Companies Wonder ‘Where are the Nerds?'

Researchers with real estate consulting firm JLL say more companies are asking where tech workers live before they make a decision on where to set up shop.

"There was a time when it was all about the price per square foot of the space, but that conversation has shifted," Steven McCord, senior vice president of research for JLL, said. "Nowadays it's increasingly about 'where are my workers and do I have access to enough workers?'"

JLL looked at numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and census data on education to help pinpoint where North Texans with high tech education and experience live. In terms of high tech workers and software developers, McCord said the data showed higher concentrations in North Dallas, along the Dallas North Tollway and up to Highway 121 in Collin County.

"That means parts of Plano and Frisco. Those parts of the map really light up when we show that to people," McCord said.

The talent isn't what brought the company Capitalogix to its home base in Coppell, but it does keep the company in North Texas said its president and CEO Howard Getson.

Capitalogix builds algorithms to trade in financial markets then runs a hedge fund with the technology. Getson said recruiting and retaining the smartest employees involved a multipronged approach. He said he knows scientists seek companies with the newest technology and gadgets to challenge them.

Capitalogix employees come from all over the world, and are recruited from North Texas universities with strong science, technology, engineering and math programs.

"We find this is a great place to find talented people who understand not only new technology but the math and science behind, which is really important," Getson said.

We are entering the "golden age" of artificial intelligence, according to Getson, and tech companies are racing to find and keep an edge in the fast-moving field.

"This level of technology is getting better so fast that even though we have an incredible edge now, that edge decays faster than ever," Getson said. "Standing still is moving backward and so you don't only need new technology, you need a new level of data scientists, a new level of professional that can think about what's possible rather than how to do what we want to do right now."

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