Fast-growing, Minneapolis-based Ability Network Inc. continues expanding at a rapid clip. Today the health information technology company has more than 400 employees, double the number it had a year ago, and it’s looking to have more.
 
Based on the company’s current expansion plans, it could be in line for up to $1 million from the Job Creation Fund administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
 
A City of Minneapolis staff report on the potential expansion noted: “Ability currently employs 118 at its Minneapolis headquarters facility at Butler Square at 100 North Sixth Street. Average salaries are in excess of $65,000. The company currently leases 43,000 square feet at Butler Square. The contemplated expansion would increase the footprint to approximately 87,000 square feet and add 167 jobs.”
 
In an email to Twin Cities Business, Ken Ernsting, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Ability Network, notes: “These are minimum targets that we expect to hit for purposes of this near-term job growth initiative. That said, Ability anticipates being in a position to further the relationship with the city and state in future job growth initiatives.”
 
Founded as VisionShare Inc. in 2000, Ability Network focuses on processing Medicare payments for health care providers, primarily hospitals, home health care agencies and other acute care providers. The company has been growing by leaps and bounds under CEO Mark Briggs, who took the helm in 2010.
 
Ability Network has a national presence with offices in Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Tampa, Jacksonville, Florida, and Parsippany, New Jersey. The company does not disclose its revenue. But the latest push calls for strong job growth at its Minneapolis headquarters.
 
“The current initiative is focused on the city of Minneapolis. We’ve also sought packages in other locations to facilitate our growth. In the state of Florida we recently committed to creating 75 jobs, which also represents a low-end estimate of our job growth prospects in the area,” Ernsting adds. “The square footage figure represents the space we would need to accommodate the expected new employees, but this space will not necessarily be all in Butler Square. We will consider all of our options within the Twin Cities area.”
 
Although the Job Creation Fund is a state program, it requires a “resolution of support from the city of Minneapolis, as the home jurisdiction of the company.” The Community Planning & Economic Development committee of the Minneapolis City Council approved the resolution of support on Tuesday. The full council will ultimately need to vote on the issue.
 
Twin Cities Business took an in-depth look last year at Ability Network’s under-the-radar growth.
 
Boston-based private equity player Summit Partners made a $550 million “strategic investment” in Ability Network last year. The deal closed in May 2014.
 
Since that deal, Ability has continued to grow through acquisitions. In November 2014, Ability Network closed on its acquisition of New Jersey-based MD On-Line Inc., expanding the company’s reach to ambulatory health care providers. In April, the company announced its acquisition of Dallas-based System Designs Inc., the developer of the PC-ACE Pro 32 software claims processing system.
 
“Our growth is driven both through acquisitions and organic growth,” Bud Meadows, Ability Network’s chief revenue officer and executive vice president, tells Twin Cities Business. He notes that the jobs that the company is looking to add here are primarily sales, customer service and support, and IT positions.
 
“We continue to see very strong demand in the market for our services,” says Meadows.

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