In what could be the first in the state outside of the Seattle metro area, Microsoft is opening a small office for programmers in Silverdale.
Microsoft has top billing on the sign for the Creekside Office Park at 9633 Levin Road NW. Other tenants in the two-story building include medical and legal offices.
A directory inside the building points visitors to Microsoft’s space in Unit 104. A peek through a window past the pin-coded door of the unit showed a bare office with cardboard boxes in an interior room.
A few questions remain:
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▪ Why did Microsoft pick Silverdale? The company won’t say, even after The News Tribune sent a photo of the business park sign to a Microsoft spokeswoman.
▪ What work will be done there? Again, Microsoft is mum, but Joseph Williams, Gov. Jay Inslee’s lead on tech-industry recruitment, called the office “special.
“I think it has to do with artificial intelligence,” he said.
▪ How many people will work there? It eventually could house 20 workers from the Redmond-based employer, according to two sources who did not want to be named. Microsoft did not comment.
Leading the office will be Nathan Evans, a principal software architect at Microsoft Research. He confirmed the existence of the office via text message but nothing else.
Evans also is treasurer of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance and the co-chairman of its technology committee.
Kitsap County Commissioner Ed Wolfe said he was aware of the office. He said he welcomes Microsoft to the community, and said its opening makes sense for the area.
“It’s a high-tech community,” Wolfe said. “It’s a growing area for many different reasons.”
Several small tech firms, including Critical Informatics and Paladin Data Systems, are in the area, he said.
John Powers, executive director for the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, said it’s no surprise Microsoft is establishing an office in Silverdale.
“There’s talent here and you can compete with the larger regional tech market from throughout the region, including here in Kitsap,” Powers said. “With any business it starts with talent. … Whether it’s Microsoft or Lockheed Martin, you know you can find good talent here.”
Silverdale, with a little over 20,000 residents, is on the Kitsap Peninsula between Bremerton and Poulsbo on U.S. 3.
It is far from the gridlock of Seattle and Redmond. A commute during rush hour from the Bremerton ferry to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond can take more than two hours one way.
The software giant has more than 124,000 employees worldwide.