F5 Networks Inc., a Seattle-based maker of computer networking equipment, has opened its second facility in Liberty Lake.
The new 28,000-square-foot facility, which opened earlier this month, is set to be F5’s largest support center in North America, and will house the company’s global support services team and include several conference rooms and an 18-seat training room.
Mark Kramer, senior vice president of global customer support at F5 Networks, says the new location is the third support center the company has opened in the past 18 months.
The center’s opening celebration this week included addresses from company COO Julian Eames and Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Todd Mielke. Following the ribbon cutting, Liberty Lake mayor Steve Peterson also spoke regarding the opportunity for growth in Spokane.
Kramer says the company chose to expand to a second location here based on the fast-growing level of information technology and engineering talent in the Inland Northwest.
“There is no shortage here of highly educated, motivated, and loyal candidates available to fill positions within our company,” he says.
Kramer says the new facility, located at 23321 E. Knox, is just under two miles east of the company’s previously established product development office here, at 1322 N Whitman Lane, in the Liberty Lake Corporate Park.
“We needed more room, as our support services team was growing, yet we wanted to keep them in the same area, so they could continue to work with each other. So we chose a nearby location to house the support team, allowing for both to grow,” he says.
F5 Networks currently has a total of 200 employees working at its Liberty Lake facilities, with 115 of them making up the product development team, and the remaining 85 making up the support center team at the new location.
Kramer says the company plans to fill both locations to capacity with a 5 percent growth rate over the next three to five years. The new support center has a capacity for 127 employees, while the product development offices have room for 239 total. This growth would add a total of 166 employees to the company over the next few years.
“Between the two teams, we’ll have a pretty big presence here,” says Kramer.
In its financial results for its fiscal year 2016 first quarter that ended Dec. 31, F5 Networks announced a revenue of $489.5 million, an increase of 6 percent from $462.8 million in the year earlier period.
The company reported net income of $89.7 million, or $1.28 per share, up from $89.1 million, or $1.21 a share, in the first quarter a year ago.
In a recent press release, John McAdam, F5 president and CEO, said most of the company’s growth has been occurring in software sales, particularly security modules and sales of virtual editions.
“Security remains a key driver of growth for the business, with million dollar-plus security deals up year over year. In addition, our operating model continues to drive solid profitability and cash generation, with cash flow from operations at a record $204 million for the quarter,” McAdam says.
Kramer says he agrees that the company is beginning to focus more on developing security services, as well as offering cloud computing resources, which allow for centralized data storage and online access to computer services.
“We’re moving more into the world of security, helping customers minimize risk and secure networks and applications. So now we’re looking not just at offering applications, but also protecting them,” he says.
Kramer says the company also will be refreshing its product line, releasing new versions this summer.
Established in 1996, F5 Networks is a multinational company with development, manufacturing, sales, and marketing offices worldwide. The company specializes in what’s called application delivery networking (ADN) technology that it says optimizes the delivery of network-based applications and the security, performance, and availability of servers, data storage devices, and other network resources.
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