EDC Chair Doug Cone introduced Don Berryman, President of the Americas for Sitel Worldwide Corporation, to members of the Marion County Board of County Commissioners and Ocala City Council yesterday. The EDC has been working with the international business process outsourcing company to locate a call center expansion in Ocala. The inbound center will create 500 customer service positions over the next three years. While Sitel has been exploring Ocala as a new location since last summer, executives cited new client activity as the catalyst for the quick response needed to finalize the deal.
“Our board of directors felt like we had enough client pipeline activity to make the move on a new location,” said Berryman. “Our clients look very carefully at the location that will service their operations.” Berryman discussed Ocala’s similar demographics with other communities where they have had successful operations. Presenting the advantages for the community, he pointed out that Sitel is a great company to build a career, not just land a job. “I began with this company as a call center representative.”
City Councilman John McLeod stated that core corporate value is one reason for putting his support behind the project. He joined an Ocala contingency last week to visit Sitel at their corporate headquarters in Nashville. “I was very impressed with everyone we met there,” said McLeod. “One thing I noticed is top executives had all started at the bottom. They promote from within. I see this as a great opportunity for our citizens.”
Earlier in the day, County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve an investment package of $1.25 million. City Council approved their $1.25 million package with a 4-1 vote. Both approvals are contingent upon favorable legal review and recommendation from the Financial Review Committee.
Sitel has chosen a building in downtown Ocala on Magnolia Avenue as the site for the operation. The building is known to many as the former document processing facility for Taylor, Bean & Whitaker. Commission Chair Mike Amsden voiced the choice of building by Sitel as another advantage of the project.
“We’ve got a building there that’s been empty for years,” said Amsden. “I see this project breathing fresh air back into our community that is desperately needed right now.”
Quarterly payments will be made by the City and County to the company, not to exceed $125,000 per year for the next ten years. If the company does not meet established hiring goals, payments will not be received. Sitel will make a capital investment of $2.5 million in machinery and equipment and $200,000 in building renovation. In addition to the quarterly payments, the City will also design and construct additional parking adjacent to the Magnolia location. To learn more about Sitel, visit http://www.sitel.com.
Other companies interested in expansion and/or job creation, should visit www.ocalaedc.org, or call 352-291-4415.