[caption id="attachment_16861" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Harry Virk, owner of Alpha Technologies, checks in on the tile installation at his company's new headquarters in Wilmington. The company is moving to Delaware from Doylestown, Pa.[/caption]
By Kathy Canavan
Harry Virk, a naturalized American citizen born in India, wants to bring jobs in IT back to America from India.
"A lot of companies are going overseas for IT, and we are telling our clients, "˜Before you go overseas, please look at our model. Let's keep some jobs here,'" Virk said.
To do it, Virk purchased the One Customs House building at 704 N. King Street in Wilmington for $1.85 million last year. The Class B building, which will serve as Alpha Technologies USA Inc.'s new headquarters, is like a balloon waiting to be blown up as Virk's company grows.
"The plan is to fill that building with our employees. We did not buy that building for rental purposes," Virk said. "Seventy people could be hired in six months and we'll keep adding resources on a monthly basis, as our business grows. The plan is to have 500 people in the next four to five years."
About 30 employees will move to Delaware from the company's old corporate headquarters in Doylestown, Pa. The old headquarters will be leased once the company offices are moved. Alpha Technologies employs about 400 people worldwide, most working near the companies they serve.
Virk's business model is based on convincing companies to bring their application support and infrastructure support functions back from other time zones and other countries.
"I feel that a lot of our companies are pumping money overseas, and a lot of fresh graduates in the U.S. do not have jobs, an a lot of older people still don't have jobs. Their jobs were taken away by offshore companies. We are trying to adjust that," Virk said.
Virk said the time differences and language differences cause problem when software isn't working. He tells companies they can get real-time help, minimize their travel costs, communicate more clearly and solve cultural and compliance issues by switching to an American company. "The more interaction you have, the better quality of service you get with it," Virk said.
Alpha Technologies provides IT and hardware for nonprofits, state governments, pharmaceutical companies, insurance, retail, medical and communications companies.
Credit Suisse and JP Morgan and Novartis Pharmaceuticals are already clients, and Virk said he is on the hunt for additional clients, including the State of Delaware.
"We will be knocking at their doors once we get there," Virk said. "We don't have any local clients, but we will be looking to work with them.
Virk, who will commute to Wilmington from his Doylestown home, said he considered locating his company in Delaware because of its central location between his existing clients in New York City and his clients in Washington, D.C. He said the staff at the Delaware Economic Development Office was the tipping point. "The State of Delaware people were very friendly, and I didn't go to the state and ask for incentives, but they came back with incentives and we were very happy about it."
If Virk meets his hiring goals, he will receive $180,000 from the state, $200,000 in city wage tax abatements and some property tax incentives. "The state people were very good. I mean, I've never seen this kind of response from anywhere. I really love them," Virk said.
Virk said Wilmington's crime rate did not factor into his decision. "Not at all," he said.
Alpha Technologies will offer clients free limousine service to its headquarters or free transportation on the company's two private jets.