AVG looks to become part of local fabric with new global centre of excellence in Kanata

AVG Business’s new global centre of excellence in Kanata positions the company for growth in the region, a company vice-president said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.

“When you think of Silicon Valley North, we want that buzz to come back,” said Marco La Vecchia, vice-president, channel sales of AVG’s business division.

The online security firm became established in the Ottawa area with its acquisition of Level Platforms in 2013. Mr. La Vecchia said AVG chose Level Platforms because it had “best remote monitoring and management solution in the marketplace.”

“We’re lucky they were located in Ottawa and not, for instance, in a tertiary marketplace because that makes it a little it more difficult to find the right resources and people,” he said.

Finding the right people is a work in progress for the firm, which had 90 staff when it first took over Level Platforms but has ballooned to 140 employees since, making it necessary to move out of its current 15,000-square-foot office on Legget Drive.

While AVG also has a consumer side to its business, Mr. La Vecchia said the firm has been focusing more on small to medium businesses because cyber-attacks on SMBs have nearly doubled since 2011.

Its new 34,000-square-foot space at 1125 Innovation Dr. will serve as a one-stop shop for AVG’s Business Managed Workplace, which was launched in April.

“What makes this office really unique is the fact that it’s not just an R&D shop. We have sales, we have marketing, we have tech support, we have our engineering, so we call this the global centre of excellence for AVG for our remote monitoring and management platform,” Mr. La Vecchia said.

He said the office is the global company’s second-largest, trailing only its office in the Czech Republic, where the company was formed.

As is the case with most new offices, the design is meant to attract and retain talent, Mr. La Vecchia said.

“We wanted to create that atmosphere where people could come in and realize, ‘Listen, I want to go work there and I like the people.’”

That explains the pool, fuzball and ping pong tables in the lunch and lounge areas, the fresh bagels and yogurt provided at breakfast and the open, quiet work spaces, with plenty of light.

There are plenty of empty working areas too. Mr. La Vecchia said the office can accommodate up to 275 staff.

“We’re always looking for talented salespeople, we have a strong marketing team. R&D and engineering is a big part of our growth strategy,” he said.

Just having talent in those areas, however, is not enough, Mr. La Vecchia added.

“You have to fit in the fabric of who we want to be. You’ve got to care about the community and you’ve got to care about your employer and where you work as well,” he said.

“When you think about technology, we want you to think about AVG,” he told his staff gathered for the opening. “And by doing that, we really want to invest in the community and be tied into that fabric. It’s a very important piece of how we want to operate on a daily basis.”

As an example of the firm’s community involvement, Mr. La Vecchia presented a cheque for more than $4,600 to the Kids Help Phone, money his staff raised at a recent walk.