HUNTSVILLE, AL — Verizon Wireless, the leading wireless company with the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, will officially dedicate its state-of-the-art call center and state headquarters today in Huntsville. The $44-million facility is expected to bring 1,300 jobs to the local economy.
Community leaders, company executives and employees, and government officials will attend the grand opening event this morning, which will include a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to mark the official opening of the new building and the company's expanded presence in Huntsville. The 152,000-square-foot call center is located at Thornton Research Park and is currently staffed with more than 500 employees.
"Verizon Wireless' focus is providing customers with the best, most reliable nationwide wireless network and customer service in the industry," said Jeremiah Knight, director of customer service for the Huntsville Call Center. "This new center will help us to deliver on that promise as we continue to achieve rapid customer growth and focus on providing the best possible experience for existing customers and the new ones we plan to add this year nationwide."
A Great Place to WorkThe next class of more than 100 new hires will join the company in November. Jobs housed in the facility include: customer service representatives and supervisors, tech support, government customer service teams, and corporate sales employees. The company continues to hire, and those interested in career opportunities should apply online at www.verizonwireless.com/careers.
The company is consistently ranked as one of the best places to work in the country because of its employee-friendly policies. The company was named one of Working Mother magazine's "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" for the seventh consecutive year and has been named by Health magazine as one of 10 U.S. employers to best help women balance their professional and personal responsibilities.
For the sixth consecutive year, Verizon Wireless was named to Training magazine's list of "Top 125 Training Organizations in America." Recognized for its training and development programs, Verizon Wireless was one of the highest ranked wireless companies on the list, placing No. 4 this year, up from No. 6 last year.
"This announcement is a tremendous boost to our state on both the job and capital investment fronts, from a solid company that's already very well-established here in Alabama," said Alabama Governor Bob Riley. "Anytime a company like Verizon Wireless expands a major part of its operations into yet another corner of your state with over a thousand new jobs the impact on the local economy, as well as the community is going to be significant. We're grateful for Verizon Wireless' presence here in Alabama and are looking forward to building on that relationship as we welcome this new call center to our great state."
Employees working at the center have completed a comprehensive four-to-six week training program to prepare them to serve customers. Each employee is expected to participate in an additional six-to-eight hours of training every month as part of the company's commitment to give its employees the latest tools to provide Verizon Wireless customers with exceptional customer service.
"Verizon Wireless and Alabama are a great match," said City of Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer. "Verizon Wireless' new, state-of-the-art call center and state headquarters will stand as a symbol of excellence and success in the Huntsville area for many years to come."
"The Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County and the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations' Huntsville Career Center have been instrumental in helping us grow our Huntsville team," said Connie Howell, manager, human resources field operations, Verizon Wireless Huntsville Call Center. "We believe in recruiting, retaining and training the best employees, providing career opportunities and developing leaders. We appreciate the City of Huntsville's support to help us continue to spread the word about the positions available at our center."
Verizon Wireless has a strong presence in Alabama, with more than 1,000 employees. The company operates 20 Communications Stores and seven Circuit City "store within a store" locations. Once the center is fully staffed, the company anticipates being ranked among the top 10 largest private employers in the Huntsville region.
Verizon Wireless has invested more than $40 billion in its wireless network since it was formed - more than $5 billion on average every year - to increase coverage and capacity and to offer customers the most reliable service available in the nation. The company invested over $100 million in its Alabama network in 2006, and has deployed over 50 new cell sites throughout the state during the first half of 2007.
"Our congratulations and heartfelt thanks go out to Verizon Wireless on the opening of their call center in Huntsville," said Evans Quinlivan, board chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County. "This world class facility brings 1,300 top flight industry leading telecommunications career opportunities to 1,300 of our friends and neighbors. To have a company like Verizon Wireless make this type of investment is a testament to the quality of our community."
Donation to Mark Grand Opening To celebrate the grand opening of the center, the company will donate $50,000 to Crisis Services of North Alabama. The donation will fund Crisis Services' HOPE Place Children's Counseling Program, which helps children of domestic violence survivors in northeast Alabama, and delivers essential services such as counseling, support group facilitation, and play therapy.
"Verizon Wireless' donation will enable us to continue to offer the HOPE Place Children's Counseling Program, and help interrupt the cycle of violence in families by helping children affected by domestic violence understand that they are not to blame, and by teaching them how to keep themselves safe when violence occurs in their homes," said Janet Gabel, executive director of Crisis Services of North Alabama. "Nearly 140 children have participated in the program so far this year. Thanks to Verizon Wireless' donation, we expect to serve 200 next year."
Verizon Wireless' HopeLine® program is the company's national community relations focus and supports domestic violence awareness and prevention. As a part of that program the company collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores nationwide. Phones are either refurbished and sold for reuse or recycled in an environmentally-friendly way. Proceeds are used to provide wireless phones, airtime and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness. Since 2001, the company has collected over four million wireless phones, and given more than $4 million in cash grants and nearly 40,000 phones with airtime to domestic violence prevention organizations.
A Growing, Thriving BusinessVerizon Wireless is a growing, thriving business with five new state-of-the-art customer service centers built within the last three years including new locations in Albuquerque, N.M.; Hanover, Md.; Charleston, S.C.; Wilmington, N.C.; and Chandler, Ariz.. Collectively, these centers employ over 6,300 employees. Additionally, customer service center expansions in Columbia, S.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Southfield, Mich.; and Dublin, Ohio; collectively increased the employee base by more than 700 employees.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 62.1 million customers. The largest U.S. wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 67,000 employees nationwide. The company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.####