SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — N3, an Atlanta-based firm that helps companies with online sales and services, opened its office at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park on Monday, and also announced around 300 new positions would be created as a result.
The company will be housed in Building 2000 of the Tech Park, which will include utilizing 28,000 square feet for operations.
N3 CEO and co-founder Jeff Laue said he was impressed with West Virginia college graduates and their work ethic.
“We interviewed a lot of soon-to-graduate college students, and they had the right EQ and IQ and attitude that we don’t get anywhere else in the world,” he said.
Laue said they plan on hiring 200 people within N3’s first year in South Charleston.
“If you’re here in West Virginia, give us two years,” he said. “If you are in the top 5 percent, we’ll put you anywhere in the world, but most people will end up wanting to make their lives here.”
N3 provides assists clients with engaging with online audiences and internet sales consulting. Companies that have used N3’s services include Microsoft Corp., SAP SE and Grainger.
According to the Tech Park, the Kanawha County facility was founded in 2011 using the former Union Carbide and Dow Chemical Co. buildings on the 258-acre site. More than 650 people currently work at the site.
Federal, state and local officials were at Monday’s ceremony, including U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher, state House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, and Kanawha County Commissioners Kent Carper and Ben Salango.
“West Virginia is coming back to life. They’re getting their feet under them, and I think you’re going to see some great things happening,” Manchin said. “I really do.”
Manchin was governor when Dow Chemical Co. donated the Tech park to the state in 2010. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission now oversees the complex.
“As companies like N3 will attest, supporting the educational attainment of our state’s citizens is essential to attracting quality employers and fueling economic development and innovation,” commission Chancellor Paul Hill said in a release. “Our colleges and universities have been at the forefront of our state’s efforts to revitalize our economy and support the development of cutting-edge industries, such as N3, here in the Mountain State.”
Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert said N3’s presence will allow graduates from state universities jobs in West Virginia rather than feeling they have to move to another state.
“We have many graduates that would be applicable to N3 and would love to stay in West Virginia, but just can’t find the employment opportunities they would like to have,” he said. “It’s sort of bad seeing that brain drain, and we want to keep that intellectual fire power here in the state.”
Manchin said N3 will provide the jobs and training to those best suited for the job.
“I don’t want to hear anymore, ‘Well, we had to leave,'” he added. “You don’t have to leave.”
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., through spokesperson Ashley Berrang, said the announcement was “a welcome investment in the South Charleston community and will bolster efforts to bring more technology-based jobs to West Virginia.”
Capito was with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Parkersburg on Monday to discuss the importance of tax reform, one of the items lawmakers are expected to push when they return to Washington, D.C. next week.
N3, Manchin’s office, the Charleston Area Alliance development group and others have scheduled a career fair for Sept. 20 at the Clay Center for Arts and Sciences. According to Laue, the firm is looking to hire 50 people at the event.