News : Road America Closing Call Center in Columbus; Full-time Jobs Lost
Columbus, GA, USA, Feb 2, 2016 -- Nearly a decade after arriving in Columbus and opening a 24-hour response center for travelers, Road America is preparing to pull out of Columbus, with about 200 full-time employees losing their jobs.
Miami, Fla.-based Road America said Tuesday it plans to move all of the local operations from the 25,000-square-foot call center at 1838 Victory Drive to its headquarters in Florida "as part of a necessary cost containment and restructuring plan."
The company, which fielded its first call in Columbus on May 15, 2006, said it is assisting workers with career counseling and is encouraging them to consider other jobs within Road America.
"While we believe this is the right business decision to support the plans for strengthening the leadership position of Road America in the market, we also appreciate the impact it will have on our employees," the firm said in a statement.
Brian Sillitto, senior vice president of economic development at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, said the organization had been talking with Road America for several months, hoping to not only keep the company here, but expand its presence.
"We just learned about their decision this morning," said Sillitto, explaining Road America informed the chamber the closure had nothing to do with the city or how they’ve been treated. "The reality is they’ve had — over the past 10 years that they’ve been in Columbus — they’ve gone through acquisitions and different business consolidations. Unfortunately for Columbus, we’re not in their plans moving forward."
Sillitto said the call center property is not owned by Road America. The owner is Columbus Economic Development Corp., a real-estate holding entity under the Development Authority of Columbus.
"We’re going to double our efforts and try to attract another company that needs a call center environment," he said of the facility overlooking the Chattahoochee River and across Victory Drive from the Interstate Brands snack-food plant.
While Road America on Tuesday said about 200 employees are impacted by the closure, Sillitto said the chamber understands the company had been using nearly 50 part-time workers as well.
The Georgia Department of Labor’s Columbus Career Center is involved in assisting the displaced workers, which will probably take place over the next 90 days, Sillitto said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, February 3, 2016