By Katy Spence
Tom Stergios never would have predicted that the office he opened for ATG in Missoula as a remote worker in 2011 would have grown to more than 130 employees. Now his team is looking to the Sawmill District to establish a more substantial working campus.
That’s a far cry from ATG’s first office – Stergios’ basement.
On September 18, ATG announced that it had been acquired by Cognizant, a US-based global IT provider with more than 260,000 employees. ATG will continue operations under ATG, a Cognizant company.
Stergios, Senior Vice President Strategy and Corporate Development in Missoula, said he is thrilled about the new operating environment.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the acquisition,” Stergios said. “Cognizant has a global depth and breadth in the IT services space that is unparalleled. Our combined offerings will have strong appeal to large, global clients looking to transform the way they manage their customers and revenue.”
ATG will continue to work out of its current locations, and there are no plans to relocate or lose any current employees. In fact, Stergios said that Missoula should expect to see the company’s growth continue to accelerate.
“The impact on Missoula will be tremendous, as Cognizant has committed to adding 25,000 employees in the US over the next 5 years,” Stergios said.
Cognizant added more than 6,000 US jobs in 2017 and has added hundreds of jobs in cities around the country already this year, including 500 jobs in Mesa, Arizona, and 1,100 jobs in Texas.
Kymberly Corwin, Director, Production Success, said this amplifies opportunities to strengthen existing partnerships with Montana’s educational institutions to help fill ATG’s workforce needs.
“We have a really good opportunity, and the best part is that it’s a robust pipeline,” Corwin said. “We’ve got some really good candidates across the board that we’re going to get to work with.
She added that ATG’s already strong partnerships with institutions of higher education around western Montana will continue to supply the pipeline of talent needed to fill the growing Missoula workforce. Cognizant itself is dedicated to building strong relationships with educational institutions, having invested $100 million in STEM education.
Holly Foster, VP, Solution Delivery, said the company hasn’t yet released specifics about how many more jobs will come to Missoula but said Cognizant is committed to growing in the city and expanding additional services into the Missoula office.
Cognizant’s recognizable name will do a lot for Montana’s tech ecosystem, Foster added.
“Having a company with a name like Cognizant in our community is a big deal from a tech perspective,” Foster said. “There’s a lot it can do for getting our place recognized as place for technology.”
Cognizant provides IT services to customers around the world. Headquartered in New Jersey, Cognizant was founded in 1994 and grew quickly through the 2000s. It is currently #195 on the Fortune 500, #16 on Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies for 2018, and has been one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies for 10 years. In 2018, Forbes named Cognizant as one of America’s Best Employers for Women.
Alignment in company values, such as emphasizing diversity, is one of the reasons ATG leadership is excited for the acquisition. Foster said leaders of two company female empowerment programs, ATG-She and Cognizant’s Women Empowered, were connecting before the first day of acquisition had ended. But common values are not limited to diversity in gender.
“I think we have a lot to learn from an organization that’s global and has over 200,000 employees that can help us here be as inclusive as possible,” Foster said.
Foster added that the decision to be acquired may have come from the top, but it was with individual employees at every level in mind.
“This decision became a lot easier when they all realized that our employees are better off with opportunities for them as a Cognizant company than ATG on their own,” Foster said. “When I look at the opportunities that everybody has as part of this organization, it’s really exciting for the whole team.”
About the Author: Katy Spence is the Communications Director for the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. She worked previously with the Missoula Current and Treesource, and has an Environmental Journalism Master’s Degree from the University of Montana.
About the Publisher: Launched in 2014, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is an association of 350 high tech and manufacturing companies and affiliates creating high-paying jobs in Montana. For more information visit MTHighTech.org.