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TMCNet:  New call center bringing 600 jobs to Valley: Alorica has 13 other call center locations

[May 16, 2008]

New call center bringing 600 jobs to Valley: Alorica has 13 other call center locations

(The Tribune-Star Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 16--Alorica Inc. soon will become Terre Haute's newest customer service center, employing 550 to 600 people by the end of December at 1800 Fort Harrison Road, Suite 23, in the Plaza North Shopping Center.


The Chino-Calif.-based company will provide inbound customer care service, billing, inbound sales and some technical assistance, said Jeffrey Sopko, Alorica vice president of human resources, on Thursday.

The company plans initially to hire 100 workers to undergo a seven-week company training class starting June 9. The majority of positions will pay $9 an hour plus benefits, while management positions can go "to the mid- to high five figures," Sopko said.

Production workers must have a high-school diploma or equivalent.

"The intent is to finish the year with about 400 to 450 production agents and another 100 to 150 people in ancillary support services from the management group, support services like [information technology], [human resources], recruiting and training work-force management," he said.

The company intends to have 90 percent of its Terre Haute work force as full-time workers, Sopko said. In addition, 80 to 85 percent of its management promotions come from within the company, he added.

The company first visited Terre Haute on Dec. 4, with the city's work force the primary decision for locating in Indiana, Sopko said.

"When we go into a new market, it is really predicated on one thing only and that is the quality of the work force," Sopko said. "Is there an abundance of good people and folks who want to be successful working in our sort of environment and is the market big enough to sustain [the business] long term?" he said.

"The long-term viability of Terre Haute was the principal reason and the community is really 99 percent of why we are here," he said.

The company has seen a growth rate of about 380 percent, Sopko said, based on center openings and employees, jumping from about 1,700 employees in 2005 to more than 7,100 employees, with other contact centers in Kansas, Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma and two in the Philippines. The company has 13 locations.

The 50,000-square foot Terre Haute office, the ninth service center for the company, initially will operate 12 hours a day, but could be expanded to an 18-hour or 24-hour operation, Sopko said.

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., said that no county or city incentives were provided for the company to locate here.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said the state can help companies that respond to the market. The governor said Pfizer Inc.'s Exubera product did not work in the marketplace. That resulted in the loss of jobs ranging from $18 to $25 per hour for a company that had been in Vigo County since 1952. However, other companies, such as Sony's Blue-Ray discs have succeeded and added to the Terre Haute work force, the governor said.

"It underscores that we will compete as aggressively as anybody for jobs for our people, but the most important thing we can do is simply build an overall climate, an environment, I often say the best sandbox in America," Daniels said of business development.

"We like companies that are growing fast and this one clearly is and the possibilities are of course on the upside here. We like companies that move fast and this one clearly is. We like companies that offer upside opportunities to Hoosiers," he said.

Daniels said Alorica can offer jobs "for the first step, maybe for a young person just getting out of school, maybe for a mom returning to the work force as a second earner in the work force. These fill a really important role in the Indiana economy."

Terre Haute has had other call service centers come and go.

Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. currently operates a telemarketing center that opened in April 2007 in the basement of The Meadows shopping center.

That site first was used in August 2000 when Aegis Communications Group opened a call center, growing to 610 employees. That company cuts its work force to 225 in 2003 and closed in May 2004, citing the loss of a major client. TeleServices Direct then moved into the former Aegis site, but pulled out at the end of 2004.

"When we go into a community, the intent is for it to be long term. We are a relatively new company, starting in 1999, and we have not closed a center," Sopko said. "In fact, eight of 10 centers we have expanded."

Each Alorica serve center typically has one primary or main account, which allows that center to focus completely on "dedicating talent and energy on one customer," Sopko said. The company primarily services personal computer manufacturers, consumer electronics and wireless product makers.

The Terre Haute site's main client, which Sopko said he could not name, "is a Fortune 200 company. I guarantee everyone in town and in the U.S. knows their name. They are an international services organization, a telecommunications services company."

Sopko said the company's contracts with its clients typically are three to five years in length, "moreover the client that will be serviced here is an existing client."

Alorica's desktop streaming solution allows a technical service representative to take control of a customer's personal computer through the Internet and run programs, applications, or move files, supporting both software and hardware to increase first-call resolution, according to the company's Web site, www.alorica.com.

That technical service is done from the company's proprietary software, "Helix by Alorica," according to the company's Web site.

Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

How to apply

n-- Alorica, a customer service management firm, is accepting job applications for its new Terre Haute center at 1800 Fort Harrison Road, Suite 23.

A high-school diploma or equivalent is required. Interested people can apply online at www.AloricaJobs.com or by attending an on-site interview at Ivy Tech Community College's facility in the Vigo County Industrial Park at 1700 E. Industrial Drive, in the former Brentlinger Distributing building.

The on-site interviews are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and May 27-29.

To see more of The Tribune-Star or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.tribstar.com/.
Copyright (c) 2008, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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