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Telemarketing company sets up shop in Longview, plans 200 more hires

By Richard Yeakley
June 8, 2013 at 10 p.m.

A Houston-based communications company has acquired a Longview call center and is planning to hire as many as 200 new employees as it expands the business.

S4 Communications said this past week that it would open the former iPacesetters call center at 2835 E. Cotton St. by the end of June. The company already has begun hiring staffers to add to the center, which now employs about 70 people.

S4 said it provides telemarketing services for Fortune 100 clients. The Longview center will service one of the top utility providers in the U.S., said company spokeswoman Jessica Sommer.

The Longview center will be S4's third and its first as it begins expanding outside its home base of Houston.

"East Texas offers not only an educated workforce but also a well-developed workforce," Sean Collins, S4 president, said in a prepared statement. "We are excited to be in Longview and look forward to many years of prosperity and growth in this area."

Sommer said a variety of factors played into the decision to move into Longview.

"They (S4) had an existing client relationship with some clients that were serviced by iPacesetters in the past," she said. "Also, the technology deployment was already completed."

Hiring began Monday to start filling the 200-station facility, Sommer said. There are opening for telephone representatives, account managers, sales managers and trainers on morning, afternoon and evening shifts.

Because employment packages will vary based on position and experience, Sommer declined to discuss pay, hours or benefits. Once fully deployed, said said the center would offer as many as 300 positions to area residents.

Susan Mazarakes-Gill, executive director of the Longview Economic Development Corp., said Friday that iPacesetters, which operated a call center that had been in decline, did not release information about the sale.

But she said the LEDCO board was likely to authorize a grant to promote S4's growth, which secured the existing 70 jobs and apparently will lead to new employment in Longview.

"It is hard to save a company," Mazarakes-Gill said. "Retention is hard for people to wrap their heads around, but this is a classic example. Seventy jobs were saved, bottom line."

Founded in 2008, S4 Communications is a minority-certified company that opened at the peak of the financial crisis. It operates two call centers in Houston.

The company said it hit $2.9 million in revenue during its first year and has grown to more than $15 million in 2012. Expansion made possible by acquisition of the Longview facility, it said, would allow for growth to continue in 2013.

In addition to inbound and outbound telemarketing for existing clients, the company said it would offer back-office processing services for electricity and telephone connection orders.



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