By Reina V. Slutske
For Automation GT’s CEO Simon Grant, the company’s move to its new location in Carlsbad, CA, couldn’t come fast enough.
"We should have moved sooner, but finding the right space has been challenging,” he says. However, they found it in what Grant calls a major life science hub, shifting from 3400 sq ft in the company’s previous Escondido home to 13,000 sq ft at its new campus.
With growing sales by 100% last year, Grant says a lot of Automation GT’s corporate customers are starting to gear up from the slumber of the recession. Therefore, they are able to forecast their business expanding in 2014.
Automation GT partners with companies to aid in early development, quality control, and packaging and inspection of devices as varied as catheters, patient care systems, and syringes. One of the most important things that they do for companies is increase the volume of production for devices as they are going into clinical trials, and ensure that the devices meet the quality standards of FDA or Europe.
Grant says the expansion is better for OEM customers, because with the increase in space, Automation GT will be able to increase its capacity in terms of projects.
“We’ll be able to handle the larger systems, so we’ll be able to scale up our manufacturing operations,” Grant says. “It also allows us to have the additional workforce for the increase in business.”
Carlsbad is approximately 20 miles from the old location in Escondido. Grant says the Carlsbad location makes a lot of sense— many of its local clients are closer to the new location. In addition, the campus is off of California Interstate 5, which connects to Los Angeles and Orange Counties. This makes it advantageous, because global clients can fly into either San Diego or Los Angeles International airports, and Southern California clients have convenient access to visit the facilities.
“We wanted to get closer to the life science customers, and we don’t have many in Escondido,” Grant says.
Grant says that the San Diego metropolitan region is an important hub in life sciences. Several companies, including some clients, have offices in Carlsbad and surrounding areas such as La Jolla or Sorrento Valley. Some are big, like Johnson & Johnson and Qualcomm, and others are new startups that are just getting their legs under them.
“A lot of them are in incubator phase,” he says. “You’d be surprised how many life science companies are popping up there.” In a 2012 cluster report, Jones Lang LaSalle ranked San Diego second in top U.S. life sciences markets, just behind Boston.
Grant also notes that the move provides access to a large talent pool. Graduates of the University of California, San Diego and engineers from the marine base Camp Pendleton provide a skilled workforce, accessible to both the company and others firms coming up in the area. Automation GT will be increasing its hiring with the move.
“There are a lot of really smart people in the area,” he says. “And it’s just a delightful place to be.”
Reina V. Slutske is the assistant editor for MD+DI.