Irish company targets U.S. markets
Anord Control Systems picks Henrico County for its subsidiary
Ireland-based Anord Control Systems Ltd. works with several U.S. multinational corporations in Europe, so it made sense for the company to open a subsidiary across the pond. “We wanted to follow our clients and satisfy their needs in the U.S.,” says Kevin Finegan, managing director of Anord and president of its new U.S. subsidiary. “The U.S. is the largest data center market in the world. Moving here was the next logical step.”
Anord Critical Power Inc., is settling into offices in Henrico County near the airport in Interport Office Park after opening this past February. It will sell and manufacture the Anord AMS switchgear system, used primarily in data centers.
The U.S. data center market represents billions of dollars, and there is growing interest in this type of system. Anord’s parent company is investing nearly $1 million to develop a full-scale manufacturing facility in Henrico to help meet the demand.
“We plan to be manufacturing product here within the next 18 months,” says John Day, Anord Critical Power’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We are in start up mode now.”
The company currently has three employees and is in the process of interviewing for other positions. When it fully ramps up production, Day expects to have as many as 70 employees.
Anord considered other locations in the U.S. before settling on the Richmond area. “There were three agencies in the area that helped us understand this market – Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Department of Business Assistance and the Greater Richmond Partnership,” says Day. “They did a great job in promoting Virginia. It was very compelling.”
Several factors came into play before making its decision: real estate, access to a skilled local workforce and the number of data centers in the market. “The data center market in Virginia is large and growing, particularly in the Ashburn region,” Finegan says.
Anord’s AMS switchgear system is a part of the power chain for data centers. It distributes power out to other components such as generators and HVAC and mechanical systems. “We distribute power to the rest of the facility,” explains Day. One of the company’s strongest selling points is the segregation of internal components. “We compartmentalize individual components within the switchgear so the damage due to an electrical fault will be contained to an individual component,” explains Day.
Potential customers include data centers, utilities, oil and gas companies, nuclear power and rail and infrastructure firms. Most of Anord’s competitors take about 22 weeks to deliver their products to customers. “We can deliver in 12 to 16 weeks,” says Day.
Anord’s parent company targets many of the same industry sectors. It provides critical low-voltage switchgear and power equipment to many of the world’s leading cloud computing, co-location and enterprise data center businesses.
Anthony Nordon founded the company in 1969 in Dundalk, Ireland. It currently has 106 employees companywide and two locations in the United Kingdom in addition to Ireland and the U.S. It has reported 20 percent revenue growth each of the last four years and is looking at the new subsidiary as a substantial part of its growth plan.
Originally a domestic-based company, Anord Control Systems built systems for other companies as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). It entered the export market in 1982 and moved into manufacturing only its own product line. It has sales in more than19 countries with substantial projects in the Middle East, Asia, the U.K., Europe and South America. “We are primarily an export-led business at the moment,” Finegan says. “Export is in our DNA.”
The U.S. subsidiary, which already has one customer on the books, also will look at opportunities in Canada and Latin America. “Canada has been very aggressive on the data center market, especially in Toronto and Ontario,” Day says, adding that Brazil has one of the largest data center markets in Latin America. “That’s an area of the world we intend to cover from the U.S.”
Doing business in the U.S. and Ireland is very similar, according to Finegan. “It’s fairly seamless. In Ireland businesses have a culture of commitment and delivery so you can depend on the Irish as a supplier.”
Economy in Dundalk
Located on the East Coast of Ireland, Dundalk sits between Belfast and Dublin. It was selected as a Gateway Centre for Development, which will help spur growth in the area. The region is home to a number of companies, including Xerox, Coca-Cola, eBay, PayPal, global technology company BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) and Heinz. It attracts technology-related companies because of the Dundalk Institute of Technology and the nearby Finnabair Business Park.
Economy in Henrico
Henrico is home to the headquarters of four Fortune 1000 companies – Altria, Genworth Financial, Brink’s and Markel Corporation. The county has more than 25,000 businesses and multiple enterprise zones. More than 60 foreign-based companies from at least 12 different countries are located in the county, including German-based Allianz Global Assistance. Other businesses in Henrico include financial services giant Capital One, Hewlett-Packard, systems integrator Sycom Technologies and Aderis Pharmaceuticals. The county also is home to Richmond International Raceway, which hosts NASCAR Sprint-series events, and Richmond International Airport, which handles approximately 105,000 landings/takeoffs annually.