Belfast Telegraph

Texas firm targets NHS contracts as it creates 120 jobs

Expansion plans: Chris Dillie
Expansion plans: Chris Dillie

By Mark McConville

The head of a US health and public safety software firm has said it will seek NHS contracts as it establishes an engineering centre in Belfast, creating 120 jobs.

The jobs at Texas-based ESO, in software, engineering, HR and operations, will be offered over the next three years with an average annual salary of £40,000.

The company has two potential sites in mind for the centre, with a decision expected to be made this week.

Invest NI has provided £780,000 towards creating the jobs while ESO has said it plans to invest more than £10m here.

Chris Dillie, president and chief executive of ESO, said that the firm will seek to expand over the next 36 months, including bringing their services to the NHS.

"In the short term, the next 24 months, we'll be clearly focused on building great software but as that evolves we'll look at going a lot further," he added.

"We will absolutely look to move over in the UK, Europe and beyond over the next 36 months or so.

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"In 24 to 30 months we'll start thinking about whether more than just research and development makes sense here as well. As ESO looks to expand far more internationally as a company from a sales and marketing perspective we think this is maybe a good spot to launch that from."

The company seeks to "improve community health and safety through the power of data".

It does that by delivering a broad range of software tools and products to meet the changing needs of the emergency medical services, fire departments and hospitals in North America.

Mr Dillie praised Belfast's tech sector and explained the company chose the city due to the talent on offer.

"We looked at quite a few other locations, both in the US and abroad," he said,

"We really believe the folks here fit us as a company well. We're a pretty relaxed, laid-back company and we're very passionate about what we do, but we believe in taking great care of folks and having authentic, open conversations and we've been able to see that here.

"Most importantly, the talent is here. The fintech and security space has built some really good core competencies.

"We hope bringing medtech and a mission-based organisation to the market gives us a differentiation to hire on, but we see a lot of great talent in the city."

Mr Dillie, who was a firefighter and paramedic, explained in more detail what ESO does.

"That's where the passion for the company comes from," he said. "I was a part of it where I took patients to hospitals and never heard what happened next - no ability to learn whether I did the right thing or not.

"With our software solutions we're bringing the data back from hospitals and a paramedic and the whole organisation can see if they are treating the patients right.

"It really allows you to dramatically change the quality of care you provide."

Outgoing Invest NI chief executive Alistair Hamilton said he was "delighted" ESO had chosen Belfast.

"It's been part of our strategy to go out and look for early-stage high-growth technology companies and offer them an opportunity to develop their products and services and get access to talent," he added.

"There's a big struggle in the US for many of these companies to get access to the talent and we've got it here."

Belfast Telegraph