Lebanon County top private companies: Tech finds home in Lebanon
Candoris Technologies LLC has come a long way since its founding in a second-floor apartment in Cleona in 2011.
The Annville Township tech firm was co-founded by brothers Stephan and Lucas Van Der Ploog, who both had been involved in the tech industry — Stephan, the older brother, for 17 years, and Lucas for 11 years. They both remain involved in Candoris — Stephan as chief accountability officer and Lucas as senior client warrior.
Over the last seven years the company has grown to 67 employees with about 45 working in Lebanon County and the balance working in remote offices nationwide.
Stephan Van Der Ploog said the company plans to move into a larger facility in October, a 13,000-square-foot building at 475 N. Weaber St. in Annville that the company is renovating to serve as its new headquarters.
“We’re committed to Lebanon County. I love the challenge of trying to build Lebanon County up. Plus I live in Lebanon, and I didn’t want a long commute,” he said.
Lebanon County may not be Silicon Valley, but the region has other attractions for tech companies like Candoris, said Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce president Karen Groh.
“People can have the best of everything — being part of the tech industry; living in a small town like Annville that’s a great place to raise a family, and still being innovative and creative,” she said.
While tech companies are finding space in Lebanon County, Groh said distribution centers are still fueling some of the county’s growth. She’s also seen some interest by developers in repurposing vacant buildings in Lebanon’s downtown and throughout the city.
“We don’t have any specific projects yet, but I’ve had some discussions with developers. It’s important for them to get in on the ground floor, before things take off and prices of properties go up,” she said.
Additionally one of the action steps in the City of Lebanon’s Grow Lebanon 2020 plan, a center for entrepreneurship, is coming closer to fruition. The center, which will be named The Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, will be a joint venture between the City of Lebanon, Lebanon Valley Chamber and SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon. One of the center’s proposed initiatives involves school districts and what she described as “encouraging entrepreneurship starting in grade school on up”.
“It’s important to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs,” she said.
Van Der Ploog explained that the name Candoris is a Latin word meaning sincerity, integrity, openness and trust. “It relates to the way we do business; we approach every project with the goal of translating these words into action,” he said.
And the company also is committed to giving back. “We focus on kids, so we support organizations that fund medicine, education and clean water projects in Third-World countries,” he said, adding that the focus tends to attract talented people. “Finding team members hasn’t really been an issue,” he said.
Candoris has three main businesses — data center and infrastructure; managed services; and software engineering.
The data-center business includes infrastructure networking, data storage, cloud solutions and digital transformation.
Candoris’ second business — Candoris Managed Services—provides IT outsourcing mainly to smaller companies. “We become their IT department,” Van Der Ploog said, “This area was a natural outgrowth of the data center offering.”
The third business is software engineering. Software developers write custom applications and implement Salesforce.com — a cloud-based customer relationship database. He said Salesforce.com is often used by nonprofits to manage donor information.