Motorists travelling down Skaha Lake Road on the south end of Penticton have no doubt noticed, and perhaps wondered, about the flags atop the Windward Software building.
Company CEO Dennis Jacobsen was before city council Tuesday, as a part of an initiative to highlight local business success stories. He said the flags represent all the countries they have sold to over the years.
“We’ve actually sold to about 40 countries, but we only have about 35 flags, so we need more flag poles,” he said.
Jacobsen brought the business to Penticton from Fort St. John in 1990, hiring his first employee — who is still with the company — in 1991. Today, Windward employs 52 people locally on top of another 55 scattered across the globe in offices in Chicago, Australia and the Philippines.
The company sells point-of-sale, inventory, retail and accounting software for a variety of business uses.
“I’ve often heard people in this city say, ‘if we could only get better internet here, we could attract large companies,’” Jacobsen said. “Well we’ve had great internet in our office for many many years.
“Internet is not the problem, it’s all about people,” he said, explaining that finding trained employees is one of the company’s biggest challenges. “How do we get young people in?”
Jacobsen pointed to a lack of affordable housing and a rental market that is “practically non-existent … we’ve heard from our employees that they are having a hard time finding a place to live.”
He said it’s also important for the city to be a “fun place to live,” and applauded initiatives like the South Okanagan Events Centre and other amenities like the BMX track and Okanagan waterfront walkway.
Looking forward, Jacobsen said Windward is working on bringing all its software into the cloud, which should help spur both domestic and international sales even higher.