Tech industry slowly making it way to Dripping Springs
The tech industry could slowly be creeping its way down Highway 290 toward Dripping Springs as some companies look for quieter communities where employees can raise families.
Austin has already claimed start-ups, but Dripping Springs could be home for another type of tech companies.
Two CEOs of technology companies said they moved their companies to Dripping Springs for the community-feel of the small city. Although their companies have been established in Dripping Springs for some time, they hope that tech could be a new trend in Dripping Springs in the future.
Barry Boes, CEO of Accio Data, which creates employment screening software, is a high-tech solution to background checks and consumer reporting. Boes has been operating his tech company out of Dripping Springs since 2005. Boes lived in a corner of Hays County until eight years ago when he moved to Dripping Springs.
“I think that if tech companies or any companies of any kind are going to move to Dripping Springs, people are going to be doing it for the lifestyle. Which has a lot to do with the community atmosphere, the schools close by, minimal traffic, the kinds of things that attract a person to Dripping Springs and then their business comes with it,” Boes said.
Despite the lifestyle perks, Boes says there are also challenges to moving a tech company to Dripping Springs.
“The biggest challenge they are going to face and a reason they might overlook the city is office space. There’s just not much by way of bigger office space available,” Boes said. “I’d love to see a commercial office space built.”
Another challenge is a lack of telecommunications infrastructure.
“Those are the negatives people have to deal with. But the attraction is for people who are rising in their careers, are young middle-aged, are starting a family, and they want to move somewhere like Dripping Springs, and then they have to commute to Austin and it’s awful,” Boes said.
It’s the young, middle-aged demographic moving to Dripping Springs that could become excellent employees, Boes said. Out of about 20 employees, Boes says a third of them live in either Dripping Springs or the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). Roughly half of them live along the U.S. 290 corridor on the way to Austin, while the rest live in southwest Austin and commute.
It was those positive quality of life attributes that led Rick Miller, CEO and owner of Rick Miller and Associates, a company that develops hardware and software for products and apps, to move his business to the Dripping Springs area roughly 20 years ago.
Miller, originally from Chicago, said “something” told him Austin was an ideal place to relocate.
Miller lived in Austin working in the tech industry for a short time, but eventually moved out to Dripping Springs because he liked the environment and he wanted to find a good place to raise his kids.
Although technology is still a growing industry in Dripping Springs, there are still a handful of already established companies in the area.
Although the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce has not seen too much tech growth, Director of Membership Susan Kimball said she could see why people might find it attractive.
“A lot of people move here because of the school district and the school district is growing and Dripping Springs is growing,” Kimball said. “I only know of a handful of tech businesses in this area, but I think it might just be a natural progression for this type of industry to spread from Austin.”
Boes agrees the growth Dripping Springs is experiencing could be a factor for bringing more tech companies to the area.
“When people come [to Dripping Springs]they bring business with them. So certainly the growth in Dripping Springs is going to result in growth in business. It will happen faster if we get better infrastructure, but it’s going to happen either way,” Boes said.