With seven years of accelerated growth under its belt, Albuquerque engineering firm Verus Research has opted to convert the old Babies “R” Us building at I-40 and Eubank into a spacious, high-tech facility that can accommodate continued expansion for years to come.
The company, which launched in 2014, began occupying the 41,000-square-foot building on Thursday. The move will immediately alleviate pressure at other crowded Verus facilities around town, while also resolving, at least temporarily, the company’s constant need for more space, said Managing Director Hank Andrews.
“We scratched that itch,” Andrews told the Journal. “This gives us room to grow.”
The company is one of New Mexico’s fastest-growing technology firms, earning top spots on the Journal’s annual Flying 40 list of rapidly expanding tech companies for three years in a row, including the latest report on high-flying businesses that will appear in this Monday’s Business Outlook.
The company specializes in research and development of radio frequency communications for high-power microwave systems, and for nuclear engineering, with extensive modeling, simulation, testing and design work.
U.S. Department of Defense efforts to deploy emerging microwave, or “directed energy,” systems on the battlefield has provided immense opportunities for Verus and other local companies to help perfect the military’s vision for non-kinetic technologies that can instantly disable things like enemy drones without blowing stuff up, limiting collateral damage.
Verus is developing specialized sensors, instruments and diagnostics to track and confirm weapon performance to make sure those systems always do exactly what they’re intended before deploying them for use by warfighters.
“Our job is to create a repeatable phenomenon that is fieldable by America’s fighting forces,” Andrews said. “There are no PhD’s on the battlefield. We need to make these systems robust and reliable to be operated by any of us.”
To manage that work, the company’s employee base has grown from just 15 in 2015 to 107 today, with nearly two dozen more hires expected in coming months. To house everyone, the company expanded since 2014 from just one 3,400-square-foot office into four different facilities with a combined 56,000 square feet.
The newly-remodeled Babies “R” Us will expand total company space to 88,000 square feet, after closing down one overcrowded facility it now operates at Midway Industrial Park near I-25 and Menaul.
Verus completely gutted the old “big box” retail facility, converting about 11,000 square feet into offices, conference rooms and co-working spaces. The remaining 31,000 square feet includes huge open bays with ample room for research and engineering workspaces.
The facility was bustling Thursday as movers installed office furniture and equipment. That includes a massive, enclosed “anechoic chamber” for radio frequency testing.
“We were bursting at the seams at Midway Park,” Andrews said. “We’ll move all our employees from there over to here now.”