Sean Green
sean@bossierpress.com

Perhaps no company in Bossier had a more eventful year than the glittering gem of Bossier City’s National Cyber Research Park — CSRA.

The tech giant officially opened the doors on its new Integrated Technology Center (ITC) last week. The ceremony came on the heels of announcements of a new contract that will ad jobs towards its goal of 800 at the ITC, and an expansion that will see hundreds of additional jobs overall.

The next-generation information technology solutions leader held the ribbon cutting for its ITC on Nov. 15. The center currently has approximately 400 employees with 400 more to be added by June 2018.

Going from an announcement of what would become the anchor tenant made just shy of 3 years ago, to a new state of the art building that was previously an open lot outside the Cyber Innovation Center, CSRA ITC Director of Operations Ashley Rockett said it’s a symbolic last step in their journey.

“To go from designs and concepts to brick and mortar and having people working in the building, it takes that cooperative endeavor agreement and really solidifies it so we can truly deliver our services to our customers.”

“I applaud CSRA for making such a significant investment in our city that will result in hundreds of new jobs and generate further economic growth that will subsequently enhance the wonderful quality of life Bossier City has to offer,” Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker said.

Bossier Parish Police Jury President Wanda Bennett added, “CSRA is a prize you get when leaders with the ability to think outside the box come together for the good of the community and the good of our residents. A decade ago, we started looking at ways to develop the research park, and CSRA is a truly important part of this research park.”

As a precursor to this ribbon cutting was the news in late October that CSRA had been awarded a $166.9 million contract by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that will help fill the remaining jobs at the ITC.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said CSRA builds on a heritage with Barksdale Air Force Base to propel the area into the future with great partnerships among state and local government and Louisiana’s higher education campuses.

“Our approach in Louisiana has been to build meaningful partnerships that attract the leading employers of the future in a way that grows our economy and provides our people with outstanding career opportunities. This project is a great example of that winning approach,” Gov. Edwards said.

However, CSRA’s growth extends beyond the ITC to a Customer Engagement Center in Bossier City.  The 96,000 sq. ft. Customer Engagement Center on Benton Road, in what was the old Capital One Bank building, will create an additional 300 new jobs focusing on providing information technology support to the federal government.

“This complements the foresight and vision our city and state leaders had to recruit this new industry and bring it here,” said Rockett. “It will change the face of northwest Louisiana and give our kids the chance to stay home — they don’t have to leave to have high-paying tech jobs.”

CSRA’s partnership with local universities to enhance information technology-related college courses ensures students are job-ready upon graduation, allowing Louisiana to retain its best and brightest in the information technology sector.

“As a Louisiana native, I’m proud to be part of an effort that gives locals who might have moved away to find a high-profile IT job a reason to come back to Bossier City, build a career and reconnect with family,” Rockett explained.

She added that in the coming 12 months, this is what she expects to see: More growth.

“We’re going to try to add 200 people per year and if we hit 800, we’re just going to keep going!”