May 19, 2014
JAMF Software Founder talks about Confluence Project
In the recent Forbes “Insights Profiles” series, Zach Halmstad, Founder and Co-CEO, JAMF Software mentions the importance of the Confluence Project to the development of “a viable and vibrant downtown.” Following is a selection from the article. The full interview, written by Bruce H. Rogers, can be read at Forbes.com.
As the company began to catch on and opened its first office in Eau Claire in 2007, Zach came to the realization that the future of JAMF would also require working to create a better future for Eau Claire. “When we looked around town, we decided that we wanted to be in the downtown area, which has certainly seen better days, but we thought that we could play a part in its revitalization. We now have about 150 people in downtown Eau Claire,” says Halmstad. His focus on the downtown development of the city got him involved in the Confluence Project that is a combination of state, county and city development funds, along with private investment from corporations and donations from private individuals–all coming together to revitalize the city in a way that none of those groups could do on their own. The project is a combination of a living learning center for the university as well as performing arts center for the university and the community. JAMF itself committed a half a million dollar pledge to that project. The new JAMF office being built is just a few blocks away from the project.
“We think that the Confluence Project is partly about supporting the arts and partly prompting economic development in our community, specifically our downtown area. The facility we are building will hold up to 300 employees, as we continue to grow in downtown Eau Claire. Beyond that, to prove out the economic development model, I’m also involved in a group that has purchased the largest hotel in downtown Eau Claire. We are doing a complete renovation of that one, and we made a significant investment into another hotel downtown. Those two projects are bringing 130 new hotel rooms to our downtown area that currently has none. They’ll also include a handful of bars, a restaurant, a coffee shop and a number of other small businesses. We’re putting all the resources that we have to continue the revitalization of our area,” says Halmstad.
Creating a viable and vibrant downtown is all part of Zach’s and JAMF’s efforts to attract and retain world-class talent to the area. While the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire attracts a skilled and diverse talent pool, most leave to go to Minneapolis, New York, Colorado and Silicon Valley to pursue their career dreams. “You see it all the time and a lot of that is really cultural. While I really love the city that I’ve grown up in and have been given so many great opportunities by our community, I think we can be better. This is really about bettering our community. It’s very important for me to have a positive culture for our employees to live and work in. I also think that there’s a critical mass that we need to get to. It’s not just about JAMF, cultural opportunities are for everyone in our community,” concludes Halmstad.