Business

Nextel to bring 500 jobs to E.Bremerton

"Nextel Communications will bring a 500-job call center to the corner of McWilliams Road and State Route 303, the Kitsap Regional Economic Development Council announced Monday.The 60,000-square-foot facility, tentatively scheduled to open Aug. 1, will be located on a 7.2-acre site between Wal-Mart and Safeway on SR303. The announcement culminates two years of behind-the-scenes work by the KREDC to land a call center, including 10 months specifically targeting Nextel.The call center industry has emerged during the past five years as a vehicle for corporations to provide technical support, administrative services and customer relations to their clients. Nextel's Kitsap facility will be an inbound call center - employees will be responsible for processing incoming calls from the Pacific Northwest and northern California. Entry-level wages at the Nextel's Kitsap site are expected to range from $9.50 to $10 an hour, with more experienced people drawing higher wages. Nextel Communications, Inc., based in Reston, Va., is the leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications services and has built the largest all-digital wireless network in the United States, covering thousands of communities. Officials cited Kitsap's tech-savy workforce as a prime reason for selecting the East Bremerton-area site.We knew two years ago that growth would require support of another customer call center, so we conducted a labor study in search of the most optimal labor force in the U.S., Al Shotwell, Nextel's vice president of real estate, said in a press release. After visiting hundreds of sites, Bremerton and Temple, Tx. rose to the top.Nextel will build its Kitsap County facility on land owned by longtime Kitsap developer Paul Pazooki. The Alter Group, a Chicago-based development company, will develop the site and the new facility.The Economic Development Council has pursued several major call centers in the past two years. It has come close in two prior attempts before losing out to other, more competitive communities or extenuating circumstances such as a company's sudden merger or acquisition.KREDC officials said more than 50 local people provided research and technical assistance to Nextel during the past 10 months. Nextel is the type of primary employer that can provide employment opportunities for many people in Kitsap County, who heretofore have not had such opportunities, County Commissioner Chris Endresen, a member of the KREDC board, said in a press release. It's also the type of company that will help put Kitsap County on the map in boardrooms across corporate America as a quality place to do business.For more information about Nextel, visit www.nextel.com. "

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