Thursday, November 13, 2003

Tech firm
expands downtown

Science & Technology
International has leased
35,000 square feet in
First Hawaiian Center

Science & Technology International, a locally grown high-technology company, has taken over 35,000 square feet of space in the First Hawaiian Center downtown, occupying Spirent Communications' former space on the 27th, 12th and 16th floors.

It is an expansion for STI. Nick Susner, president and chief executive officer, said the company is keeping its headquarters in the Pacific Guardian Center on Bishop Street and a small space in the City Center on Richards Street. It has moved some offices that were in the City Center to its new space, for a net increase of 16,000 square feet.

The company has grown from 12 employees a decade ago to 150. It also has offices on Maui and the Big Island.

Susner, who joined the company as president in 1993 and bought it in 1996 from university professors who founded it in 1980, said the move allows the employees to work more closely together. The new space also will allow the company to continue to grow, Susner said.

The commercial real estate agent who put the lease deal together, Chrissy J. Young, said the move is significant because the market trend has seen technology firms vacating Honolulu commercial space.

"This is the ... most space occupied by a tech firm (this year)," said Young, senior associate at CB Richard Ellis.

STI's main development is a sophisticated optical imaging system, now being tested around the world by the Navy for detecting submarines and mines. The system is also being used in Homeland Security operations and to map all of Hawaii's coral reefs.

STI volunteers its equipment in emergencies, such as ocean oil spills. After a Navy submarine sank the Japanese fishery training vessel Ehime Maru in February 2001, the company produced a collision-avoidance system for submarines, improving their detection of surface vessels.

STI has also developed medical imaging systems to detect cancer.


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