P.G., Maryland work to keep software firm in county

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Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly

Prince George's County and Maryland officials are ponying up some money to make sure that the District and Virginia keep their hands off one of the county's economic success stories.

The state has proposed lending Beltsville software company Vocus up to $500,000, and the County Council has introduced legislation to authorize a county loan of up to $100,000.

About 700 of the company's 1,200 employees work in its main building in Beltsville. Vocus has been in Prince George's since its inception 15 years ago, but company executives are worried that an upgrade might be necessary sooner rather than later.

"We thought this would last three or four years," said Steve Vintz, executive vice president of Vocus and the company's chief financial officer. "But in one year, we were out of space." The company bought another building across the street to hold an additional 150 workers -- it's going to open in November and be out of space in December.

The company's Beltsville headquarters was financed in part by a $400,000 loan from the state and a $40,000 loan from the county in 2010. Neither side will comment on the new proposed loans since they're still in the works. County officials will say they're committed to keeping Vocus around as its growth continues.

"This is an extremely high priority," said David Iannucci, a member of County Executive Rushern Baker's economic development team. "We want people to understand that Prince George's County has a great workforce and an outstanding location."

Vintz said the location allows the company to draw employees from across the region. But scarcity of parking and lack of public transportation have become major issues.

Iannucci said the county is putting together a team to meet with Vocus while looking for a more permanent headquarters.

Vocus is committed to its current space through 2020, but that hasn't stopped executives from speaking with D.C., Fairfax County, Loudoun County and Virginia officials about possibly relocating, Vintz said. He added that staying in Prince George's remains the company's ideal goal.

"It's a great local story," he said. "We would like to be here."

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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