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(Beloit, WI) By Shaun Zinck, Beloit Daily News

The Ironworks building has special meaning for Richard Spanton Jr.

His grandfather worked at Beloit Corporation for 40 years, and now Spanton is back in Beloit with his company AccuLynx. The business management software company moved from Rockton into the Ironworks building about a week ago, and Spanton said Beloit was a perfect fit for them.

“I liked the structure of the old brick,” he said. “There’s a lot of history here, and I saw it as an open canvass. We got to design everything and do whatever we wanted to do.”

AccuLynx is a cloud-based business management software company. The company gives specialty trade contractors a faster and better way to run their small businesses.

About 30 employees work at the company, and all made the move from Rockton. They also had input on the design of their offices, Spanton said. The company leased 21,000 square feet, and currently uses about 12,000 square feet. An additional 9,000 square feet is available on a second floor, which Spanton said they expect to use in the near future. The plan is to hire an additional 70 employees over the next three years.

“We have space to get about 50 developers, then we will have to take it upstairs,” he said.

A large portion of the 12,000 square feet is being used by a main room that features a pool table, full kitchen with stove, couches and lunch tables. Spanton said it was purposely designed that way.

“If you were to come in here at 12:30 you would see 20 people eating lunch together,” he said. “We try to provide a great environment.”

That environment extends into each office, where the desks can be raised or lowered with the push of a button depending on whether you want to stand or sit. Desks are also on wheels so they can move into “war rooms” if multiple employees are working on a project together, Spanton said.

The move by AccuLynx has been anticipated for some time and is one of several software, or computer based, companies to come to Beloit over the last few years. Rob Gerbitz, COO of Hendricks Commercial Properties, owner of the Ironworks complex, said there is a noticeable trend in the number of software companies coming to the area.

“We are seeing it all across the board in terms of size,” he said. “It’s been a two person shop and then there are ones like Comply365 that started with 17 and is now in the 30s. We’ve really seen a nice growth here.”

Gerbitz said he believes computer programming has become the “new manufacturing” around the area. He also said employees at these types of jobs want to be located in the downtown area where there are activities and food nearby.

“Coders, programmers, that is the industry now. They are manufacturing software for businesses,” Gerbitz said. “Especially in downtown with everything we have created. It has become a really good business and lifestyle place. It’s what we are seeing in the tech industry. People don’t want to be sitting in a building in the middle of a business park. They want to be able to walk down the road for food.”

Beloit is also benefiting from its natural landscape like the Rock River and Riverside Park, Gerbitz said.

As the trend grows, Spanton doesn’t view it as competition, but as motivation for growing the industry.

“When you put programmers all together on this type of campus it builds momentum,” he said. “That creates more opportunities for someone. So if they don’t fit in somewhere then maybe they will find a better fit somewhere else. I hope we see more tech companies and more engineers.”

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