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Computer firm to open at PenMar

July 27, 2000

Computer firm to open at PenMar



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


A Gaithersburg, Md., computer company will open an office at the former Fort Ritchie Army base and expects to create 15 high-tech jobs within a year.

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Gaithersburg-based Planet Technologies Inc. will lease 5,120 square feet of office space at the base from the PenMar Development Corp. The company has signed a one-year lease that is renewable on an annual basis, said Scott Tucker, Planet Technologies president.

The company, founded in 1997, does consulting, network security and network infrastructure work, said Sam Cool, vice president of business development. It has a 5,000 square-foot-facility in Gaithersburg.

The company will have a technical team as well as sales and marketing support staff at its new office near Cascade, Cool said.

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When the PenMar Development Corp. was created, its goal was to create 2,000 high-tech jobs to replace jobs lost by the closure of the base in northeast Washington County.

While Planet Technologies is the first company to move there with high-tech jobs, company officials hope others will follow, Cool said.

"Planet Technologies is a well-established and leading edge information technology firm," said PenMar Executive Director James LaFleur. "PenMar Development Corp. is extremely pleased to have Planet as the newest resident of Lakeside Corporate Center and welcomes their expertise, particularly in fiberoptic network support."

The company will join the International Masonry Institute, which has a training center on the former base, and Role Models America Inc., which plans to open an academy for high school dropouts at the school.

Planet Technologies has 35 employees but expects to add 15 new jobs, Tucker said. The new jobs will be added within one year but he could not be more specific, he said.

He refused to say what the pay range would be for the jobs, for which workers must be highly skilled.

The company chose the site because of its proximity to both Hagerstown and Frederick, Cool said. The site will make it easier to serve some of its growing number of clients in Western Maryland, he said.

Another advantage is that there are highly skilled workers in that area who currently must commute elsewhere for jobs, Tucker said.

"Planet recognizes the growing technology requirements of the businesses in the Western Maryland area," Cool said.

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