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Yankee Fan

Priceline.com coming to town

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Columbus, GA-$11 million incentive

Wyoming, MI- $5.2 million incentive

Close, but no cigar.

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Columbus, GA-$11 million incentive

Wyoming, MI- $5.2 million incentive

Close, but no cigar.

Yes, but can Columbus offer seven-month winters like we can?

Edge: Wyoming.

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Columbus, GA-$11 million incentive

Wyoming, MI- $5.2 million incentive

Close, but no cigar.

My guess is they are basing the decision on other factors than just tax credits. Otherwise, they would have axed Wyoming already and not been negotiating a 7 year lease on an existing facility in Wyoming. Could be the availability of workforce. GR - Wyoming is 3 - 4 times larger than Columbus, GA and there are how many college students/grads in GR?

Plus, I assume they'll hire locally for most positions, so weather is not that much of a factor.

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We don't have very pronounced accents like they do in Georgia. They may actually consider that when selecting a site.

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We don't have very pronounced accents like they do in Georgia. They may actually consider that when selecting a site.

Ha, I was just going to add that. :) The biggest complaints from customers in the "call center" industry is trying to relate to foreign accents, and companies are moving away from outsourcing help desk and customer service centers overseas. I think I just read it in the WSJ a few months ago or something. Our Great Lakes dialect is pretty run-of-the-mill understandable to most Americans.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles...alls_come_home/

Columbus, GA is RIGHT on the Alabama border, in a predominantly poverty-stricken area thick with Southern accents (if you know anyone in the Army who trained at Ft. Benning, ask them).

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BTW: According to the Priceline representative, the company now only employs 300 people worldwide. This would more than double their staffing.

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BTW: According to the Priceline representative, the company now only employs 300 people worldwide. This would more than double their staffing.

is the call center work currently outsourced?

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So this is what was mentioned in the paper a month ago. That would be cool if our region ended up winning this.

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Didn't the Right Place recently say there were "several" call centers looking at Grand Rapids? This would be a great catch. Pick us Priceline! :)

Joe

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is the call center work currently outsourced?

The articles don't say. This was a quote from the Priceline rep in one of the articles:

Ek was unwilling to confirm any specific number of new jobs. The company presently has approximately 300 employees, he said.

Until a location decision is announced, he would not say which cities or how many are competing for the call center.

"Over the past several years we have been continually expanding our customer service operations, and especially since Priceline has evolved from primarily a U.S. service to a global online travel company," Ek said.

Take a look back at the Boston Globe article I referenced, and you might get an idea of what industry the second call center might come from. Or maybe Convergys. I hear it's going to just as big of an announcement.

The interesting thing is, that there is nothing mentioned about Priceline in the local Columbus, GA news....

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Didn't the Right Place recently say there were "several" call centers looking at Grand Rapids? This would be a great catch. Pick us Priceline! :)

Joe

Call centers would be a good start...if we got some actual corporate tech jobs, I could move back to GR!

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is the call center work currently outsourced?

Yeah, William Shatner currently takes all the calls but he's getting to old to handle them all.

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Yeah, William Shatner currently takes all the calls but he's getting to old to handle them all.

No. You. Cannot...... Have. That. Room.. For... That ... Price...

(that's my attempt at a Shatner impression, typed)

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pretty good actually. I like it.

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No. You. Cannot...... Have. That. Room.. For... That ... Price...

(that's my attempt at a Shatner impression, typed)

:lol: I totally get a mental image in my head oh him talking like that while making really quick and random body movements.

...and on a serious note. It sounds like we have a pretty fair shot at getting this here. It was already said we have the language advantage because we have what someone from another country would probably call and American accent and that means people from around the US are more likely to prefer a Michigan voice on the phone. Also, even though Georgia has $11-million in incentives the article says that arrangement is "informal" that makes it sound like it's not a sure thing that they can actually offer that much.

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From today's Great Lakes IT Report (produced by WWJ in Detroit):

High Tech Jobs Among 3,900 Announced By MEDC

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and other state officials Tuesday announced that the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will help nine companies grow across the state, creating and retaining 3,900 jobs and resulting in a $179 million investment in the state.

In addition, the MEDC and Michigan State Housing Development Authority are backing two redevelopment projects in Detroit and Muskegon.

The tech projects announced included the following:

Priceline.com Inc. -- Based on the MEDC

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^^^^

This is great news that Priceline is possibly going to bring jobs to West Michigan.

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Jobs are Jobs are Jobs, perhaps not super defined as high tech. Still better than not having them. Call center jobs are still better moving forward transitioning out of manufacturing.

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^^^^

This is great news that Priceline is possibly going to bring jobs to West Michigan.

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There's still going to be an IT "high-tech" presence there, the 300 call center people would need upwards of 10-20 IT staff, and a few dozen managerial positions as well.

High tech jobs don't always mean engineers and programmers. Most phone systems today (especially call center phone systems) require quite a bit of knowledge to work with them properly.

Since IT staffing is what I do, I would have to disagree with the numbers above. Most of this can (and I would have to believe will) be done remotely from their headquarters. At most, they made need a team of 3-5 desktop support folks (which will still only pay 15-20/hour) and that is about it. There is no way that a call center operation of this size would require 10-20 IT staff to support it.

Still, any growth is good and even 3-5 new IT positions would be a welcome change.

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Since IT staffing is what I do, I would have to disagree with the numbers above. Most of this can (and I would have to believe will) be done remotely from their headquarters. At most, they made need a team of 3-5 desktop support folks (which will still only pay 15-20/hour) and that is about it. There is no way that a call center operation of this size would require 10-20 IT staff to support it.

Still, any growth is good and even 3-5 new IT positions would be a welcome change.

Plus, 400 people, who would normally be working on a manufacturing floor using menial repetitive skills, will be working in a well-lit, comfortable, and somewhat challenging environment.

This...

2590650120_3a1c87a81e.jpg

2590651192_9de0e561c5.jpg

As opposed to this...

interior.jpg

(which is becoming more and more automated every day)

And using computer and problem solving skills that might help them transition to supervisory, quality assurance, marketing and managerial positions.

This is nothing but good news, both on the employment front and the exposure front. Wouldn't this be the first big corporate expansion here....ever? (an international company with no ties to the area now?)

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They'll be decent jobs, but not "high tech." I, too, find it humorous that anytime a ".com" is involved the jobs are labeled high tech.

Hopefully Priceline would look to Workstage to retrofit the building for the call center environment. They seem to have a lot of new build out call center experience and it would show committment to the community to tap a local firm like Workstage.

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They'll be decent jobs, but not "high tech." I, too, find it humorous that anytime a ".com" is involved the jobs are labeled high tech.

Hopefully Priceline would look to Workstage to retrofit the building for the call center environment. They seem to have a lot of new build out call center experience and it would show committment to the community to tap a local firm like Workstage.

Interesting. I too immediately thought of Workstage when this was announced. I'm sure Priceline has a certain "brand" for their workplace that they would want to capture (life-sized cardboard cutouts of Shatner).

But the whole thing about touting "high-tech" jobs is kind of humorous. And just think, other states use it just as much, if not more, than we do (remember that when you read about a new "high-tech" facility opening in Nashville, etc.)

Here's Priceline's current HQ in Norwalk, CT:

April172002PricelineBuilding.jpg

A little better than Dunder-Mifflin.

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Since IT staffing is what I do, I would have to disagree with the numbers above. Most of this can (and I would have to believe will) be done remotely from their headquarters. At most, they made need a team of 3-5 desktop support folks (which will still only pay 15-20/hour) and that is about it. There is no way that a call center operation of this size would require 10-20 IT staff to support it.

Still, any growth is good and even 3-5 new IT positions would be a welcome change.

3-5 might even be high.

Our ratio for desktop support folks is 250 PCs per support tech.

With 300 PCs, I'd probably hire 2 folks.

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