News : Call Center Ansafone Wins County Backing
July 17, 2012 -- Calling Ocala: Another call center is on the line.
On Tuesday, the County Commission unanimously approved a grant to a California-based company that seeks to open a new call center locally.
Ansafone Contact Centers’ project is expected to generate up to 300 full- and part-time new jobs over the next three years. The anticipated average salary of those jobs is $22,000 a year.
Ansafone plans to relocate its headquarters from Santa Ana, Calif., where it has outgrown its needs, company officials have said.
The company plans to renovate the former Maslow Insurance headquarters in northeast Ocala. The site has been vacant for two years.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ansafone can utilize the grant for new equipment or machinery.
The commission followed the lead of the Ocala City Council, which approved the project earlier this month.
The city will kick in to upgrade parking at the facility.
Ansafone requested that the city increase the available parking at the Maslow building from 30 spaces to 70 and create another 140 spaces within three blocks, according to public records. Ansafone also indicated it would not relocate if the city did not approve the deal.
Amsden noted that call-center operators from as far away as California, Arizona, Texas and even Canada have visited Ocala in weighing their relocation options.
"There have been numerous call centers that are realizing that their customers no longer want their service out of India, Malaysia, or anywhere of that nature," he said.
"The most fortunate part is that the two strongest of all of them have chose Ocala-Marion County."
The vote in support of Ansafone occurred about 10 weeks after the city and county jointly approved a package for Sitel, a Canadian-owned company that headquarters its U.S. operations in Nashville.
The expansion will bring 500 jobs to Ocala with an average salary of $20,000 year. Sitel is also utilizing part of the TBW complex.
"Today is another opportunity to take the second building of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker and to breathe life back into it," Amsden said.
The company already had one operation in Ocala, the Answer 2, a call center along Northwest Pine Avenue.
Randy Harmat, Ansafone’s CEO, told the board that the "kindness" and "consistency" he had experienced in dealing with local officials led the company to nix an expansion on the West Coast and shift to Ocala.
"We’re excited to expand here. It’s been a good place for us, and it’s going to continue to be a good place for us," Harmat said.
The County Commission’s decision, however, underscored the dilemma it faces in trying to help create new jobs.
One county grant program that makes money available to expanding businesses had been drained with nearly half the fiscal year left.
To fund the Ansafone initiative the board had to tap a second account set aside solely for infrastructure programs.
Rick Michael, the county’s economic development director, told the board that the move would keep the county from dipping into its savings.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About Ansafone Communications:
Ansafone Contact Centers is a multi-lingual, leading outsourced contact center solution provider for organizations throughout the United States, Canada and worldwide. We specialize in campaigns that require inbound and outbound call platforms and web-based interaction. Our U.S. based company blends superior people development with first rate technology solutions to ensure our clients receive terrific service and results. Through our superior CRM solutions; inbound IVR and ACD applications; and outbound CTI platforms, we provide clients with exceptional answering solutions, stellar outbound telephone marketing, key live-reporting with up-to-the-minute data, and an unbelievable sound to represent your business to your clients. Key inside sales and telemarketing skill-sets focused on up-selling; cross-selling; new customer acquisition; survey and retention; extensive customer care solutions, including traditional answering service; customer support; tier one and tier two help desk services; and social media monitoring and social media marketing support.
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012