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ABQ data firm announces 80 new jobs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A data science company could receive up to $800,000 in state Local Economic Development Act funding for a project that will bring as many as 80 jobs to Downtown Albuquerque, Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday.

Resilient Solutions 21 LLC, also known as RS21, develops data analytics and visualization tools for businesses and government entities. The state funds, if they are approved, would be used to support a $2 million expansion and renovation of the company’s headquarters in the Occidental Life building.

Bernalillo County, which would act as the fiscal agent for the LEDA award, will vote on the incentive package on Oct. 23.

In a news release, the state said the expansion would allow RS21 to hire data scientists, developers, designers and other technology experts, increasing the company’s head count from 20 to 100.

Gov. Martinez said in a statement the project would “(help) . . . create high-quality jobs in our state, while also helping to bring new vibrancy to Albuquerque’s Downtown.”

RS21 President, CEO and Founder Charles Rath told the Journal the company has already started hiring, and that several of the new employees are New Mexicans who have returned from out-of-state.

“We’ve also started to receive emails from grandparents saying, ‘Are you really hiring developers? My grandson is a developer and I want him to come back,'” said Rath.

Rath said RS21 is committed to revitalizing the downtown area and offers employees “a generous amount” in the form of a monthly housing stipend if they choose to live in the neighborhood.

The company’s clients include Fortune 100 brands and federal agencies, according to information provided by the state. Federal databases show that one of those agencies is the General Services Administration, which awarded a $475,000, five-year contract to RS21 in 2016 for custom computer programming services. Rath said the company frequently works with health care and disaster preparedness clients.

According to county filings, at least 50 of the 80 new jobs will have base pay between $40,000 and $100,000 annually.

County Commissioner Michael Quezada said in a statement that he was “proud” RS21 chose Bernalillo County for its expansion and urged the county to approve the project.

The filings state the project will generate $2.3 million in economic output from construction activity as well as 24 direct and indirect construction jobs.

“Tech startups punch above their weight in terms of value to our economy,” said New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Matt Geisel in an interview. “These are the type of jobs that keep our kids here.”

Asked how the state would recoup money in the case it did not meet its hiring goals, Geisel said a clawback mechanism for the LEDA funds is mandated by state law. In the case of RS21, there is a five-part payout structure, with each part tied to a different hiring goal, and a surety bond that could be called upon by the state in the case of some kind of shortfall.

RS21 is also a participant in the state’s Job Training Incentive Program, which reimburses new and expanding businesses for 50 percent to 75 percent of employee wages for up to six months. According to a report from the Economic Development Department, the company was approved in fiscal year 2018 for up to about $300,000 in reimbursements for 13 jobs.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the Bernalillo County Commission had already approved the LEDA funds for RS21. The story has been updated to reflect the fact that the commission will vote on the project later this month.

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