High-tech company adds Aspen to its list of international offices

by Curtis Wackerle, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

When the founder of an international tech company decided he wanted to open a satellite office in Aspen, one concern was whether there would be enough qualified employees to fill the handful of new jobs he planned to hire.

Greggory Heil and Encoding.com were pleasantly surprised when IT talent started coming out of the woodwork.

“It was a non-issue,” Heil said of the local labor pool.

Without trying too hard, Heil said he got about 100 applications for three new marketing and web design positions at the company, which formats video files for numerous platforms from smart phones and tablets to Internet-ready TVs.

While Flash used to be the preeminent way to watch online video in the not-too-distant past, Heil said Encoding.com now works in more than 20 different formats for its most sophisticated clients, which include AOL, Red Bull and The Discovery Channel.

Encoding.com’s office in Aspen, which focuses on marketing, has been open for about six weeks on the second floor of the Aspen Grove Building, next door to the BB’s Kitchen patio. Including the four people in the Aspen office, the company employees about 25 people in offices in San Francisco and St. Petersburg, Russia.

 Chris Council/Aspen Daily News
Greggory Heil, the CEO and founder of Encoding.com, stands in his office on the second floor of the Aspen Grove Building while two of his employees work in the background on Friday morning.

Heil, who launched the company five years ago in Evergreen, Colo., before taking on a partner and opening the San Francisco and Russia offices, said he partly chose Aspen because of the marketing and promotional opportunities that could arise from being in the zip code frequented by CEOs of new potential clients.

But there’s no denying that the lure of the mountains held tremendous appeal, Heil said.

“If I don’t do something active when I’m looking at a computer all day, I’ll go nuts,” he said.

Aspen offers that balance because it’s a cosmopolitan town but offers the mountain lifestyle, he said.

It was a relief to find out he was not alone, and that the valley had an ample supply of talented IT people who also had a passion for the outdoors and the mountains, Heil said. Likewise, employees working at the Encoding.com space this week — which strikes a minimalist design with flat screens on the wall, scaled-down work stations and a funky couch as a centerpiece — said they were thrilled to land a tech job in Aspen.

Heil said he hopes to encourage more development in the valley’s tech sector, and has discussed hosting “meet ups” in Encoding.com’s Aspen space to get people together and talking.

Encoding.com has over 3,000 clients, 30 to 40 percent of which are overseas, and processes up to 100,000 videos a day using server farms around the world and cloud computing, Heil said. The company’s engineering staff works out of St. Petersburg while the San Francisco office focuses on sales.