New Call Center To Bring 450 Jobs To Potter County Seat

By Alissa Eaton
Williamsport Sun-Gazette


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July 19, 2007

COUDERSPORT — Rocked by the downfall and bankruptcy of Adelphia in 2002 and then stunned earlier this year when Time Warner closed its customer call center here, the borough finally got some good news Tuesday.

Empereon Marketing, in a joint announcement with Gov. Ed Rendell, said that more than 400 jobs will be created over the next three years as a result of its decision to open its first call center in the state in the Potter County seat.

The center is expected to be operational this fall and will provide outbound telemarket services, followed by inbound, customer service and technical assistance services.

The company is leasing the former Adelphia and Time Warner 30,000-square-foot call center building from the Potter County Redevelopment Authority. Eventually, Empereon will buy the building.

“The people and the spirit of the Coudersport community embody all of the assets that make Empereon a leading nationwide teleservice provider,” said Travis Bowley, chief executive officer of Empereon.

“It’s a great match, and I’m looking forward to this new Empereon facility contributing to the growth of this wonderful community and to our company’s success,” John W. Wright, executive director of the Potter County Redevelopment Authority, said.

‘‘We’re trying to be as practical as possible. We’re devastated by loss of jobs. ‘While great news, we have a ways to go. We understand this is just the beginning of growing back,’’ Wright added.

The redevelopment authority worked with Empereon and the Governor’s Action team to secure a $1 million funding offer from the Department of Community and Economic Development, including a $450,000 Opportunity Grant, a loan of up to $350,000 through the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund and $200,000 in Customized Job Training funds, according to a press release.

As part of Empereon’s $1.1 million project, the company will purchase some new equipment. The building the call center will be located in does not need much reconstruction.

“Some modifications need to be done, but nothing major,” Wright said.

Parking is the biggest issue that the new company will face, according to Wright. “Some of the money they received in their $1 million funding package will go to the authority for increased parking for the new facility.”

The development will help the area following Time Warner’s elimination of nearly 500 jobs in February.

Time Warner and Comcast bought cable giant Adelphia for $17.6 billion in 2005. Not long after, Adelphia founder John Rigas was sentenced to 15 years in prison and his son, Timothy, to 20 years in prison following their convictions on fraud and conspiracy charges.

When Time Warner closed its call center, it “gifted” the equipment in the building to the authority which eventually will sell it to Empereon.

“Once the Empereon owns the facility, we will sell the equipment to them, probably below market value,” Wright said.

“Empereon’s decision to locate its new call center in the commonwealth is a great example of how our economic development investments are improving the state’s economy,” Rendell said. This approach is generating real results, as more and more companies are choosing to invest in Pennsylvania.”

Empereon Marketing LLC is based in Phoenix, Ariz. It also operates call centers in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

Empereon’s Coudersport facility will provide telemarketing, customer and technical assistance services.


— The Associated Press contributed to this story

http://www.sungazette.com/news/articles.asp?articleID=20481

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