Since arriving in the area in 2001, Avalex Technologies has proven to be a Game Changer for Northwest Florida’s growing technology industry.
“I moved down here with four employees,” says Avalex President Tad Ihns. “We should have over 60 employees here in the next couple of months.”
And those just aren’t any old jobs. Avalex provides the kind of high-paying, information-based careers Pensacola desperately needs.
“We hire electrical engineers, software engineers, mechanical engineers, program managers. I think our average wage is around $55,000. We also have very good benefits.”
Ihns sees Pensacola’s technology industry growing. With the right moves and the right investments, he believes it could take off.
“I think with the new engineering building out at UWF, and the quality of the graduates from UWF, and the desire of people to stay in this area, it could definitely grow into a hub.”
“There’s a real opportunity to grow over the next 10 years.”
Avalex produces both hardware and software for display and recording technologies in a wide variety of industries.
“We’re known pretty well for the quality of our displays, our variety of displays. We will make variants for customers, whereas a lot of our (competitors) will not. They’ll say here’s Part A, and that’s what you get. Whereas we’ll come up with
Part A-1 for one group of customers. And if someone else wants another variant, it’ll be Part A-2.”
“I guess it’s really customer responsiveness and innovation that set us apart.”
Avalex’s global reach and market leader position have proven attractive to partners and job candidates around the world. And that’s great news for Pensacola’s economy.
“We bring in 100 percent of our dollars from outside the area to Pensacola and to the region. We’ve hired people…from all over the place.”
When meeting with outsiders, Ihns works hard to sell them on the merits of the Pensacola area.
“There are so many good things about Pensacola. I think it’s really undiscovered. What we try to bring up is it’s a great place to live, cost of living is reasonable. But the quality of life is great. You don’t have any challenges with traffic, there’s no state income tax. It’s a great place to raise your kids.”
Ihns, who is the Board President of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, is also sure to mention Pensacola’s impressive arts community.
“And then when you look at the nightlife on Palafox on Gallery Night…downtown has become vibrant also.”
In addition to bringing outside talent and dollars to the community, Avalex is busy investing in their own future. They’re currently constructing a new state-of-the-art facility in Gulf Breeze.
“The new building has a lot of new facilities that we don’t have in our existing building for testing, design, verification, etc.”
“We’re also hiring more engineers. Our engineers are the fuel of our growth. We’re taking that opportunity with increased revenues to hire additional engineers in different areas so we can create new products for sale in the future.”
Avalex’s community investments aren’t limited to their own corporate endeavors.
“We invest in a lot of nonprofits in the community. Everything from Chain Reaction to the symphony, to the opera, and a wide range of groups, even Covenant Hospice. I think that’s one strong thing that growing companies should do.”
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