The “help wanted” sign is out at Cisco Systems as the networking giant continues to grow its Triangle campus.
Cisco executives unveiled their newest building on Tuesday – No. 12 or the “Park Falls” structure – to a host of dignitaries and reporters. The company also noted that it has added 900 employees over the past 24 months to its Triangle workforce, boosting the number to 4,200.
The near 30 percent increase in jobs – with most coming in technical support and engineering functions – now makes the RTP operation the second largest for the international company. Only its headquarters campus in Silicon Valley is larger.
And the hiring is not finished, said Edward Paradise, the site executive for RTP as well as a corporate vice president.
“The growth will continue as business warrants,” Paradise said in an interview. Noting that 80 percent of the additions were full time and 20 percent were contractors, Paradise said RTP could continue to see growth due in part to its increasing importance as a site for customer support.
The Park Falls structure is the new home for the support group, which recently vacated the Woodland, Cisco’s original RTP structure. It is being remodeled.
The move into Number 12 as well as recently opened buildings 10 and 11 mean that the campus is filled, a company spokesperson noted. Cisco sold three “shell” buildings to Nertwork Appliance in 2004. Following the economic downturn and the “dot com” implosion in 2001, Cisco scaled back growth plans and its work force in RTP.
These days, however, Cisco’s business is booming as reflected in its earnings announcement Tuesday afternoon that topped Wall Street expectations.
The Park Falls building’s shell was completed in 2001. The recently completed up fit packed the structure with the latest amenities ranging from a game room, “energy pods” for naps, and lounges to a mammoth equipment and application testing center that packs racks full of servers packing terabyte-per-second capability.
In fact, the Internet Protocol Next Generation Network lab/testing center can process 92 terabytes of information per second – horsepower needed to help telecommunications companies test applications for services such as Internet Protocol-based TV.
The building reflects Cisco’s “expanded presence” and “continuing commitment” to North Carolina, Paradise said. Cisco established its first presence in 1991 and opened its first RTP building in 1995.
In remarks to guests, including N.C. Commerce Secretary Jim Fain, Paradise cited two key reasons for Cisco’s Triangle growth – access to workers and the region’s quality of life.
“We hire more engineers from North Carolina State University than any other campus company wide,” Paradise said.
Cisco also is seeking to grow North Carolina’s talent pool through 99 “Cisco Academy” programs at schools that include some 3,000 students. The company works as well with Wake Tech Community College on workforce training.
Joseph Pinto, the Cisco vice president who oversees the customer support group, pointed out that the RTP center is one of only three like it in the company. One reason it was placed in RTP was the quality of workers, he added.
“Having people who are just willing to do the right thing is crucial,” he said, “both at work and as good citizens.”