The news in Conway | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The news in Conway

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Hewlett-Packard will open a service and support center there. The Conway Corp. will build the building and lease it to H-P, which also announced a similar center in New Mexico. This growth comes as the company is reorganizing and downsizing some other facets of its operation.

From John Williams, who was there: No specifics on the nature of the jobs, but Gov. Mike Beebe said many will pay $40,000 a year to start and perhaps more. Employees will need to be "IT literate" and have other skills.

"It represents the kind of investment in human capital that we strive for," Beebe said.

Beebe provided $10 million from the governor's quick action fund, which is now just about depleted. He said he'd ask for more in 2009. That money will pay for infrastructure for the new $28 million, 150,000-square-foot building, on 12 acres.

Three other cities in Arkansas were in the running for the site, along with maybe two dozen other cities nationwide in a competition that began in February. What made the difference? No specifics immediately forthcoming.

Jobs could begin sometime in 2009. It will take four years to get up to 1,200.

A huge crowd appeared for a general announcement and provided several standing ovations. This was followed by a smaller press gathering at which more details were offered.

Jobseekers should contact the Conway Chamber of Commerce, not H-P.

UPDATE: Roby Brock at Talk Business had a long interview with the governor about the process that led up to the announcement. The prediction in the article is that these jobs will lure people from out of state. It's certainly less expensive in Conway than Silicon Valley.

We have a brief clip from the announcement in our video slot on the home page.

ADEC NEWS RELEASE

HP to Locate Service and Support Center in Conway

1,200 Jobs in IT Industry

CONWAY, Arkansas (June 19, 2008) – HP, one of the world’s largest IT companies, today announced plans to locate a state-of-the-art customer service and technical support center in Conway. The center will employ as many as 1,200 people in highly skilled technical positions.

A simultaneous announcement was held in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, for a second center.

“HP is delighted to be creating these new centers in cooperation with the communities in Conway and Rio Rancho,” said Jon Flaxman, HP executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “With these new facilities we expect to improve processes and achieve efficiencies that will help us continue to improve the total experience for our growing number of customers.”

The center will provide sales, service and technical support for the company’s broad range of customers.

The Conway Development Corporation will construct a $28 million, 150,000 square foot building and lease it back to HP. The facility will be located in The Meadows, the Corporation’s 181 acre office and technology park in southern Conway.

“HP conducted a nationwide search and chose Conway as one of the locations based on multiple factors, including the quality of the workforce, business environment, standard of living and government cooperation,” said Gary Fazzino, HP vice president, government affairs.

Governor Mike Beebe said HP fits perfectly into the state’s target industries.

“This historic announcement for Conway and Central Arkansas demonstrates the new direction of Arkansas’s 21st-century economy,” Beebe said. “This is both a significant investment in our state providing high-quality, well-paying jobs and marking the beginning of a partnership between Arkansas and one of the global leaders in Information Technology.”

 “Conway has been shaping itself, transforming, directly preparing for this day for years,” said Conway Mayor Tab Townsell. “To have those efforts recognized and appreciated by a company like Hewlett-Packard is incredible. Today’s announcement is that work realized.”

 

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