Expansion to create 100 jobs, capital investment of more than $4 million
On Thursday, February 19th, a host of local and state dignitaries were on hand to celebrate the relocation of the corporate headquarters of Optym, a global leader in logistics and transportation planning and scheduling software that caters to Fortune 500 companies primarily in the railroad, mining, airline, shipping/distribution, trucking and intermodal transport industries.
As an offspring of the academic and professional endeavors of a University of Florida professor and his graduate students, Optym was originally founded in 2000 by Dr. Ravindra K. Ahuja in Gainesville under the name Innovative Scheduling, and rebranded itself as Optym in 2014. Since hiring it’s first employees in 2004, Optym had been located at the Gainesville Technology Entrepreneurship Center, a Santa Fe College-led business incubator focusing on technology and light manufacturing.
“Optym is a perfect example of how a research university can contribute to economic development and how the boundaries between industry and academia are beginning to soften,” said Dr. Cammy Abernathy, Dean of the University of Florida, College of Engineering. “By allowing and encouraging outstanding faculty like Dr. Ahuja to pursue their work all the way to commercialization, yet still maintain their relationship with the University, we can help to ensure that the tech talent needed to grow our economy will be attracted to and stay in Florida.”
“By allowing and encouraging outstanding faculty like Dr. Ahuja to pursue their work all the way to commercialization, yet still maintain their relationship with the University, we can help to ensure that the tech talent needed to grow our economy will be attracted to and stay in Florida.”
“We are extremely pleased to see Optym expand its headquarters in the Greater Gainesville region,” said Santa Fe College president Jackson Sasser. “Santa Fe College is proud to have played a role in nurturing Optym’s growth and ability to create jobs for the region.”
The new 30,000 square foot headquarters, located at 7600 NW 5th Place will provide additional capacity for ongoing growth and expansion of it’s existing local staff of 75 full time employees, 24 of which were hired in 2014. In all, Optym has 150 employees throughout multiple locations including Armenia, Australia and India in addition to the Gainesville headquarters. The culturally diverse staff includes people from nearly 20 countries around the world.
Seth Lane, Director of Front Street Realty, worked with Optym to find the ideal location in Gainesville. Of their new location Lane said, “The building was a good fit due to its unique architectural features, large windows and open space. The space served as a blank canvas for which they could design their ideal environment.”
“Santa Fe College is proud to have played a role in nurturing Optym’s growth and ability to create jobs for the region.”
In the next 5 years Optym plans to utilize the expansive new space to house 100 new jobs and anticipates a capital investment of more than $4 million. Those new jobs will have an average full-time salary of over $80,000/year. While 80% of the new jobs are expected to be engineering related, the additional 20% will be in sales, marketing and administrative roles.
“The move to our own building represents a significant moment in our company’s history,” said Dr. Ahuja, the company’s Founding President and CEO. “We are poised for major growth in the coming year as we serve more clients worldwide in the transportation industry and expand into new sectors such as city planning and shared mobility.”
According to Dr. Ahuja, Optym has achieved 50% growth per year the past few years and he predicts continued growth to a $1 billion market valuation within the next 5 years. He attributes Optym’s strong growth to “a culture of always doing good things, being client focused and taking care of the Optym Family.”
Speaking to the crowd of ribbon cutting attendees, Governor Rick Scott said, “Optym’s expansion to their new corporate headquarters in Gainesville and the creation of 100 new jobs is a great win for the families of Alachua County.” Adding that “In four years, Florida businesses have created more than 728,000 private-sector jobs, and we will continue to work every day to make our state the global destination for jobs.”
Secretary of Commerce and Enterprise Florida president & CEO Gray Swoope said, “Florida has become a true economic super-state, with one of the best workforces in the nation and an ideal tax climate for businesses. Today we are celebrating Otypm’s growth, their expansion helps to further strengthen Florida’s IT industry, and we thank them for their continued investment in Florida.”
“Optym demonstrates how a homegrown Florida IT company can harness local talent, statewide partnerships and an international strategy to compete and grow.”
Florida is the nation’s third largest exporter of high-tech products, and home to more than 25,000 IT companies employing 250,000 professionals. The Information Technology cluster spread across North Central Florida has helped Alachua County establish itself as one of 23 counties that comprise Florida’s “High-Tech Corridor,” a premier region for IT innovation and growth.
“Ensuring companies have access to leading-edge training for employees is critical from a competitive standpoint in today’s global economy,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Chris Hart IV. “Optym demonstrates how a homegrown Florida IT company can harness local talent, statewide partnerships and an international strategy to compete and grow.”
“We are thrilled that Optym has chosen to expand here in the Greater Gainesville area, where it was founded,” said Council for Economic Outreach Chairman Todd Powell. “Supporting the IT industry is a strength and priority our region shares with the state. Optym’s expansion demonstrates the value of a strong, industry-focused entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
Optym has worked with some of the world commerce leaders around the world, including CSX Transportation, Canadian Pacific Railway, United Airlines and many more.