Santa Fe IT firm gets state money for employee growth - Albuquerque Journal

Santa Fe IT firm gets state money for employee growth

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Kimberly deCastro, the owner and founder of Wildflower, held a news conference to announce the expansion for her ITcompany in Santa Fe, Tuesday May 24, 2016. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA Fe — Wildflower International, an IT firm that services federal agencies, has received a $75,000 state economic development grant to refurbish new office space to support employee growth and to help connect to northern New Mexico’s “REDInet” broadband infrastructure.

The governor’s office touted the Local Economic Development Act financing as creating 81 new jobs, but that represents Wildflower’s planned job growth over a period of years, the company’s director of finance said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Shelton said the firm has more than 70 employees now and expects to employ 150 people in the long-term. “I think we have a few years to do that kind of hiring,” he said.

Wildflower, founded by Santa Fean Kimberly deCastro out of her house about 25 years ago, serves national laboratories and other large federal agencies and has more than a dozen contracts, said Shelton. The total includes new contracts with agencies under the U.S. Army and NASA.

Last year, Wildflower moved into the distinctive “pink church” building at 1516 Pacheco St., previously a site for dance instruction and other activities. It also took over other structures on the same property, including a large barn-like building in the rear into which operations will be expanded. The firm also is keeping space in its previous location in the St. Francis Professional Park.

Wildflower provides various IT services, from servers to data management to employee work stations, according to Shelton. Gov. Martinez wished the firm “a ton of luck” and said her administration’s support for Wildflower isn’t political. “It’s making sure New Mexicans get jobs,” she said.

Mayor Javier Gonzales said he grew up near deCastro’s family and that Santa Fe is a national leader in the percentage of women-owned firms. DeCastro said, “With LEDA funding, we can grow Wildflower even more in the years to come.”

A news release from the governor’s office said new jobs at Wildflower will include IT, engineering, management and customer service positions, ranging in salary from $18 an hour to $150,000 annually. The state also is also working with Wildflower to help it apply for Job Training Incentive Program funding, which helps companies hire and train workers as they grow.

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