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Area firms pledge 365 jobs

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Two Central Indiana firms will receive tax incentives for growing their operations by a combined 365 workers by 2015, Indiana economic development officials announced Wednesday.

Stratosphere Quality, LLC, a sorting and inspection service provider, said it will spend $2.6 million to upgrade its Fishers headquarters and plans to add 225 employees to its worker base of 800.

Indianapolis-based Archway Technology Partners, Inc., which helps investment-management firms integrate back-office functions, intends to invest $1.7 million to double its north-side headquarters and add 140 jobs.

The state will offer Stratosphere up to $1.5 million in tax credits and $200,000 in training grants, and will give Archway $2.4 million in tax credits and $100,000 in training grants. The companies cannot claim the credits until employees are hired, according to Indiana Economic Development Corp. officials.

Entrepreneur Steven J. Cage launched Stratosphere in 2009, the same day a similar company he had founded nearly two decades earlier closed its doors. Product Action International, which became an industry leader in the quality-control business, shut down on Feb. 13, 2009, five years after Cage sold the company. He remained its board chairman until at least 2008.

As IBJ reported in 2009, Stratosphere appeared to pick up some of the business from Product Action International, which focused on the auto industry. Stratosphere’s customer base is broader, also including parts-manufacturers in the appliance, medical device and construction industries, according to the IEDC.

Archway was founded eight years ago and doubled in size its first two years of operation. Last year, CEO Jason Brown, told IBJ the company was expected to grow by 80 percent and extend an ownership stake to its 30 employees. It was one of the fastest-growing private companies in the Indianapolis area in 2010, reporting revenue of $3.8 million, and made Inc. magazine's annual Inc. 500 list the same year.

The company already has begun hiring for new positions that include software engineers and business development specialists.

Stratosphere and Archway are among 33 companies that pledged to grow or locate in Indiana this year. The state touted a record year for job commitments, with 219 companies pledging 19,000 new jobs.

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