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Mar. 2—For two years, tech company GL Solutions has grappled with changing circumstances around its headquarters in Bend, Oregon. The solution the company found was moving to Kalispell.
"We've been exploring options for two years now," said co-founder Bill Moseley. "It's a long time coming."
The software firm looks to set up its business at 555 Corporate Drive in Kalispell on April 1. It will share a headquarters with SoClean, another company that relocated to Kalispell in 2019.
GL Solutions reportedly plans to create 40 new full-time positions in Kalispell over the next three months. Hiring is now underway for the first 20 positions, and Moseley said the employee-owned company is willing to train applicants with strong potential who might lack formal information technology training.
"There's a chronic shortage of IT labor everywhere," said Moseley, who works with clients — mostly state agencies — all across the country.
Forty jobs may be only the start for GL Solutions. Moseley said it's likely the company could continue to grow once it gets settled in Kalispell.
"We have the focus to grow exclusively within Kalispell," he said. He said some current employees will come over from Bend as part of the relocation.
GL Solutions called Oregon home for 20 years before deciding to move to Montana.
Moseley and Eric Staley founded the firm in 1997 after the pair left careers in administration with the Oregon Department of Justice.
They were drawn to the Flathead Valley because they saw the area as a place where they could find the outdoor opportunities they loved in Bend, without some of the growing pains that have transformed the Oregon city since GL Solutions first started operating there.
Rising housing prices, strict regulatory policies and a changing culture spurred by an influx of new residents drove GL Solutions to seek out new headquarters elsewhere in the Northwestern United States.
Some of those issues, such as expensive housing and incoming residents, might sound familiar to locals in the Flathead, too, but Moseley pointed out "it's relative."
Plus, Kalispell checked many of the boxes GL Solutions couldn't find in Oregon.
Moseley said the company evaluated potential sites based on numerous factors that play into the business climate. In terms of taxes, they wanted to make sure there would be no sales tax on software, and income tax rates for individuals and businesses would be less than 7%.
Moseley explained GL Solutions sought out an area with "a reasonable cost of doing business.
"Montana fits that really well," he said.
Montana also stood out because the state extracts a low regulatory burden on employers. In fact, Moseley said the company specifically ruled California, Washington and Oregon from its Pacific Northwest search because "the regulatory environment in those three states is terrible."
That left a few options in Montana, Idaho and Nevada on GL Solutions' list, and Moseley said Kalispell's individual charms ultimately put the city in the top spot.
He was impressed by the spirit of the local business community, especially the efforts of Montana West Economic Development, which played a crucial role in helping the tech company evaluate the local potential.
MWED assisted in the transition with services such as a driving tour for Moseley to scope out office spaces and a question-and-answer session with approximately 25 stakeholders to introduce Moseley to the local business landscape.
MWED has already prepared GL Solutions to submit a grant for employment assistance through the Big Sky Economic Development's state grant fund.
Based on MWED's help and a taste of Kalispell's business climate, Moseley said "I just decided that was a place I wanted to do business."
He stressed, too, that GL Solutions was drawn to the valley by the present conditions he saw here, not the possible changes the company might make by moving in from out of state.
"If we didn't like the way things already were in Kalispell, we wouldn't have come here," he explained.
As a four-year city councilor and longtime resident in Bend, Moseley said he's sensitive to concerns about new residents relocating and reshaping the culture.
"People coming in need to be respectful," he affirmed. "I hope we can make a contribution."
To apply for positions at GL Solutions, visit www.glsolutions.com.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 758-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.