As featured in the YTexas technology news update.
After Liana Dunlap started CoreSpace in Los Angeles in 2009, one thing soon became clear: Doing business in California was expensive.
Two years later, following a nationwide search, Dunlap bought the assets of a distressed web-hosting company, acquired a 30,000-square-foot building off of John Carpenter Freeway in Dallas, and set up shop in the same city where H. Ross Perot in 1962 pioneered the information-technology outsourcing industry that CoreSpace operates in today.
“California companies are the ones moving here,” Dunlap said during a Feb. 17 presentation at YWednesday, a monthly networking event for YTexas CEO members. “Everybody’s getting out of the state.”
Although CoreSpace’s roots are in cloud computing and colocation, the business today does the same basic thing that Perot’s Electronic Data Systems did: Running computers for other people.
Where EDS focused on big corporate customers like Frito-Lay, CoreSpace’s bread and butter is small and mid-sized businesses with revenue between $1 million and $50 million, Dunlap said.
“We don’t develop your software applications, but we will manage and secure the hardware infrastructure that they are hosted on,” said Dunlap, who is CoreSpace’s President and CEO. “You don’t have to think about it.”
Over the past year or so, Dunlap has spent a lot of time, money and effort to get CoreSpace into an emerging field: Providing hosting services that comply with both federal health-care privacy laws (HIPAA) and the security standards of the credit card payment industry (PCI.)
The idea is to provide an affordable avenue for doctors’ offices, dentists and other small, regulated businesses to ensure their data and software reside on hardware that meet tough regulatory standards.
“Many organizations can’t have high-level security people in their organizations,” said Neil Medwed, President of Preferred Technology Solutions, a Richardson supplier of technical services that has partnered with Dunlap’s firm. “With CoreSpace, they have trained individuals who are experts in security to help protect you.”
Dunlap’s off-duty passions have ranged from bodybuilding to driving racecars, serving as a volunteer police officer and raising her two children. But now she has a new one: Growing her company in Texas.
“This is a small business community,” she said. “It’s amazing coming from California. You can really get to know the people who live, work and love it here.”
Innovators come here
CoreSpace is just one example of the cutting-edge businesses that have relocated to the Lone Star State, according to H. Ralph Hawkins, chairman of the Dallas architecture powerhouse HKS, Inc.
“Some 70 companies moved into Dallas-Fort Worth in the last five years,” said Hawkins, who recently stepped down as chairman of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “And 90 percent of the people employed in Texas work in industries that have nothing to do with oil and gas, and which benefit from lower energy prices.”
Although the D-FW area has one of the largest technology bases in the country, creative approaches to business aren’t limited to bits and bytes in these parts.
Take U.S. Concrete, Inc. (NASDAQ: USCR), which moved to Euless in 2012. The company has grown to more than $1 billion in revenue annually, in large part by grabbing industry share in challenging environments like New York and San Francisco, according to Bill Sandbrook, its President and CEO.
“We focus on providing concrete for high rises and difficult to perform applications with rigorous service requirements,” Sandbrook told the YTexas audience. “We find markets that are unionized and complicated to operate in, and we build market concentrations there.”
Since Sandbrook came aboard in 2011 to help steer U.S. Concrete out of bankruptcy, the company has grown its national footprint to over 3,000 employees, 160 plants and 1,300 ready-mixed trucks.
“We have 72 concrete plants in Texas, with a large concentration in Dallas-Fort Worth, and operate under the name ‘Redi-Mix’ locally,” he said. “I am a big supporter of how healthy the Texas economy is.”
Jeff Bounds is a freelance writer based in Garland, TX