8 Companies Play Growing Role in Northern Michigan Economy

As Michigan shakes off the Great Recession, we take a look at eight companies destined to play a growing role in Northern Michigan’s 21st-century economy.

CloudAccess.net

Though CloudAccess.net started just five years ago- the brainchild of Gary Brooks, who grew up in East Jordan- the company has already risen to become something of a player on the global Internet scene. In the broadest sense, the company is a “Platform as a Service (PaaS)” provider, offering software, hosting and support, and helping other people build their websites. But more specifically, and this is the important part, the company is a leading provider for websites built with a popular software, called Joomla, and is the world’s official Joomla demonstration site, endorsed by Open Source Matters, the nonprofit organization that guides the Joomla Project (Joomla, as open source, is ruled by a board, not a company). Among CloudAccess.net customers are the likes of Boston’s Children Hospital, Notre Dame University, Barnes & Noble and VideoRay, says Charlie Hague, CFO.

Internet companies are famous for achieving a big presence without a big employee footprint, and such is the case with CloudAccess.net. The company currently employs 35 people, about 15 in Northern Michigan and others in Poland and India. The company’s main data center is in Michigan, but the firm also maintains servers and data centers at strategic spots around the world.

In Northern Michigan, CloudAccess.net recently purchased a former middle school near Cheboygan as a support center and staffed it with five new hires. The company also sees value in partnering with regional colleges, and invited North Central Michigan College to set up courses for a number of degree paths in part of the building. Looking forward, CFO Hague sees striking the delicate balance of hiring enough to meet demand and keeping clients well served while not outpacing the rate of revenue growth.

Summer Hency, Billing Accounts Manager (Hired: June 2012)

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