A new tech business is expected to bring at least 10 and as many as 40 jobs to Denison thanks in part to a $80,000 incentive from the Denison Development Alliance.
Swagit Productions made the announcement that it will be opening a support and backup location in Denison Thursday following the motion by the DDA’s board of directors. For its new facility, Swagit will be purchasing a 10,000-square-foot facility on FM 84 that once was the Texoma Medical Center Rehab Center.
“We visited the community and the site several times, and each time it became clearer that this was an ideal location for our facility,” Bryan Halley, CEO of Swagit, said in a press release. “I live in the Texoma area, and we really liked Denison and its proximity to North Texas Regional Airport. We ship equipment all over the country, so NTRA will be a big asset for us.”
Swagit Productions was founded in 2003 and providers hands-free video streaming services to cities, counties, school districts and health providers. In total, Swagit works with over 500 governmental entities in North America, with 150 of those in Texas.
The company’s website lists Abilene, Cleburn and Miami Beach, Florida among its customers while visuals of its services include images from an Irving City Council meeting. In addition to its municipal services, Swagit offers video production services, including post-production, studio and recording booth sessions. Locally, Grayson County is among its clients.
Denison officials said the city is not currently a client of Swagit, but did not rule out the possibility in the future.
“The city does not currently stream its public meetings on the internet; however, with our updated meeting space and technology at the new city hall building, this is now an opportunity we may consider,” Sunny Mackey, Denison director of community engagement, said. “The city will explore all options for this service to find the most economical and value-added opportunity.”
With the growth of its business, Halley said Swagit needed to expand its network to include redundancy. The new Denison facility will provide backup and support to the Dallas headquarters and function as the company’s emergency operations center.
The move to the Denison location comes only two years after the company relocated its headquarters from a 6,000-square-foot facility in Plano to a 23,000-square-foot building in Dallas.
“Here we are, two years later, coming to the city of Denison saying we need 10,000 square feet of more space,” Halley said.
The decision to choose Denison as the home of its new backup site comes due to several factors, Halley said. The location is close enough to the headquarters that commuting is possible, and the site has access to needed fiber-optic infrastructure, he said.
When it begins operations in early 2019, the facility will start with a staff of 10 with plans to grow to 40 at full build out. Hiring for these initial jobs is expected to start soon, officials said. Halley said the 40 full-time jobs will include everything from entry-level jobs with a salary of $30,000 to management positions.
The $80,000 incentive is based on this job creation, with the DDA prepared to offer $2,000 per job, DDA President Tony Kaai said. Under the terms of the agreement, the DDA plans to pay Swagit 1.69 percent of its base taxable payroll for the next five years. If Swagit is fully staffed throughout this five-year period, the estimated payroll for the business is about $4.73 million.
“The economic benefit to the community of the payroll will have already hit the market by the time the incentive has been issued,” Kaai said.
Beyond the payroll itself, Kaai said he was excited to bring Swagit to Denison as it represented another foray into the tech market by the city.
“This is a very fast growing company, very tech savvy and the opportunity for growth is always going to be there,” he said.
In addition to these benefits, Kaai said the company plans to invest more than $300,000 in retrofitting the building. Halley said this would primarily involve knocking down existing walls in the building and bringing in new infrastructure, including backup generators.