Businesses Thrive in East LansingWith each year that passes, the technology sector in East Lansing continues to grow and is becoming increasingly more vibrant. As the proud home of Michigan State University, there has been a continued focus on supporting the technology sector in the East Lansing/MSU community in order to bolster the economy, create new jobs and provide opportunities for students during and after college.
Earlier this year, IBM announced that it will be expanding its Crescent Road location, resulting in the creation of an additional 150 jobs in the fields of software development, program management, business analytics and information technology systems. IBM first opened its doors in East Lansing in 2009 as a Global Delivery Center, but with its latest expansion, the East Lansing location will now serve as an IBM Client Innovation Center. IBM is an Armonk, New York-based information technology giant that currently serves more than 60 North American clients from its East Lansing location.
The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) continues to make progress on MSU’s campus as well. The groundbreaking for the $730 million project took place in March 2014, and construction of the facility is currently ahead of schedule. MSU was selected as the site for the FRIB in 2008 and the project is slated for completion between 2020 and 2022. Once completed, the FRIB will be capable of performing world-leading physics research by helping scientists better understand the forces that hold atoms together. The facility is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and will be operated by MSU.
In the heart of downtown East Lansing, the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center (TIC) continues to see success with many graduates and new tenants coming on board regularly. The TIC opened its doors in 2008 and, through its support of business startups, has continued to facilitate the development of a technology-based economy in mid-Michigan, while bolstering the area’s professional workforce. In March 2010, MSU Technologies opened its doors as the anchor tenant in the SmartZone space adjacent to the TIC, along with MSU Business-CONNECT. The MSU Entrepreneurship Network, The Hatch and MSU Spartan Innovations were soon to follow. The TIC itself and several of its tenants have been honored with various awards and recognitions throughout the years and several of the TIC’s graduating tenants have relocated and continued to run successful businesses out of the office space located on the second floor of The State News building. In its seven years in the East Lansing/MSU community, the TIC has supported more than 30 new businesses and remains an important anchor of the region’s growing technology sector.
Looking to the north part of the community, the little-known, but substantial technology company Vertafore opened its doors in East Lansing in 2012 and has continued to grow. Vertafore is headquartered in Seattle and serves the technology needs of the insurance industry. The company employs approximately 1,300 people nationally and has quietly grown its local presence to approximately 150 employees.
In addition to technology-based business growth, the City has also experienced a rebounding economy and significant investment in economic development in recent years. The future continues to look bright for the East Lansing/MSU community.
Tim Dempsey is the City of East Lansing’s Planning, Building and Development Director.