Itron, an international energy technology firm, that operates in more than 100 countries and has an office in Raleigh, has plans to grow its Triangle presence and has affirmed that commitment by joining the board of the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster.

“We have been expanding over the last two years – from 160 to over 200 employees,” says Dave Godwin, who runs Itron’s operations in the Triangle.

“Future plans are to do some expansion,” he adds.

Right now, the company is looking to hire.

“Software development area,” Godwin says when asked what skills the company needs. He notes that software development “is primarily what we do in Raleigh.”

The Cleantech Cluster announced Itron’s membership on Monday. The company had not been a member before deciding to commit $75,000 over three years and in return receives a seat on the organization’s board, says Lee Anne Nance, who is the cluster’s managing director.

Itron becomes the 12th board member. 

While new to the Cluster, Itron is not new to the Triangle. It has had a presence in Raleigh since 1996 when the company merged with UTS. That firm operated in Raleigh since 1980, according to Godwin. 

Godwin says joining the Cluster organization makes sense because of its own customers.

Asked why Itron joined, he explains: “Because when you look at our customer base – water, electric and gas utilities – the technology to support this market is high tech and clean tech.”

He also says Cluster membership will benefit Itron.

“The RTCC represents an opportunity for Itron to be involved with partners and customers in promoting growth, which will help the Research Triangle Region and Itron,” he says.

For its members, the Cluster “provides strategic partnering to leverage opportunities and face challenges more effectively and efficiently.” Godwin also sees the Triangle as a place that draws cleantech-focused companies for several reasons.

RTCC was founded to help grow the Triangle’s growing energy sector, and Godwin says the region offers a variety of strengths that he believes will boost cleantech efforts moving forward.

“There was a large presence of energy companies already here, and other tech companies, which has led to great university programs and a an unmatched talent pool that you have a difficult time replicating in other parts of the country,” he says.

Several organizations have joined the RTCC in recent months, including Cisco Systems and two North Carolina utilities.