[caption id="attachment_11856" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Doug Clark, founder, president and CEO of Metier"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA – A Washington, D.C. area project and portfolio management software company has chosen Santa Rosa for its first off-site branch that could someday employ up to 125 people.

Metier Ltd. has leased temporary quarters in a Railroad Square building for a small staff and is scouting the area for a space to accommodate up to 125 employees, according to founder, president and CEO Doug Clark.

The move is part of a planned expansion nationally for the software company, which recently won a contract with the State of California to make its information technology more efficient and transparent.

"We've launched a project management operations central and are able to serve clients virtually, so we're ready to expand our customer base nationally," said Mr. Clark. "California is a great place to start, even without our contract win."

Metier (pronounced may-tee-yay) studied 20 cities around the U.S. before choosing Santa Rosa for what the company expects will grow into a 60-to-125-employee operation.

"Frankly, the state of the commercial real estate industry was a big factor. Prices for facilities are a fraction of what they are in D.C., and wages are slightly lower as well."

He liked the proximity of Santa Rosa to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the available highly skilled labor pool, the promise of the SMART train and the planned development for Railroad Square.

"Santa Rosa is a jewel. Our plans are to find a 20,000-to-30,000-square- foot location in the area," he said.

Initially Metier will have six to 10 employees in a newly renovated, 3,351- square-foot office at 115 Fourth St., beginning operations on Aug. 3.

Paul Schwartz of NAI BT Commercial represented the company in arranging the lease.

Metier is an 11-year old, privately-held company with 65 employees in its Arlington, Va. headquarters.