in Sugar Land. They relocated to the Sugar Land area without any hesitation.”

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