Cramer Dev lands major contract, plans KC expansion

Iowa City web development shop Cramer Dev is planning an expansion to another Silicon Prairie city, shortly after landing a major client.

(Photo via Google+)

(Photo via Google+)

Josh Cramer, who founded the company in 2000, announced a 12-month contract creating open-source projects for Seattle-based Chef, Inc. While he could not divulge the size of the contract, he noted several engineers and designers would be dedicated to the project during the year.

Chef, formerly known as Opscode, specializes in IT automation and recently raised a $32 million series D round. Chef boasts companies like Amazon Web Services and Facebook among its users. Cramer explains:

“Chef is software that allows companies to represent their physical servers and server configurations as code. In other words, Chef makes the task of managing lots of servers very easy for IT staff when compared to more traditional and manual methods of managing servers. Chef itself is open source and my team is building the community website and API that allows users of Chef to share and use server “Cookbooks”. Cookbooks are essentially recipes that represent different types of servers. Users can download a cookbook and click a few buttons to have a new cloud based server fully created and configured in a matter of seconds.”

Cramer Dev has added an additional developer to work on the new project, based in Burlington, Vt. The team is distributed across the U.S., and this is the third Vermont employee for Cramer Dev.

Working on an open-source project that developers around the world can tap into is rewarding, Cramer said.

“We use a lot of open source software in our jobs as developers every day,” he said. “Being able to contribute to this open source community in a substantial way is very rewarding for a lot of the engineers on our staff. In addition to helping our client, Chef Inc., we also get to help thousands of other developers across the world with our work.”

Amid news of the new contract, the company is planning to open a second office, in Kansas City, Mo., this March. While a distributed technical team works for the company, Cramer noted that clients like to have a local customer service and sales staff.

The company will hire a sales director in Kansas City, and Cramer said he may add several more employees over the year to service the new office and Chef project.

“Kansas City is attractive because it’s in the Silicon Prairie, it’s a larger market, and it has an emerging startup scene that we think we can add value to,” Cramer said.