Genscape plans to double Louisville employment in new headquarte - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Genscape plans to double Louisville employment in new headquarters

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1134 Garvin Place 1134 Garvin Place
1134 Garvin Place 1134 Garvin Place
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Genscape Inc., a Louisville company that monitors energy and commodity markets all over the world, plans to move its headquarters to a historic building in Old Louisville and double its local employment to about 180 over the next three to five years, CEO Matthew Burkley said.

In an interview Tuesday, Burkley said Genscape has begun renovating an “old dairy building” at 1134 Garvin Place, where the company plans to move from its current office at the Cobalt Marketplace building, 445 E. Market St., by November 2015.

“As a company, we believe in rebuilding and restoring historic structures,” Burkley said. “Given the fact that it was in relatively poor shape, we are reimagining the building from the ground up.”

A sign on the warehouse identifies it as "the milk building." Genscape will have 30,000 square feet in its new home with an open floor plan, Burkley said. The building dates to 1928, according to Jefferson County PVA records.

Founded in 2000 in Louisville by Sean O'Leary and Sterling Lapinski, Genscape now employs about 270 in total, with offices in Houston; Boston; Boulder, Colorado; Amsterdam, Germany and London, among other places, Burkley said.

The company tracks all sorts of energy and commodity markets, providing information on things such as oil shipments, coal consumption and crop yields to customers such as Wall Street traders.

In a front-age story in December, The Wall Street Journal said Genscape is “at the vanguard of a growing industry that employs sophisticated surveillance and data-crunching technology to supply traders with nonpublic information.”

The article opened by describing how Genscape managed to get a “remarkably accurate” preview of a government report on oil supplies by flying over storage tanks in Oklahoma and using a heat-sensitive camera to estimate their contents.

Burkley, who became CEO in 2011, said Genscape chooses to expand in Louisville despite the fact that it's the kind of company that “should be located in Houston.”

“What we like about Louisville is, we believe it has a high quality of life, and we think there is an unappreciated level of talent here,” Burkley said. “We think we have an advantage in hiring very good people.”

As Genscape grows, the company will be looking to add data analysts, “general tech” positions and headquarters functions like human resources and finance, Burkley said.

Those are the kind of white-collar jobs that economic development officials prize. 

"This is an example of exactly the kind of project we hope to see more of in Louisville. It's a tremendous addition to our economy," said Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, chief of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's economic development effort, Louisville Forward.

Wiederwohl applauded Genscape's investment in Old Louisville, which will support restaurants, coffee shops and residential development in the historic area.

Genscape likely could have gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money from the state and Louisville Metro government to move forward with its expansion.

But the company isn't interested, Burkley said.

“Threatening to blackmail a state and a city to give you tax breaks to stay and expand just seems ethically wrong,” he said.

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