A major provider of engineering services to heavy-equipment giant Caterpillar Inc. has arrived in downtown Tucson with plans to hire more than 300 people over the next five years, officials announced Friday.

Axiscades, an India-based engineering firm, has moved into leased space at the Transamerica building at 177 N. Church Ave., just a few blocks from Caterpillar’s surface-mining division building under construction on the west side of Interstate 10.

Axiscades has about 15 to 20 employees in Tucson so far and is looking to hire more than 300 over the next five years, CEO Mritunjay Singh said. The positions will primarily be in mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as finance, research and development, human resources, sales and project management.

Singh said Caterpillar is his company’s “primary” customer, and Tucson’s cadre of mining firms and the availability of graduates of the University of Arizona’s mining school were also attractive to the company.

Based in Bangalore, India, Axiscades has 11 offices in eight countries, including one in Peoria, Illinois, and employs more than 2,300 workers overall. Besides the heavy-machinery business, it serves the defense, aerospace, automotive, industrial and medical-device industries.

“We strongly believe in a strategy of growing locally and expanding and setting up offices in multiple places,” said Singh. “Tucson is definitely a great place to be both in terms of talent and the customer base here.”

Singh said after meeting with local officials he was also impressed with the Tucson’s area’s defense industry, adding that the company is now considering bringing elements of its own defense technology business here in the future.

In town for the announcement, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Axiscades’ arrival confirmed his earlier belief that Caterpillar’s decision to relocate a division to Tucson would create a “ripple effect” of attracting other mining-tech businesses.

“Once again, we are sending a message to the nation and the world that Southern Arizona is open for business,” Ducey said.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said the arrival of Caterpillar, Hexagon Mining and now Axiscades in downtown Tucson is bringing high-paying jobs and playing to the Old Publeo’s strengths in international trade, noting the global nature of the mining business.

“Caterpillar exports to Mexico, to Central America, around the world,” he said, calling Tucson’s proximity to the border one of the city’s most important strategic advantages.

Local government and business leaders and groups including Sun Corridor Inc. helped smooth Axiscades’ move to Tucson.

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David Hutchens, chairman of Sun Corridor and president and CEO of Tucson Electric Power Co., said Tucson’s quality of life, infrastructure and workforce are key to attracting new companies like Axiscades.

“We’ve known about it for years, now the whole world is finding out,” he said.

Axiscades has not applied for any state or local financial incentives to open its office in Tucson, according to Sun Corridor.

Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson said mining is an integral part of Southern Arizona’s legacy and current and future economy, and that “sustainable mining” is part of the county’s strategic economic-development plans, citing the UA’s Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining.

Axiscades’ arrival is the latest in a string of major job announcements for Tucson:

  • In 2016, Caterpillar decided to relocate its Surface, Mining & Technology Division to downtown Tucson, along with up to 600 executive jobs over a five-year period, for an estimated economic impact of $600 million. Caterpillar’s 150,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by March 2019.
  • In 2017, Hexagon Mining, a division of Sweden-based Hexagon AB that provides information technology to the mining industry, announced it would expand and set up its North American headquarters in downtown’s City Park, 40 E. Congress, with plans to add 120 employees over five years.
  • Earlier this month, Texas Instruments Inc. announced plans to build a new $29 million facility, adding at least 35 high-paying jobs to the 300 already in Tucson.
  • Tucson also landed a new Amazon fulfillment center earlier this year, which will employ more than 1,500 full-time workers at a warehouse on the city’s southeast side.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz.

Reporter

David joined the Star in 1997, after working as a consumer and business reporter in Phoenix for more than a decade. A graduate of Ohio University, he has covered most business beats focusing on technology, defense and utilities. He has won several awards.