After meeting Lumina staff, the MP sat down with Lumina's MD Richard McBarnet to discuss the burgeoning employment opportunities the town offers.
He said: "These are exciting times for local businesses. The town is attracting companies of all shapes and sizes and success is breeding success. In addition to the multi- nationals like Amazon and Britvic, Hemel Hempstead is now home to a huge range of niche businesses driven by technology and engineering, of which Lumina Technologies is one."
The MP acknowledged the way technology has radically transformed the types of business based in Hemel, and recognised the vital role played by companies like Lumina Technologies.
"Cyber security is a huge issue for us all but the authorities do not seem to realise how serious the issue is. Looking at the big picture, I think cyber security is a far greater threat to national security than anything else. In a business sense, IT issues can pose huge headaches for SMEs as they can be hit very hard by a breach. Often the Boards are naïve about the dangers and simply don't treat it seriously enough. Which is where companies like Lumina Technologies can help."
Their talks touched upon particular problems faced by the IT industry, the on-going skills shortage, which MD Richard McBarnet sees as a potential problem with his company's expansion plans.
The MP assured him that, in the future, this will be alleviated by the new Hemel Hempstead campus of West Herts College, due to open in September this year, where students will be able to study IT, engineering and practical skills, as well as academic subjects.
At the end of a very constructive meeting, Mike Penning offered Lumina Technologies his continued support and said he looks forward to hearing about the company's continuing success.
Richard McBarnet was delighted with the visit. "It's so encouraging to know that our local MP is so supportive of local SMEs and is happy to engage with business people in his constituency. It's good to know he has an understanding of the issues, shares our concerns about IT and cyber security, and is willing to do what he can in order to help."