When Bryan MacDonald and his staff had been trying to find a brand new house for the headquarters of main academic expertise firm SchoolMint, they’d a set of standards for potential places to satisfy.
To start with, the town needed to be reasonably priced, a stark distinction to its workplaces in San Francisco, New York Metropolis and Miami in 2019.
“We had individuals commuting three hours each instructions as a result of they could not afford to reside nearer,” MacDonald stated.
There have been different non-negotiables. There wanted to be high-speed infrastructure, a pool of expertise and a dependable airport.
Then there have been the standard of life components to think about, like a vibrant way of life and pleasant individuals. “An important downtown” additionally made the listing.
However Lafayette did not. Regardless of having the ability to verify all these bins, the most important metropolis in Acadiana hadn’t made SchoolMint’s listing of 18 potential places.
MacDonald and his staff had been effectively into the method of discovering a brand new headquarters when SchoolMint acquired Good Alternative Applied sciences, a Lafayette-based firm that developed utility administration software program for faculties.
‘This was a metropolis that believed in itself’
The CEO determined to maintain the Lafayette workplace open and flew in for a go to simply earlier than COVID-19 shut down journey and enterprise in early 2020. He stepped off the airplane at Lafayette Regional Airport to find he was in “the happiest metropolis in America,” a declare highlighted on a banner within the terminal.
“That was my first indication there was one thing particular about Lafayette,” MacDonald stated.
However what would seal the deal for him was attending to know the individuals and seeing their imaginative and prescient for their very own group.
“This was a metropolis that believed in itself and had plans for the long run,” he stated.
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He stated he noticed that in a tour with Downtown Lafayette CEO Anita Begnaud and fellow Lafayette leaders. As they walked via downtown, which was principally empty because of the pandemic, he stated Begnaud and different stakeholders bought him on the imaginative and prescient and funding coming to downtown.
“The 2 issues that actually resonated with me was the imaginative and prescient and dedication Lafayette has with itself … and the individuals,” MacDonald stated. “The individuals right here aren’t simply extremely pleasant. They’re hard-working, inventive, get-it-done form of individuals. That is who we would like.”
‘Lafayette can compete nationally’
The corporate has employed greater than 70 individuals since relocating to Lafayette, the CEO stated, and just lately moved its headquarters downtown into the primary ground of the Lemoine constructing on Jefferson Road.
That is to be a short lived location, as the corporate is “very shut” to saying a everlasting headquarters location, which additionally shall be in downtown Lafayette, MacDonald stated at an occasion Wednesday.
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Begnaud hopes to construct on this momentum and see extra companies come to downtown Lafayette. She stated that requires persevering with to enhance the vibrancy and residing alternatives downtown and dealing carefully with financial growth leaders to ensure Lafayette finally ends up on extra potential firms’ lists.
“Lafayette cannot solely compete nationally, it may possibly win — if we get our story out,” MacDonald stated. “They will be as impressed as I used to be.”
This text initially appeared on Lafayette Every day Advertiser: How schooling expertise firm SchoolMint got here to downtown Lafayette