CIC milestone highlights R.I. offshore wind growth

TEAM MEMBERS from Infrastructure & Energy Alternatives and CIC Providence on Thursday participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in recognition of IEA's status as the CIC's 10,000th client globally. / PBN PHOTO/JACQUELYN VOGHEL

PROVIDENCE – It was by chance that Indiana-based Infrastructure & Energy Alternatives became the CIC global network’s 10,000th client.

But IEA’s landing spot at CIC’s Providence location was very deliberate, says Vicky Roberts, director of business development for offshore wind at the infrastructure construction company.

“In the offshore wind industry, most people know everyone else in the business,” Roberts said.  

So when she heard that CIC Providence was home to a growing hub for the offshore wind industry – 30 companies in the sector now have an office in the building – Roberts reached out to her connections in Providence and heard “really positive feedback.”

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With that in mind, “I thought it would be a great idea for us to have an office there, and have a presence in the offshore wind sector,” she said.

On Thursday afternoon, members of IEA’s offshore wind leadership team joined the CIC community for a ribbon-cutting ceremony recognizing the milestone for CIC, which has eight campuses throughout the world and plans to continue expanding in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

The Providence location, which was the CIC’s fastest-growing location at the beginning of the year, continues to attract high interest, said Rodrigo Martinez, chief marketing and experience officer at CIC. Some other locations are now catching up in growth rates, he noted, but that’s in part because the Providence building is almost full.

The building now houses around 250 clients overall, and CIC leaders are considering expanding the network’s physical space in Providence, Martinez said, though these discussions remain in the early stages.

Currently, around “a couple dozen” spots remain open in the building, he noted, depending on the size of potential clients.

The CIC was founded in 1999 and provides workspaces, collaboration opportunities and other resources for startups and innovative businesses.

Martinez attributes the Providence campus’s offshore wind cluster partially to location and partially to chance.

“Obviously, there’s a history of maritime industry and activity around Rhode Island and New England,” Martinez said. “I think companies like to be where other companies like them are located, and sometimes it just happens.

“We had a couple clients to start, and then others came and others meet them,” he continued – notably, Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind moved into the building in March 2020, potentially kicking off the trend.

The companies “also collaborate among themselves,” Martinez said. “In the case of IEA, several of our other clients are their clients, so once you have a little critical mass beginning to grow, others want to be part of that.”

In the company’s early days in Providence, Roberts said that the move seems to be paying off.

“We’re in the thick of the activity, so people are aware of us,” Roberts said. “We can join and be engaged with the local community, so we thought it’s a great opportunity for us to be where other business are.” 

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com. 

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