LEHI — Software giant Adobe broke ground Wednesday on a project that represents a literal doubling-down of the company's investment in Utah, and it's one that's slated to have sizable impacts on the state's economy for years to come.
The company dug the first shovel full of earth on a $90 million facility that will, when it opens in two years, be home to 1,000 new employees. The building will be adjacent its seven-year-old Lehi facility off I-15 and will have much the same eye-catching appeal. It will also be the source of an estimated $2.3 billion in new wages and over $85 million in state corporate, payroll and sales taxes over the next 20 years.
Adobe's $1.8 billion acquisition of Orem data analytics company Omniture back in 2009 was the catalyst behind bringing the company to Utah, and in a sense, it's an appropriate closing of a circle as engineer John Warnock, a University of Utah graduate, co-founded the company in 1982.
Adobe's vice president of employee and workplace solutions, Jonathan Francom, said the new facility was just one node on a slate of planned growth for the company, which also has expansions scheduled for San Jose, San Francisco and in India.
"Utah continues to be a great place for us to grow the business," Francom said. "We're excited to be adding talent and resources here as well as at other Adobe locations."
At the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City in January, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said there was a logic behind expanding into Utah when it acquired Omniture, rather than shuttering the Utah business and moving operations to an existing Adobe facility.
"We go to where the talent is," Narayen said. "It's as simple as that."
The company, best known for its creative suite, the PDF and Photoshop, has been on a tear since it opened its Utah office, and Adobe stock, trading around $30 a share at that time, is currently worth over $200 a share.
The company is also widely known for efforts to build diversity among employee ranks, and Narayen noted the company has achieved true pay parity throughout its ranks of 17,000-plus employees. He also underscored why diversity should matter for all business endeavors.
"Your customers are diverse," Narayen said. "If anybody thinks that you can deliver great products to a diverse set of customers without having a diverse employee pool, you're in denial."
That committment to its workforce was reflected in comments shared by employee and manager of customer marketing communications Xan Marcucci Barkdull, who got her start through an internship that eventually led to a full-time position two years ago.
"I came here hungry, I came here looking to grow and excited to learn and Adobe provided me with an environment where I was allowed to try and try again, and growth was encouraged constantly," Barkdull said. "I was eager to come back as a full-time employee and I'm eager to continue my career here."1 comment on this story
The company is also engaged with the community and has partnered in various efforts to help build the science, technology, engineering and math pipeline. Francom is also a member of the Point of the Mountain Development Commission.
In July, the Governor's Office of Economic Development announced Adobe was granted a $25.8 million post-performance tax incentive package for its Utah investment and expected payroll and tax expenditures. The company projects that the new positions will pay approximately 300 percent of the Utah County average wage.