By James Mayse and Steve Vied (Messenger-Inquirer)
Alorica Inc., which plans to create more than 800 jobs in Owensboro, has call centers across the United States and in 16 countries.
Economic development officials in other U.S. cities with Alorica facilities had positive things to say about the company Tuesday and called the company a steady employer that is generally involved in their communities.
Alorica officials are scheduled to announce detailed plans for the Owensboro facility at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the Owensboro Convention Center.
Alorica operates call centers, providing services to other companies on contract. The company’s website describes the company as providing call center services for automobile makers, utility companies, banks, insurance and technology companies and health care, among others.
“They have been providing work, depending on the contract level, of several hundred jobs at a time,” said Frank Gadek, executive vice president for the Sherman, Texas, Economic Development Corp. “They’re a good employer.”
Gadek said the company operated under the names West Asset Management and West before becoming Alorica. The company has operated as Alorica in Sherman for about 10 years.
“It’s a stable workforce, but they’ve gradually increased the number (of employees) over the years, as the work has expanded,” Gadek said.
“They have been able to keep a large number of employees on an ongoing basis,” Gadek said. “… My guess is, over time, they will increase (workers) in Owensboro.”
“They’ve always been very good community partners,” said Janet Reed, executive director of the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce in Durant, Oklahoma.
The company’s Durant facility offers flexible scheduling, which is a positive because it provides jobs for students from the area colleges, she said.
“They seem to want to grow and take care of their employees,” Reed said. “I think they fit the community very well.”
Durant has a workforce able to work different schedules, she said.
“We do have adequate workers for that kind of swing shift,” Reed said. “I do think they have weekend (shifts) as well, which lets someone pick up a second job.”
David Haynes, president of the Terre Haute (Indiana) Chamber of Commerce, said Alorica representatives are active in the chamber and community.
“I would say they are a good corporate citizen, and they’ve involved themselves in the local community to an extent,” Haynes said. “Owensboro should be very happy they are investing in the city.
“For the most part, they’ve been pretty well-established here as a reliable employer in the area,” Haynes said.
Alorica’s Terre Haute facility employees about 320 workers.
“The fact they are establishing themselves in Owensboro, and that the numbers are as high as 800 (jobs) would suggest they service they provide is very popular, and they deliver. That’s what keeps you in business.”
The Owensboro plan calls for Alorica to create 830 jobs in the BB&T building at 230 Frederica St. The building will have to be renovated first, and it’s anticipated it won’t be ready before mid-2017.
Alorica bills itself as “one of the biggest companies you’ve never heard of” when looking for employees.
Alorica employees field customer service calls on behalf of more than 600 companies across 10 main industries, the company said. The names of those companies are confidential, however, according to Ken Muche, Alorica’s director of global public relations, who said on Tuesday that he plans to be at Wednesday’s press conference at the Owensboro Convention Center to officially announce the Owensboro location.
Muche declined to answer a series of questions put to him on Tuesday about the company but promised to answer them Wednesday.
A lot of information about Alorica is available, however, including what it pays various employees, although those pay rates may not apply to the Owensboro location.
According to the Indeed.com job finding site, based on employee surveys, the following Alorica job titles and the pay amounts are: Customer service representative, $9.78 to $10.37 an hour; technical support representative, $10.50 an hour; customer care specialist, $9.97 an hour; sales consultant, $11.96 an hour; sales representative $9.42 an hour; inbound sales representative, $11.06 an hour; sales professional, $12.09 an hour; sales agent, $10.05 an hour; bilingual call center representative, $14 an hour; trainer, $14.37 an hour; team manager, $28,179 a year; team leader, $26,750 a year; supervisor, $31,689 a year; manager, $27,630 a year and business consultant, $27,796 a year.
On Tuesday on Indeed.com, Alorica was seeking 419 employees at various locations.
Alorica says employees can choose from several positions — “Customer service, tech support, management — serving a wide variety of clients in health care, insurance, finance and consumer technology.”
The company says employees can choose to work at a site, work from home, stay where they are or transfer to a new location.
Some Alorica positions require only a high school diploma or equivalent, while others requires more education. A trainer position, for instance, requires a college degree in an educational field and two or three years of training experience in a call center environment. A desktop support associate installs, configures, troubleshoots, monitors and maintains customers’ desktop software and hardware, and the job requires an associate’s degree or certificate in the field, along with IT experience.
Some Alorica jobs sound challenging. For instance, a recovery associate performs customer service and resolutions via phone, managing a list of recovery accounts using an automated dialer. Outbound calls consist if contacting people with past due medical bills with the goal of setting up payment arrangements or collecting the full amount owed. The pay is $11.75 an hour, plus $2 an hour for work after 5 p.m.
The number of employees at the Owensboro location may grow, if other locations are an indication. In May, the Tulsa World reported that the Alorica center there started with 250 employees, had grown to more than 1,200 and was looking to add another 350 at its customer service center, with openings in customer care, sales and bilingual support positions.