By GRACE WYLER
Turning Technologies, the largest software company on downtown Youngstown’s growing high-tech campus, is taking its first major step into the global market.
The company announced Wednesday it will open an international office in Amsterdam this week.
The overseas expansion, part of Turning’s “revamped” international strategy, is designed to facilitate a major increase in exports of Turning’s audience-response software, said chief executive Mike Broderick.
Turning’s software, designed at its West Federal Street headquarters, has rapidly grown in popularity in the United States since the company’s inception in 2002. The software is now used by 67 of the Fortune 100 companies and more than half of the country’s higher-education institutions, Broderick said.
Turning expects to duplicate its explosive domestic growth in international markets, he said.
The international office is expected to generate between $2.5 million and $3 million in its first year.
“I do believe that we will have exponential growth from this expansion,” Broderick said. “There is a potential [in Europe] that is nearly as big as the U.S.”
The new office will be headed by newly appointed international vice president Brad Gant.
Gant, who has led Turning’s educational sales team since 2004, is largely responsible for Turning’s successful strategy in North America’s higher education and K-12 markets, Broderick said.
The company’s international headquarters will give Turning direct access to largely untapped European markets, with potential clients in the education, corporate and government sectors, Gant said.
“These are green fields,” Gant said. “There are people who are unfamiliar with us, and unfamiliar with the technology.”
If the European office is successful, the company will likely look to further expansions, Gant said.
“My goal is to get this office up and running, using the architecture that has been successful in the U.S.,” he said. “And then start to look into other markets.”
The Amsterdam office is expected to employ about four to five sales representatives in the first six months, and up to 20 employees within three years, Gant said.
Gant said he expects to hire employees in Amsterdam but said he is “open to the possibility of people coming over from the Youngstown office.”
The Youngstown office will also hire additional employees to support the company’s international operations.
Turning’s international expansion is another positive indication that the Valley is reemerging as a “global player,” said Eric Planey, vice president for international business attraction for the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, which helped Turning plan for the expansion.
“Another good, strong Valley company is on the offensive,” Planey said.
“I think it is reflective of the growth in the area.”