It’s to be expected when your company employs about 51,000 people in 18 countries, including 25 U.S. call centers.
“What’s uncommon is to seeother members of a community help a firm get settled in and — here’s the important part — grow quickly,” Koskovich says.
Koskovich, TeleTech’s senior vice president of North American operations, kept this in mind last spring during a luncheon at Lorain County Community College. He had heard several pitches in prior weeks, including a few by other Ohio cities. This time, he listened for practical benefits, not empty promises: How could Lorain County help the global outsourcing provider deliver profits?
City of Cleveland —Swayed PR Newswire to make Cleveland one of two major hubs for its news and press release distribution services company. It created more than 150 new jobs and retained 14 in 2007.
Richland Economic Development Corp. — The relocation of the manufacturer Hi-Stat and StarTek, a call center, to Richland County will create more than 800 jobs.
Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber — Two projects with InfoCision Management Corp. will create more than 450 jobs and retain more than 700.
Fortunately, a fever pitch had developed weeks before at the Lorain County Growth Partnership. The group — developed by the county commissioners and composed of more than 35 companies, public institutions and local governments — works to stimulate the economy and compete better in the marketplace.
Members knew what was at stake: Persuading TeleTech to pick Lorain County would mean at least 500 new jobs.
The Lorain County Growth Partnership formed a R.E.A.L. Team, about a dozen people who customize a plan likely to resonate with a business considering a home in Lorain County. (The acronym stands for Retention, Expansion, Attraction and Leadership.)
Before the county formed such teams, its departments worked independently on common goals, including attracting businesses to the area, says Lorain County Administrator Jim Cordes. The county lacked a cohesive way to communicate and pull in resources when wooing firms like TeleTech. “To be honest,” he says, “ego probably got in the way. Each department wanted the credit.”
The R.E.A.L. Team crafted ways to entice TeleTech to the area and to help it thrive once it did. Lorain County Community College offered TeleTech space to train new hires. City officials helped organize job fairs, and offered the county’s administration building as an interview location.
In November, TeleTech moved into a vacant office building in Amherst. The $80 million investment from TeleTech is the first new facility the company has opened in four years. It now serves as an inbound call center for insurance coverage and prescriptions to people on Medicare. TeleTech hired 460 employees to work the phones and another 40 as supervisors and trainers. It later added 340 more jobs in the office.
“What we received from Lorain County was different than anything we’ve experienced,” says Koskovich, who keeps a photo of TeleTech’s ribbon-cutting ceremony as a reminder of the community’s support for the firm. “We even had a throng of regular citizens show up to that ceremony,” he says. “Now we’re looking forward to a long, profitable tenure here.