Phone firm to bring 520 jobs at Eastern Panhandle

January 09, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A worldwide telephone service firm announced plans Thursday to build a $12.5 million plant in the Burr Industrial Park, a project that will create at least 520 jobs, state and company officials said Thursday.

Denver-based TeleTech Holdings Inc. plans to construct a 60,000-square-foot building in the industrial park along W.Va. 9 in Bardane, W.Va., and open the center in early 1998, officials said.

In what is referred to as "tele-servicing," TeleTech handles customer assistance phone calls for a variety of companies such as AT&T, the U.S. Postal Service, Apple Computer and other large corporations, company officials said. The company has 14 centers worldwide and employs more than 6,800 people, officials said.


"TeleTech is deservedly known as a well-connected firm," said Jefferson County Commissioners President James G. Knode, one of many local and state officials who were at the Jefferson County Courthouse to announce the project.

Many employees at the plant will work at computer stations, handling customer assistance phone calls, said Joseph D. Livingston, TeleTech's senior vice president and chief operating officer.

Wages for starting employees will be about $7 an hour, Livingston said. The company will be looking for workers with typing and basic computer skills, Livingston said.

Livingston said TeleTech will bring in a skeleton staff to help get the plant off the ground and then will begin hiring. He said the 520 jobs the plant is expected to create is a conservative estimate. Most of the company's plants have about 1,100 employees, Livingston said.

"We have more than enough business right now," said Livingston.

The project involves a $6.6 million investment in the land and the plant, and about $6 million in equipment, officials said.

The announcement is the most recent economic development news involving a telephone-related company.

In September, TeleTech announced plans to build a plant in Moundsville, W.Va. That plant also is expected to create 520 jobs, officials said.

On Tuesday, Gov. Gaston Caperton dedicated a TeleSpectrum WorldWide telemarketing center in Beckley, W.Va., and said the company plans to open two additional centers at undisclosed locations in the state. The expansions by TeleSpectrum are expected to increase the company's workforce to 2,000, Caperton said.

Although TeleTech will build the plant, the county will buy the building and lease it to the company, officials said.

The building will be exempt from property taxes if the county owns it, a move which would provide a tax break for the company, Peters said.Caperton was expected to be at Thursday's meeting, but could not attend because of the snow.

Caperton and other officials, including Jefferson County Development Authority Director Jane Peters, played a major role in bringing TeleTech to West Virginia, said Skip Lineberg, a spokesman for the West Virginia Development Office. Lineberg said Caperton hand-selected TeleTech after learning about the firm through a personal friend.

Livingston said his company was courted by about seven or eight states who wanted the company's new plant.

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