Aruba Networks Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based wireless networking device and software manufacturer and vendor, has landed a number of contracts throughout the Inland Northwest and beyond, and its two-person team here has opened an office downtown, says Bill Kalivas, Aruba’s Spokane-based territory manager.
Aruba’s recent contracts here include a $1.5 million-plus agreement with Gonzaga University to expand its campus wireless network, Kalivas says.
Aruba also recently won a bid to supply wireless technology to the Davenport Grand Hotel under construction downtown, he says, although he declines to disclose contract values for private-sector clients.
Other private-sector clients downtown include the Spokane headquarters offices of high-temperature, industrial-application materials maker Pyrotek Inc., Kalivas says.
“We recently were awarded wireless business at Itron for their global offices,” he says. Itron Inc. is the Liberty Lake-based maker of utility meter-reading technology.
Aruba also is competing for a $3.7 million-plus, three-year contract to be the wireless vendor for Spokane Public Schools.
Last year, the company won a $500,000 contract with the Central Valley School District.
The territory served out of Spokane includes all of Eastern Washington, North Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.
“The territory is pretty big,” Kalivas says, adding that Aruba technology is installed in six of nine locations that are part of Montana’s university system.
Kalivas and systems engineer Steve Dolezal are the only Aruba employees based in Spokane, although their goal is to expand the team, Kalivas says. They recently leased 300 square feet of office space on the third floor of the Seehorn building at Steam Plant Square.
“We work with a lot of subcontractors that resell and install our equipment,” Kalivas says. “Several of our local partners are increasing hiring to keep up with demand.”
The trend in Internet connectivity is moving away from desktop PCs that connect to wall jacks and increasingly more toward mobile devices, he asserts.
That adds to responsibilities for information technology departments, Kalivas says.
“They have to support wireless devices, and we’re the beneficiaries of that,” he says.
Aruba also works with construction companies when planning new buildings.
“We can help them save money by not overbuilding,” he says. “The building industry can build fewer wire drops to each building, because most people use devices that connect wirelessly.”
Some of Aruba Networks’ connectivity hardware looks similar to ceiling-mounted fire alarms, Kalivas says.
“Some of our larger accounts buy thousands of them,” he says.
Aruba also sells software that manages the connectivity systems.
Another Aruba application controls security of the networking system to prevent hacking and data breaches.
“Security is our hottest product right now,” Kalivas says.
Kalivas in 2009 founded LaunchPad Inland Northwest LLC, an online professional networking and business development advocacy platform, which he recently sold to Greater Spokane Incorporated.
GSI has integrated LaunchPad’s assets into its Startup Spokane program, which connects entrepreneurs and startups to the resources to help them succeed.
Aruba Networks was founded in 2002 and has operations throughout North America and South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region. The company’s 2014 sales totaled $729 million, according to its year-end earnings report.
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