Editor’s note: Trendsetters is a Local Tech Wire feature that focuses on emerging and trend-setting companies.When long-time Triangle entrepreneur Andy Cummins was choosing a name for a new network services firm he was forming last year, he couldn’t help but think of the shift in the market from selling hardware and software to that of services.

“As we step back and look at the industry,” Cummins says, “what customers are looking for is service. What they need are ‘hired guns’.”

And Hired Guns is what they got.

That’s the name of the company Cummins founded in Raleigh last year. Now Hired Guns is expanding rapidly…so much so that it’s moving into Interpath’s old headquarters building in Morrisville’s Perimeter Park. Interpath is moving most of its operations to Maryland as part of a previously announced acquisition by USinternetworking (USi). Some of Interpath’s customers also are going to Charlotte-based US LEC, a regional telecom company.

While some 20 Interpath employees will remain in the building as part of a USi office, Hired Guns is taking over the vast majority of the space, including the state-of-the-art network operations center. Cummins says the move is already in motion, and that 40 to 50 employees will be in place by Christmas. Peak 10, a web hosting company with operations in Charlotte and Florida, also is moving into the Interpath space.

“We develop in-house systems that monitor customers’ networks and increase the efficiency of networks,” explains Cummins, who serves as chief executive officer of Hired Guns. “Our business has grown ahead of plans. Customers require additional services and with new markets, we needed a larger network operations center to support growth.”

Cummins says Hired Guns, which is currently at an office on Six Forks Road in Raleigh, considered the Interpath site along with a few others, as well as building a new headquarters. But in the end, Interpath’s five-year, about $1.5 million lease was too good to turn down.

“We negotiated a win-win-win situation for Interpath, Hired Guns and our customers,” Cummins says. “Interpath did a wonderful job at building the network operations center…from the layout to the location of the building. The support systems are second to none. Looking at and weighing the costs, they made an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

IP telephony market grows

During the move into the new space, Cummins says Hired Guns expects little if any problems. He says engineers have already put together a “seamless plan” for moving, allowing for little, if any, down time.

“We’ve taken all precautions and measures to make sure it is a painless move,” says Cummins. “This allows us to have a central service center.”

Hired Guns offers a line of network management, support and consulting services called SureNet. The network management and support services offered as a part of SureNet include monitoring, troubleshooting, maintenance, replacement, staff supplementation and asset management and procurement. Hired Guns’ consulting services offer network design, project management and installation, software application development and a security audit.

As a part of the SureNet suite, Cummins says Hired Guns’ Alert monitoring tool opens up the market for mid-size companies, making the service an affordable solution.

“But what’s really exciting is the IP telephony market,” says Cummins. “We have the only IP telephony solution (in the area) that has a network operation center that can monitor telephone, as well as data network.”

He points to Hired Guns’ recent, all-inclusive contract with Forbo, a Swiss industrial group. Forbo’s adhesive division, Forbo Adhesive LLC, recently moved its North American headquarters to Durham, in part because of its contract with Hired Guns.

Hired Guns:www.hiredgunsonline.com