Company lauded by town, state leaders.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Eight months after breaking ground, defense tech company 3Phoenix is ready to expand into its second Wake Forest building.
Tuesday town, chamber and state leaders joined company officials on Capcom Avenue for the ribbon-cutting and dedication.
The 31,000-square-foot facility has space for a large production lab and offices. By Friday, it will be about half full, but they eventually expect to hire about 120 employees, with salaries averaging at more than $100,000.
“Those employees have a multiplier effect (on the town),” said John Hardin, director of science and technology with the state department of commerce under Secretary Sharon Decker.
Citing a Berkeley University study, he added, “For every job that’s created at a company like 3Phoenix, five jobs are created elsewhere. This is exactly the type of company that the governor wants to grow, that secretary Decker wants to grow.”
Founded in 2003 by five men, 3Phoenix has grown to having operations in three states. But the Wake Forest site is ideal for being close to universities and its reasonable cost of living, according to co-founder Joe Murray.
“We build all of our product here,” he said. “It’s cost effective to operate here. We have access to very good engineering pools — talented engineers as well as talented technicians and personnel. … We’re very excited about the opportunity to continue to grow here in Wake Forest.”
In February, 3Phoenix was acquired by British-based Ultra Electronics for $70 million, with a promise of up to $17 million more over three years with earnings growth.
3Phoenix’s naval radar and sonar equipment — such as submarine masts with thermal imaging and towed sonar arrays — segues well with Ultra’s focus on businesses that specialize in defense, aerospace, security, cybertech, transport and energy markets.
With the purchase, the local company name is now Ultra Electronics – 3Phoenix.
“This building expansion brings more than 100 new engineering, technician and support jobs to Wake Forest,” said Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce President Marla Akridge. “We are proud to have Ultra Electronics – 3 Phoenix in our community and as a chamber member.”