If you’ve used the help menu while trying to figure out something software-related at the office, you may have a newly based Elkridge company to thank.
ANCILE (pronounced an-SIGH-lee) just held the grand opening for its world headquarters on Marshalee Drive. The company, which broke off from RWD Technologies last year, provides online help and products for employee training.
“When you’re on the job, if you have a question, you don't have to call the help desk or ask your neighbor—that’s what our software does,” said Marianna Noll, ANCILE’s director of marketing and communications. “Really, what we’re doing is finding a way for you to develop content to tell users what to do, and we give you the tool to hook that content up to an application.”
At the grand opening April 6, CEO Frank Lonergan estimated that his company’s products have reached 12 million users.
Half of Fortune 100 companies and many Fortune 500 are ANCILE clients—Under Armour, Fossil, Proctor & Gamble, Kraft, Lockheed Martin, NASA and Chico’s, to list a few. The names scroll along a monitor at the headquarters’ entryway.
Other types of organizations also turn to ANCILE for help. “Howard County government is a customer,” said Noll, as is Maryland’s Comptroller Peter Franchot.
In Florida, the Orange County school system, which has 20,000 employees, asked ANCILE to streamline its operations.
“If someone has to order a bus, we made it easier to do that,” said Noll. “Budgets are tight. If we can cut down on what it takes to develop [software] and ensure that teachers are in classrooms, then that’s good.”
ANCILE has offices across the world—in Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and Japan. Elkridge was designated the world headquarters because of its proximity to UMBC’s Research Park, the former location of ANCILE and where RWD Technologies is headquartered.
Most employees commute from Howard and Baltimore Counties, said Noll. She said the company wanted traveling to remain manageable for the 80 software developers, engineers and technical writers who work at the main office.
“I like this location,” said Noll. “We were convenient before, but it’s really nice to be so close to 100, so close to 95, and there are a lot more amenities close by—restaurants, banking, the grocery store and the .”
Moving the office from Baltimore County to Elkridge was also a win for Howard County, according to officials at the grand opening.
“ANCILE is exactly what we’re looking for in the county. It’s a technology company, it’s innovative, it’s growing,” said Laura Neuman, Howard County Economic Development Authority CEO. “We just want to say thank you for selecting us.”
Despite ANCILE’s focus on technology and the digital world, Lonergan said the company also wants to connect to the community. He presented a $10,000 check to the U.S. Dream Academy, a national nonprofit headquartered in Columbia, MD, that provides at-risk children with after-school support. The money will be used to fund programs in Baltimore's Pimlico area, at one of 10 centers nationwide.
Diane Booker, U.S. Dream Academy’s executive director, told Patch she was surprised by the large donation.
“We share in [the] mission of helping people work smarter,” she said. “We help kids whose parents are incarcerated, kids who are falling behind in school, kids in very high-risk communities with high poverty, high crime … and they all have the potential, but they need additional support along the way.”
Booker and Lonergan said they hoped U.S. Dream Academy students could tour the ANCILE headquarters to see a world beyond the one they knew.
“What a great story it would be if one of those young people walks through the door in 10 or 15 years as an ANCILE employee,” said Lonergan. “I think that would be a great goal for us to achieve.”