With 1,200 new employee badges and an expansive row of new executive offices, the Santa Rosa facility of Agilent Technologies stands poised to serve as headquarters to the world’s top electronic measurement company.
On Friday, the hilltop campus on Fountaingrove Parkway is slated to unveil signs proclaiming itself the home of Keysight Technologies.
The creation of a new company means splitting up Agilent’s life sciences and electronic measurement divisions, with the hope each business can grow better on its own. Keysight’s new leaders and staff have spent 10 months helping prepare more than 10,000 customers, 3,000 suppliers and 9,500 employees for the new day.
For the next three months, Keysight will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Agilent. But in November, Keysight is scheduled to become an independent, publicly traded company, a global business based in Santa Rosa.
It all amounts to the latest chapter in the story of Sonoma County’s fifth-largest employer, which began here four decades ago as part of technology giant Hewlett-Packard. Under both HP and Agilent, the electronic measurement facilities brought the county the benefits of a high-tech workforce. But they also offered front-row seats to the upheaval caused when a company sends thousands of manufacturing jobs overseas.
For this next act, Keysight will take center stage as the largest company ever based in the county, one whose annual sales of $2.9 billion nearly equals a quarter of the world’s electronic measurement market.
“We have a global player headquartered now in the county,” said Dick Herman, president of 101 MFG, a Petaluma-based alliance of manufacturing executives. “And that’s pretty significant. Because decisions aren’t made anywhere else now. They’re made here.”
Since last fall, a core team of roughly 1,000 Agilent employees have worked to make sure that by Friday both the new and existing companies will be ready to operate on their own. For Keysight, the 316 days of preparation has been a time for such diverse tasks as creating 15,000 new email addresses and gaining permission to do business in 30 countries.
At the million-square-foot campus in Santa Rosa, construction workers have converted 15,000 square feet of space for executive offices and a “stakeholder center” that will welcome the company’s new board members, as well as high-profile customers, stock analysts and investors.
“We wanted a headquarters that had a look and feel of the world’s leading electronics measurement company,” said Hamish Gray, Keysight’s chief of staff and the manager leading the changeover.