By Brice Wallace
A tech darling has committed to expand in Utah by adding 2,464 jobs over the next decade and building a large tech campus.
Pluralsight, currently based in Farmington, will move its headquarters somewhere south of Salt Lake City. The company made the announcement about the $371.8 million expansion after being approved for a $21.4 million tax credit incentive by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) board at the board’s September meeting.
Founded in 2004, the company provides businesses or individual subscribers with on-demand access to digital learning tools, including adaptive skill tests, directed learning paths, expert-authored courses, interactive labs and live mentoring. It serves 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Profitable since its founding, Pluralsight has experienced a compounded annual revenue growth rate of over 80 percent for the past five years.
“What started in Utah will stay in Utah,” Aaron Skonnard, co-founded and chief executive officer, told the GOED board, eliciting applause.
During the exploration and building phase of its new headquarters, the company will accommodate its growth by moving many software engineering and other technical functions from its Farmington and Lehi locations to a new location in South Jordan in October. All other functions will remain in Farmington until construction is finished on its new headquarters.
Skonnard said the company has 750 employees in 10 offices, including four U.S. satellite offices outside Utah and one international office. The four satellite offices will be consolidated in Utah.
“We are committed to investing heavily in Utah in the workforce,” he said. “This will be the head of our R&D, of our tech, it’s going to be the head of our sales and marketing … and it’s going to be incredible. We believe in Utah.”
The company plans to build a state-of-the-art tech campus “that will hold thousands and thousands of people,” Skonnard said. It will need at least 40 acres and will build “multiple buildings that can hold us for decades to come. What we don’t want to do is have to move again.”
In a news release announcing the expansion, Skonnard is quoted as saying, “We’ve loved our home in Farmington and are looking forward to creating a new, much larger home south of Salt Lake City.” He said that Silicon Slopes has a “deep talent pool” for software engineers and other technical jobs that is thriving.
GOED board member Chris Conabee described Pluralsight as “a great home-grown company” and “a very successful business.” He noted that Utah competed with seven other sites for the expansion project.
“It’s a global company,” Skonnard told the board. “We could have chosen to take our headquarters anywhere. The Bay Area would have been a great choice. Seattle would have been a great choice. We evaluated all those markets. In the end, it was because of our commitment to Utah and what we see in our future in Utah that we have decided to stay here. … We’re committed. You can count on us to create an amazing company here that will last for decades to come.”
The expansion is expected to result in $1.4 billion in new wages over the next decade and $86.2 million in new state tax revenues during that time.
“Pluralsight is a Utah business success story, and we are proud to support the expansion of homegrown companies,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said in a prepared statement. “As a major player in Silicon Slopes, Pluralsight will continue to benefit from the state’s strong business environment and talent. We look forward to their future growth.”
“We congratulate Pluralsight on their phenomenal success, and look forward to working with them to select a permanent site in the coming months,” said Theresa Foxley, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.
Skonnard said Pluralsight’s mission is to “democratize technology,” making it available to people in Third World countries.
“Giving technology skills to them is, in my opinion, the No. 1 thing that can break them out of the entrapments they find themselves in,” he said. “So, it ties into education, but technology is the super-power of the future.”