Fortinet expanding Ottawa support centre

Peter
Peter Kovessy
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A California-based network security firm is close to signing a new lease in Ottawa for 120,000 square feet of space for its growing local operations, a company executive said.

Michael Anderson is Fortinet's vice-president of global services and support.

Michael Anderson, Fortinet’s vice-president of global sales and support, said the new facility would become a new support centre. The company would keep its existing office on Moodie Drive in Bells Corners for its engineering operations.

He declined to identify the property, but said he hoped Fortinet’s roughly 80 Ottawa support employees would move in by the end of the year. That number is expected to triple over the next three to five years.

“We’re growing so quickly that I have no space to hire people,” he said in an interview.

“Ottawa is a great place to do business. It is diverse, it is cosmopolitan, we have good relations with educational institutions and we have no attrition … This office has been successful for us, and we’re willing to make the investment here.”

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) says it has more than 1,900 employees around the world, including approximately 150 in Ottawa.

Mr. Anderson said the engineering and development of two of his firm’s major product lines - Fortimail and Fortivoice - are based in Ottawa.

He spoke to OBJ following a press conference Thursday featuring Conservative cabinet minister Steven Blaney highlighting some of the initiatives contained in last week’s budget aimed at addressing Canada’s shortage of skilled workers.

The event was held at the O’Connor Street of Willis College, which has worked with Fortinet for the past two years, Mr. Anderson said.

He said the company provides the private career college with equipment, coaching and training, which is then incorporated into Willis’ curriculum.

As a result, Fortinet has hired 25 Willis graduates for its Ottawa operations, including five in the last week, Mr. Anderson said.

“Our products are fairly technical. The ramp-up time for support engineers, if I have to train them myself, is about six months. With the Willis graduates, that’s down to about three months,” he said.

In January, the company reported full-year profits of US$66.8 million on revenues of $533.6 million. That's up from a profit of $62.5 million and revenues of $433.6 million in its fiscal 2011 year.

Organizations: Willis College

Geographic location: Ottawa, Sunnyvale, Calif., Canada O’Connor Street

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