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Bob Noyce, Deseret Morning News

It sure look's like Utah Valley could use a few more computer geeks and Internet junkies.

The rapid expansion of the state's economy, especially in Utah County, has created an unexpected labor shortage, especially in the technological field. It has not, however, slowed the growth of many homegrown companies.

In fact, the state has nine companies listed in the Inc. Magazine 500, which recognizes the nation's fastest-growing companies. The rankings will be published in the September issue of the magazine.

Six of those companies are Utah Valley-based , including two — Heritage Web Solutions and Doba — who have over 3,000 percent growth since 2003 and are among the 25 fastest-growing companies.

Because of that growth, however, employers are struggling to find employees for skilled positions, especially with computer programming and Web design. Steve Densley, president of the Provo/Orem Area Chamber of Commerce, said that he is hearing more and more from companies trying to fill positions and discovering that the best they can do is recruit from other companies.

"The job market is tight," he said." That rapid of growth for any one company is great, because companies are really beating each other up to hire good employees."

Still, it did not surprise Densley that the county had a half-dozen companies ranked in annual Inc. report.

"There's quite an entrepreneurial spirit here, especially with the upwardly mobile college graduates," he said.

Brad Stone, chief executive officer of Heritage Web Designs, said that good employees were so difficult to find that they had to start contracting jobs to telecommuting programmers last year. The problem is not talent, but numbers, even with the graduates from the valley's two universities.

Heritage, which Stone started with three other partners in Salt Lake City in 2002, was 22nd on the list. It is an "all-in-one" Web services company, offering Web site design, marketing, programming and hosting to primarily small and medium businesses.

In some ways, Utah County is starting to become a technological hub that resembles the days when companies like WordPerfect, Novell and Micron were employing thousands of people.

"The Utah County tech market has been hot and cold," Stone said. "But there is a resurgence of the tech industry down here."

Despite the rapid growth, Stone said there are currently no plans to take the company public or merge with a bigger company. Instead, they are looking at one of the computer giants for their business model.

"We'll probably continue to grow as a private company, much as Google did, until our hand is forced and we need to go public," he said.

Along with the nine companies on the Inc. 500 — all of which posted more than 600 percent gains since 2003 — 71 Utah companies are listed on the Inc. 5,000. Both lists are based on growth between 2003 and 2006, and are ranked according to percentage of revenue growth.

Two neighboring states, Arizona and Colorado, had nearly twice as many companies on the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5,000, but neither of them had any companies in the top 25. Idaho and Nevada had fewer companies than Utah on the lists and none in the top 25.


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