As the Timpanogos Research and Technology Park continues to grow, flowering fruit orchards in Orem have made way for a blossoming computer industry.
The new ICON International Inc. building, dedicated Monday, is the latest computer company to come to the park, and according to Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, there are a lot of similarities between Orem's apples and computers."Here in Orem it has been a tradition to grow great apples," he said at the dedication ceremonies. "It's wonderful now to see the transition from great apples to great computers."
ICON, a subsidiary of the Sanyo Electric Co., produces a family of supermicros and minicomputers with a unique core software system allowing the system to run up to four operating systems at the same time.
A number of Sanyo executives were in Utah to take part in the dedication of the 40,000-square-foot facility.
Speaking through a translator, Motoharu Iue, the president of Sanyo America Corp., said he planned to take a few apples back to Japan as a dedication souvenir.
"In the span of two years, I am so impressed to see the company delivered into the current stage of business," he said. "Out of the 15 Sanyo entities we have in North America, I think ICON International is positioned in an important area. ICON holds a very important position in the overall operations in the United States."
Oveson said, "Utah has the largest concentration of engineers who speak Japanese - next to Japan - and the state has a commitment to the country and language."
In the past year, ICON's growth in revenue has tripled from $3 million to $9 million. The company has plans for an additional building, a two-story 80,000-square-foot facility, just south of corporate headquarters if sales continue to grow.
"This is the beginning of a new era for us," said ICON President Dennis Fairclough. "Through the hard work of employees we have been able to grow into this facility. We hope to continue to grow and provide quality products as time passes."
Yuuji Miyake, managing director of Sanyo, said through a translator, "This new building is long awaited by Sanyo and ICON. It is my sincere hope that the Sanyo/ICON business continues to grow as the next major computer company in the world. That will be achieved by the dedication of people in the joint business."
Thanks to Sanyo's commitment to this area, ICON International has been able to grow and develop, Orem Mayor Blaine Willes said.
"They are important people in our community and have brought us high-paying jobs to provide a living for our families," he said. "I hope the future is dramatic and hope all the apple tress are replaced with beautiful buildings producing happy employees."
ICON, doing business in 12 countries throughout the world, has 116 employees and continues to hire five employees a month, Fairclough said.