(Montana High Tech Business Alliance) Framed artwork and photos line the floors in Tom Stergios’ new office. He hasn’t had time to hang them up.
Stergios and his team at ATG, a Cognizant company, have moved into their new Missoula office, launched a training program in partnership with Cognizant and Missoula College, and unveiled an upcoming visit from Gov. Steve Bullock in March.
On Sept. 18, ATG announced that it had been acquired by Cognizant, a US-based global IT provider with more than 260,000 employees. ATG will continue operations under ATG, a Cognizant company, and Cognizant will soon have its own distinct presence in Missoula.
To better illustrate how Cognizant’s arrival could impact Missoula, Stergios, the senior vice president for strategy and corporate development, imagines how the two companies might sponsor local sports teams.
“ATG, a Cognizant brand, is going to show up on the back of little league uniforms,” Stergios said. “Cognizant is also going to be established in Missoula, and you’ll see it on the back of little league uniforms, too.”
ATG began moving into its new office in the Old Sawmill District on Jan. 21, and nearly 100 employees have moved from the Studebaker and Garlington building to the new office on the third and fourth floors of Cambium Place.
Stergios said the ultimate vision is a tech campus, where both Cognizant and ATG will have overlap but also work in separate spaces.
While the company is still settling in, there are already hints at the kind of culture that ATG is known for: a dog bowl by the water fountain and Milkbones in the kitchen on the designated dog-friendly floor; a brand-new tipi leaning in the corner outside Stergios’ office, ready to be set up; empty standing desks awaiting employees to fill them; and 360-degree views of the Missoula valley.
ATG’s new space is nearly three times larger than the downtown Garlington office, though the company will continue to use that space for the next couple of years. The new Cambium office has the capacity for 125 employees.
According to Stergios, one of the key selling points for Cognizant was the quality of ATG’s Missoula workforce and the potential to add more highly-skilled employees in partnership with the University of Montana and Missoula College. With the new training program designed to help prepare consultants for work at ATG and Cognizant, more and more high-paying jobs will be coming to the Missoula area.
The first cohort in the training program started on Feb. 4. Twenty-seven trainees are being paid to learn a new set of skills over 12 weeks that will jumpstart their career in technology.
Stergios visited the cohort at Missoula College with Michael Eagan, senior vice president of marketing and operations, and Carey Davis, the director of operations. Stergios and Eagan told the trainees they were excited by the potential they saw in the room.
“When Cognizant came and met people and saw the talent here, they said, ‘We gotta make this happen,’” Eagan said. “You’re all living up to that. We need talented people like you to help us continue to grow.”
Stergios said this will be the first of “many, many cohorts.” The second cohort is scheduled to begin April 1.
“Leadership is going to come from this classroom,” Stergios added, looking around the room.
ATG will continue to train employees in the training area on the third floor of their new office, which can be split into two rooms for two simultaneous events. This will also be the venue for Bullock’s visit on March 13.
“The governor is going to be welcoming Cognizant to Montana, and we’re going to have a host of local dignitaries, customers, Cognizant and ATG executives,” Stergios said.
Stergios added that Cognizant may announce more complete hiring plans in March, as well as some information about Cognizant’s hopes for Montana at the March event, which could include support for diversity and education initiatives.
“The desire to invest in Montana is really incredible,” Stergios said of Cognizant’s leadership.
Katy Spence is the Communications Director for the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. She worked previously with the Missoula Current and Treesource, and has an Environmental Journalism Master’s Degree from the University of Montana.