FARGO-Corporate Technologies started here in 1981 as a ComputerLand franchise, a retail computer store.

The latest evolution of the 34-year-old company ventures beyond hardware and into human resources.

Corporate Technologies, which bills itself as one of the nation's largest information technology companies, is getting into the staffing business, or at least expanding the type of employees it connects to employers.

In addition to IT-managed services, Corporate Technologies resells hardware and offers voice and data networking, storage and backup and warranty support through its branches in six states.

About three years ago, Corporate Technologies began placing IT professionals at worksites, said Justin Stansbury, general manager of the Fargo branch, which is located in the Multiband Building.

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"People were asking for project-based IT work," Stansbury said. "It just got so big, so fast."

In some cases, Corporate Technologies has directly placed workers in jobs for its clients. In others, the workers remain Corporate Technologies' employees and work on a contract basis. Since December, the company has added more than 20 employees locally, he said.

Part of the demand for staffing help is the area's tight labor market. Cass County's unemployment rate was 2.3 percent in May, according to North Dakota Job Service figures, and Stansbury said that it's even lower in the IT field. "People are struggling with recruiting," he said.

Stansbury also said Corporate Technologies' emphasis on culture and low-cost solutions carries over into its staffing services. It offers paid training for employees. If a Corporate Technologies' employee is on site with a client for six or more months, there is no placement fee.

Now Corporate Technologies has started providing staffing beyond IT, placing receptionists, accountants, business analysts and more.

Recently, the company added Garrett Greterman as manager of staffing services.

Greterman said Corporate Technologies' existing customer base, as well as the area's overall low unemployment rate, is a great advantage.

"They already have a recognizable name around Fargo-Moorhead," he said, adding that he remembered the ComputerLand franchise from his youth.

The company changed its name in 1996, and in the mid-2000s, became a wholly owned subsidiary of Minnesota-based North Central Equity LLC. Largely through acquisitions, the company now has branches in New Jersey, Idaho, California and Michigan, in addition to Minnesota and North Dakota, and employs over 300 people. It owns a data center in Grand Rapids, Mich., and operates a help desk out of Minneapolis, Stansbury said.

While Fargo is the smallest branch location in terms of population, it creates the largest amount of revenue, Stansbury said. And the staffing services it offers extend beyond the local metro, he said, noting they've placed employees in western North Dakota as well as nationally.

Business profile

What: Corporate Technologies

Where: 2000 44th St. S., Fargo

Phone: (866) 363-4628

Online: www.gocorptech.com