Lafayette tech firm ramps up hiring after $45 million in contract awards _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- The new CGI facility, which had its grand opening Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, is pictured three days earlier in Lafayette, La.

A recent addition to Lafayette’s growing high-tech sector announced on Tuesday that it will ramp up hiring in south Louisiana after being awarded new contracts totaling $45 million.

CGI, a Montreal-based firm that opened in Lafayette in 2014, is now looking for another 56 information technology employees whose average salaries will start at more than $50,000, the company said. The staff additions will join 230 employees who already have been hired since the company opened an office in 2014.

CGI’s goal is to hire 400 employees, many of them computer science and business graduates from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The goal was to reach 400 over four years. But that schedule is now on fast-forward, CGI spokeswoman Linda Odorisio said in a phone interview Tuesday.

“We’re excited because we’re ahead of schedule,” Odorisio said.

The $45 million in contracts recently awarded to CGI comes from U.S. government regulatory agencies and from the insurance and financial services sectors, CGI said.

CGI, along with high-tech firms Enquero and Perficient, announced in quick succession in 2014 that they’d establish offices in Lafayette and take advantage of the graduates from UL-Lafayette’s School of Computing and Informatics. Together, the three companies plan to hire almost 1,000 employees.

“Our success here in Lafayette is the culmination of a unified vision shared by CGI, higher education, economic development and state and (the) Acadiana community and policy leaders,” Will LaBar, a CGI vice president who is head of the company’s Lafayette office, said in the news release.

Last month, CGI moved into a $13.1 million, 50,000-square-foot facility in UL-Lafayette’s Research Park on Cajundome Boulevard.

Odorisio said CGI would celebrate the move at a grand opening in April or early May.

CGI’s Lafayette office is the company’s fourth information technology “delivery center” in the U.S., with the other locations in Belton, Texas; Lebanon, Virginia; and Troy, Alabama.