LACEY - Affiliated Computer Services, a division of Xerox that operates call centers in South Sound, Wednesday unveiled its newest facility. It's a 39,000-square-foot building that one day could employ up to 1,000 call-center agents.
The facility, across from Shipwreck Beads in Hawks Prairie at 8535 Commerce Place N.E., officially opened in December, but on Wednesday, community and business leaders were invited to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Lacey site employs 614 agents, but that is expected to grow to 750 to 1,000, general manager Horace Martin said. That would make it one of the largest employers in the region. The company employs another 800 agents in Federal Way, he said.
“We are in growth mode,” he said, adding that the business is hiring weekly.
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The Lacey ACS site is an in-bound call center for an undisclosed cell phone company, reportedly Verizon. Call center agents field customer-service calls, answering questions, for example, about technical or billing issues. Company officials, citing confidentiality agreements, did not allow employees to comment for this story.
The Lacey site is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and tends to employ workers looking for a flexible schedule, such as college-age students and older workers, said David Afdahl, managing director of communications for ACS. The majority of agents live in Thurston County, but others commute to Lacey from south Pierce and Lewis counties, Martin said.
Employees receive paid training at $9 per hour, spokesman Bill McKee said. Once they begin work, they shift to activity-based compensation, a kind of performance-based measurement. Based on their job performance, call center agents can make about $13 or more per hour, Martin said.
ACS announced in October that it planned to open the Lacey facility, and then that move took on greater urgency after a fire in November destroyed part of its former facility in Tumwater, not far from the Olympia Regional Airport.
The part that burned will be demolished, but the remaining structure will continue to be used for training, said Mike Stann, a regional vice president for ACS.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Tumwater Detective Jen Kolb said Wednesday, although it is thought to have started in a bathroom, possibly triggered by an electric towel dispenser, Tumwater Fire Chief John Carpenter said.
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