Wyoming National Laboratories, a worldwide leading cybersecurity company, would like to move its headquarters from California to Cody by the summer of 2021.
After three years of operations, WNL expects to add 58 jobs in Cody with higher than average wages.
To help make that possible, Forward Cody is seeking a $2.14 million grant from the Wyoming Business Council Business Ready Community Grant and Loan Program. Funding is offered to counties, municipalities and joint powers boards through the WBC.
Forward Cody is asking the City of Cody to sponsor the grant application. As sponsor, the city serves as a pass-through agent, accepting grant money, then reimbursing Forward Cody for actual expenses. As building owner, Forward Cody will lease the facility to WNL with an option to buy.
Money will go toward building a $4.28 million, 10,800-square-foot facility on 5 acres of leased land in the Yellowstone Regional Airport Business Park owned by the City of Cody and operated by the YRA Joint Powers Board.
Along with the WBC grant request, Forward Cody intends to seek a $2.14 million federal grant through the Economic Development Administration program.
WNL owners will pay the cost to relocate from their current site plus new office and laboratory set-up expenses, including the cost of new equipment.
The city council is seeking public input before deciding whether to pass a resolution supporting the WBC application. People wishing to share their opinions about the city accepting state and federal government funding to help private businesses may speak during a public hearing in City Hall on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Written comments may be submitted to City Hall by 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Wyoming National Laboratories is an outgrowth of the USDN cybersecurity company. Tony Castillo, one of the world’s leading experts in cybersecurity, has partnered with Dr. Crispin Cowan to design security protections for more than two decades.
Castillo’s inventions are used to protect nearly all computers worldwide. The technology protects smart devices from the risk of cyberattack.
The company, which will begin with eight employees at its Cody testing facility, plans to expand to 14 in the first year. By years two and three, employee numbers are expected to grow to 44 and ultimately 58 positions, according to James Klessens, Forward Cody president.
He said WNL has been working with Northwest College on curriculum to train students in a computer science certificate program or an associate degree in computer sciences degree.
By the third year, payroll is an estimated $4.72 million, or an average of $66,435 per employee. Benefits average 50% for all employees.
“The jobs created by the WNL company pay appreciably higher than average wages in the community,” Klessens wrote in the WBC application.
Klessens said the company chose the airport site because of its convenient access for customers arriving by airplane and because of its scenic view.
Forward Cody will own and maintain the project under a contingency and development agreement with the City of Cody.
If the City of Cody passes the resolution, and if the WBC and State Land and Investment Board award the funding, the anticipated date to award a construction bid is March 2021 with completion the following October, according to the application.