Laramie's Cirrus Sky Technology Park has its first resident, marking a big step forward for Laramie's technology sector and economic development in the Gem City.

The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance and Underwriters Laboratories, a global independent safety science company, held a grand opening ceremony Tuesday evening for the first building to be occupied in Laramie's Cirrus Sky Technology Park. UL moved into the 8,700 square-foot building in mid-May.

A business-committed grant and loan from the Wyoming Business Council paid for the building's construction. The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, the City of Laramie and the University of Wyoming's Wyoming Technology Business Center all worked together to secure the funding for UL's permanent home in Laramie.

The company has had a presence in Laramie since July 2012 when it acquired IDES, a leading informational resource company for plastic materials founded by Mike Kmetz. IDES was the first 'spin-off' business to come out of UW back in 1986.

Randall Six, IT manager at UL's Laramie office, says UL appreciated the unique opportunities offered by Laramie -- chiefly, the steady stream of UW graduates. After acquiring IDES, UL began to look at opening a Laramie tech center.

"Essentially, a tech center is a way to in-source positions and work that was done offshore," says Six. "It's a way for UL to bring back a lot of their information technology in house. They saw Laramie as an opportunity to create a center of excellence."

UL's Laramie Tech Center was realized in June 2014 and resided in the Wyoming Technology Business Center until just a few weeks ago.

"It was a wonderful space and we're very grateful for it," says Six. "But our new space is designed for the work that we do. It's very collaborative in nature."

"The building that we have now is incredibly functional," says Six. "We're very fortunate to have it. It's an incredible opportunity for us."

Six says UL's Laramie Tech Center provides an excellent opportunity for UW graduates to stay in Laramie if they desire to do so.

"We're looking to keep the brightest and the hardest-working folks that we can and have them join our team," says Six.

The Laramie office currently employs 16 people, but the building could hold up to 24 employees.

"I'm really hopeful that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that we see a lot of expansion out here," says Six. "I hope this entire technology park becomes a thriving success story."

Josh Boudreau, vice president of economic development at the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, says UL's new building is a beacon of Laramie's growing technology sector.

"It's a national company. It gives us credibility on a national scale," says Boudreau.

The Cirrus Sky Technology Park continues to move along, with one speculative building available and the remaining land being divvied up into smaller lots.