STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - The Stevens Point software business that battled the state government and won is planning for a new building and a lot more jobs.
Skyward founder Jim King is glad the battle against the single-vendor student information software system is over, and that they and other providers can compete on the open market again.
King says now, he can focus on growing the company again. “ We’re just excited. We can’t wait to break ground on our new facility and start hiring people. That’s probably the most rewarding aspect of these last thirty years is to give people opportunity to get familiar and get into this business.”
Skyward CEO Cliff King says the new world headquarters will be built across I-39 from their present location in the Portage County Business Park. “We’re going to initially build for about 600 employees, then we’ll have a phase-two that will go for another 400, but we expect within ten years we’ll be close to filling that building out.” As far as the timing goes, King says they plan to make rapid progress. “We’ll probably make a decision on who we’re going to go with by the end of September. After we make that decision, it’s probably going to be a three or four month period before we have plans that we’ll have developed.”
The software developer is also looking to add plenty of additional jobs with most of them in Stevens Point. “For new employees in the next twelve months, we’re estimating its going to be about fifty employees in Stevens Point. If you’re looking at the five-year, we’re looking at about 617 with about 515 here in Stevens Point (total). I you look about ten years out, we’re looking at about a thousand and eighty jobs with over 827 jobs here in central Wisconsin.”
President Scott Glinski knows Wisconsin school districts were holding back on software investments because of the uncertainty with the single-vendor system and it they would be forced to use the Department of Public Instruction’s chosen vendor. With that obstacle gone, Glinski says Wisconsin sales will move forward. “I should point out that last week, we received a purchase order from a Wisconsin school district. This is the first PO that we’ve received from a Wisconsin district in two and a half years, and my sales team is telling me we’re going to have a lot more of that by the end of the year.”
Skyward started over thirty years ago in Jim King’s garage when he was asked to develop a software product for the Merrill School District. Other schools soon learned about the software. Now, Skyward products are found in nearly every state and several foreign countries.