What started out as a dream in the garage of a Baton Rouge home evolved into an international enterprise providing tools and services for musicians to produce, sell and perform their art.
Wednesday (April 30) PreSonus audio solutions celebrated the grand opening of its new 44,000 square foot, $8.8 million facility, housing its headquarters off Interstate 10 at Highland Road.
While the company boasts state-of-the-art soundproof recording studios and a creative design, most important was its intent to fulfill owners’ and local officials’ dreams of having a world-class company located in Baton Rouge.
“It was part of a dream I had back when I was young to find entrepreneurs in their garages here in Baton Rouge. If we found the right people, we could build the right companies to attract talent from all over the world,” said Kevin Couhig, chairman of the board.
Since its founding in 1995, PreSonus has expanded to selling products in more than 60 countries and has imported employees from Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong and across the United States after acquiring North Carolina-based Notion Music and Boston-based Nimbit, a music platform offering direct-to-fan sales of music.
PreSonus will create 65 new jobs by 2016 in the Capital Region, with employees averaging an $80,000 salary before benefits. The new facility also creates 79 indirect jobs for a total of more than 140 new jobs for the region. The company retained its 80 existing jobs.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who attended the grand opening, shared Couhig’s sentiments. “When I became governor, our top goal was to be able to create more jobs for our kids to pursue their dreams here in Louisiana,” Jindal said, adding, “PreSonus shows that we can compete with any state, any country all over the world for good jobs.
PreSonus founder Jim Odom, a musician, producer and graduate of LSU’s Electrical Engineering program, started the business in his garage in 1995 with a goal of building professional and affordable music production tools for musicians and audio engineers.
A few years in, PreSonus moved to the second floor of Causey’s Furniture in downtown Baton Rouge. Three years later, it relocated to the Bon Carre’ Business Center on Florida Boulevard where it remained until moving into its new facility in February.
“This new facility enables us to continue to grow PreSonus and at the same time improve the lives of our staff,” CEO Jim Mack said. “It’s architectural design enables us to work better as a team, be more productive and better create, market and sell our product.” Ritter-Maher Architects designed PreSonus’ new headquarters. Architect Charles Moniotte said, “When we met with PreSonus about the new building, they gave us three challenges: creativity, the environment and the need to be an open place that created excitement.”
Technology assets in the new headquarters also include custom-designed professional recording and live-sound facilities designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group. It will also house research and development for new product testing.
“Baton Rouge is very proud to see PreSonus, an innovative company built by Baton Rouge natives, thriving and growing in our region,” Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden said. “This is a testament to the strength of Baton Rouge and the growing technology sector. PreSonus sets a great example for entrepreneurs and business leaders alike by showing how a company can take advantage of the assets of our area to become an industry leader.”
The Louisiana Economic Development Office’s Business Expansion and Retention Group and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber started working with PreSonus to facilitate the expansion in early 2011. The state of Louisiana gave the company workforce solutions of LED’s FastStart program. The company is also expected to use Louisiana’s Quality Jobs, Industrial Tax Exemption and Digital Interactive Media and Software Development incentives to offset costs.
“BRAC is deeply committed to enhancing the region’s software development and IT industries and this new facility is a sign of the growth occurring in this sector,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “PreSonus was founded in Baton Rouge and has now become a world leader in digital audio electronics and soundboards. Their commitment to remain in Baton Rouge – and their continued advancement – is a win for the entire region.”