Verizon Wireless to Add 750 to Local Staff, Selects Cranberry Woods Site for New Call Center

Verizon Wireless to Add 750 to Local Staff, Selects Cranberry Woods Site for New Call Center

July 31, 2001




Verizon Wireless today announced it will add 480 positions to its regional staff by early 2002 and nearly 300 additional jobs over the next few years. The company also said it signed a 10-year lease for a building in Cranberry Woods as the location for its new call center. Some of the new jobs will be in customer service at the new call center and others in a newly created Midwest Area telesales department, which will move into the current Pennsylvania regional headquarters in Thorn Hill Industrial Park this fall.

"This is an exciting and dramatic step in our growth in western Pennsylvania," said Roger Tang, Verizon Wireless president, Ohio/Pennsylvania Region. "Verizon Wireless has given our Region, our local employees and the talented workforce in Butler and Allegheny counties a strong vote of confidence by choosing to expand call center operations here and to establish the new Midwest Area telesales department in western Pennsylvania."

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge's Action Team --economic-development professionals who report directly to Gov. Ridge -- worked with Verizon Wireless to make this project a reality. Gov. Ridge has agreed to provide a $2 million financial package -- through an Opportunity Grant, Job Creation Tax Credits and a Customized Job Training grant -- to support the Verizon Wireless project.

"Pennsylvania's business climate and talented workforce again encourages a major employer to select our state as the best place to grow," said Gov. Ridge. "I am delighted to welcome Verizon Wireless' new call center to Pennsylvania, and applaud the company's commitment to the region's economy and its workers."

Plans call for approximately 200 customer service employees to move from the company's current Regional Headquarters in Thorn Hill Industrial Park into the Cranberry Woods Call Center in early October. An additional 150 call center employees are scheduled to be added in December and another 150 in January 2002.

"The existing Customer Service department in western Pennsylvania has always been a leader within the company for its tremendous service levels," said Tony Heyman, vice president, Customer Service, Verizon Wireless, Midwest Area. "The expansion of the call center here is a testament to the workforce in the area, and we look forward to adding nearly 300 additional positions in the next few years."

Tang said once space is freed up in the current building they will begin staffing the new telesales department, which will 180 positions locally by year-end. This new telemarketing operation will serve Verizon Wireless' entire Midwest Area.

The new Call Center, at 700 Cranberry Woods in Cranberry Township, is just three miles from the current regional headquarters. Proximity to the existing operation and convenient access to the region's major highways were factors in selecting this location, Tang said.

In addition to customer service in the call center, the four-floor, 107,000-square- foot building will also house an employee cafeteria, a fitness center, some human resource staff and training facilities, as well as IT support staff for the call center operations. Although about 500 employees will move into the building over the first few months, the new location has a total occupancy of 800.
"We've left room to grow," said Tang.

Trammel Crow Company is the developer of Cranberry Woods. Architect Felix Fukui is designing the interior of the building. Grubb & Ellis acted as the leasing agent for Verizon Wireless.

Verizon Wireless currently has more than 900 employees in the Pennsylvania Region, which covers the entire state excluding the Philadelphia-Allentown area, which is part of a separate region. About 600 employees are in western Pennsylvania. The new staff will increase the Region's employment level to nearly 1400 by next year and more than 1600 within three years.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.