Northern Nevada Lands Cybersecurity Firm

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RENO, NV - It's becoming a familiar scene. Business and media gathered for a big announcement. The promise of well-paid jobs. Millions in economic impact.

Smiles all around beginning with the state's recruiter-in-chief, the governor. And Governor Sandoval says, "Now it's not only quantity. It's quality.

This catch was significant. Not as big as Tesla, but high-tech and filling a huge and growing need.

As Don Ritzman, the CEO and founder of Ghost Systems, tells it, his company's aim is to put those people who hacked your credit card through Target or Home Depot out of business.

Current security efforts, he says, are based on updates of approaches decades old. Every firewall it seems only presents the next challenge to the hacker.

Ghost Systems' approach is different. Through its "Safe Place" environment, its combined hardware/software approach, he says, is like virtual Kevlar. "It takes anything that's attached to a network and it turns it invisible. It turns it into a ghost. So, the hacker doesn't even know you're there."

Cyber theft, he says, is a huge multi-billion-dollar business. Fighting it will be a global effort, one that Ghost Systems intends to lead, all of it coordinated right here in Reno.

The firm's global headquarters will be in Incline Village, but plans include a $210 million investment in offices and data centers in downtown Reno and in the Reno Technology Park east of town.

There's significant investment in a work force as well. Within five years Ghost Systems could add at least 150 jobs paying an average of $40 an hour.

All-in-all it's an addition that fits in well with a developing trend in the local economy. "Our primary pipeline is filled with advanced manufacturing, e-commerce, logistics distribution and technology companies," says Mike Kazmierski, the CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada or EDAWN.

"The more we get advanced manufacturing, which is really robotics and technology-based, the more we get technology companies to come as well."

Ritzman says among the reasons they chose northern Nevada over 20 other locations was an attractive lifestyle and a qualified work force.
He says the work force is already here, but plans are already underway to work with the University of Nevada, Reno to develop curriculum that would prepare more.

All of this would seem to include a well-funded education system and significant investment; there just might require a reworking of the state's tax system, a goal which has eluded governors and lawmakers for decades.

There have been reports Sandoval may seek to do that in the upcoming session of the legislature. He didn't back away from that question at the Ghost Systems announcement.

"We have a system that was built in the 60's and the 70's and with this new burgeoning economy we have to make sure that system meets up with new economy we have. So yes, that's something we'll take a look at in the next session."

So, we can expect to hear a proposal in the State of the State Address next month?

"You will."