2016-05-17 / Front Page

Lampasas gains technology jobs

By DAVID LOWE
Staff Writer

Kathi Masonheimer wants Lampasas residents to know they do not have to commute all the way to Austin for technological jobs.

The city’s economic development director has been working with companies to create Lampasas jobs -- including those in the technology sector. She is encouraged by results in the last several months.

Know Control, a company that makes automated security systems to prevent fuel theft, recently moved operations from Ohio to Lampasas.

From a building at 509 S. Live Oak St., Know Control assembles systems that alert truck stops and convenience stores if someone tampers with fuel dispensers. The systems also are designed to combat “skimming” -- the theft of credit card information from fueling sites.

Know Control receives some custom-built items, but it also buys components from a company in Missouri. At the Lampasas shop, Know Control assembles those components into “a custom-built solution for the fueling industry,” President C. Owen DeWitt Jr. said.

DeWitt said he selected Lampasas after looking about two years for a new location for his business. DeWitt said the company needed to consolidate in one location, and Lampasas’ proximity to Austin was part of the decision to move.

“The Austin area seemed to offer a lot, and even though this is the very outskirts of the Greater Austin area, it’s still an hour’s drive, so it’s not too bad,” he said.

Know Control has six full-time employees in Lampasas working in assembly, programming, accounting and customer service. DeWitt said he would like to expand, and he specifically said he needs a good candidate to fill a customer service position.

He said in the future he might hire a second customer service person, as well as sales personnel.

As Know Control gets established downtown, another company -- Austin-based homebuilder technology provider Builder Homesite Inc. -- plans to expand to Lampasas soon.

BHI is a technology company that provides online resources, sales and marketing for the building industry.

BHI is owned by a consortium of major homebuilding companies, including David Weekley Homes, KB Home, Lennar Corp. and Pulte Homes.

Mrs. Masonheimer and Meghan Hill, BHI’s director of human resources, recently offered details about the company’s plans to establish an office in Lampasas.

BHI plans to create five to 12 jobs in its first year in Lampasas, Ms. Hill said. She said the company hopes to employ as many as 20 people by the end of its second year in operation here.

Job listings on BHI’s website show openings in Lampasas for an account manager, a graphics media account manager, a digital media buyer, a human resources assistant, an inside sales representative and several administrative positions.

“The sky’s the limit, in my mind, but for phase one that’s really where I would start,” Ms. Hill said.

Ms. Hill said as BHI sought a place to expand operations, the company conducted site surveys for more than 20 cities in Texas, plus a few communities elsewhere in the Southwest.

Ms. Hill said because growth in Austin is causing costs to increase, BHI studied facility expenses, average wages and average home costs to find an affordable place to do business.

The company also considered proximity to the Austin office and looked for communities with good workforce resources through nearby community colleges.

Ms. Hill said BHI officials were surprised to find that, even though it is relatively close to Austin, Lampasas still met the company’s criteria about affordability.

Mrs. Masonheimer said when BHI representatives showed up at her office unexpectedly, she was able to take them on a tour of town and connect them quickly with real estate agents to help the company look for property.

Since the initial visit, Mrs. Masonheimer has maintained contact with BHI as the company seeks to fill positions in Lampasas. Several entities -- including Central Texas College, Texas A&M University-Central Texas, Texas State Technical College, Texas Workforce Commission and Heart of Texas Defense Alliance -- have resources to connect high-tech companies with qualified applicants, Mrs. Masonheimer and Ms. Hill said.

Mrs. Masonheimer said recent developments have increased the options in Lampasas for highpaying technical jobs with good benefits.

The economic development director said she wants to inform Lampasans “that these types of jobs are moving into our area, so you don’t necessarily have to drive to Austin or Fort Hood” or other metropolitan areas for employment.

“There are great jobs that are coming in,” she added.

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