FLINT — With Michigan ranked 5th in the nation for tech jobs and 4th for business expansions, Online Tech has turned an abandoned auto site into a growing source of new tech jobs and opportunities.
General Motors was born in Flint in 1908, at its peak employing nearly 80,000 workers in the area. By 2009, the 101-year-old auto giant filed for bankruptcy and employed just 8,000. Flint’s unemployment rate that year topped 15 percent.
Disaster recovery is of increasing concern as the 2013 Super Bowl blackout and Hurricane Sandy showed the vulnerability of existing infrastructure in much of the nation. Michigan is safer from natural disaster than any other state in the continental United States with companies looking more to the national’s “North Coast” in the Midwest for safer data storage.
Nearly four years after the GM bankruptcy, Flint area unemployment is down to 9 percent as the auto industry comes back and other new players emerge. Online Tech’s Mid-Michigan data center, designed by EDS to be a disaster recovery site for General Motors, is one of 15 shuttered GM sites in the Flint area that have taken on new lives.
“It would be great to see other companies leverage the assets that GM has left behind,” Online Tech Co-CEO Mike Klein said in a recent interview. The 32,000 square foot Flint site has been considered “a diamond in the rough” by Online Tech staff. Healthcare providers and other tech companies like Repocast.com are also growing, seeing great opportunities at the former old GM sites.
Online Tech has already invested $1 million into updating the site and received an EPA Energy Star certification for their energy efficiency efforts in 2012. In January this year, Online Tech announced it is planning to spend another $1 million at its Flint data center, and hire 7-8 technical staff over the next 12-18 months. The ideal candidates range from early-level career system administrators with 3-4 years of experience, to more senior level candidates with 6-7 years of experience and VMWare, Storage Area Networks, firewalls and security protocols, and related skills.
Site Selection Magazine this month dubbed upper Midwest cities like Online Tech’s corporate headquarters of Ann Arbor “the Trust Belt,’’ for cutting taxes and adopting a more business-friendly climate. Online Tech has plans to add four new Midwest data centers, the company’s biggest expansion ever.
Online Tech is hosting a PCI DSS mobile security webinar with guest, Adam Goslin, COO, High Bit Security on Tuesday, April 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Join Adam as he reviews the challenges and details of the recent PCI mobile guidelines as they relate to PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) and PA DSS (Payment Application Data Security Standards) compliance.
More at www.onlinetech.com.