Technology-automation company Unisys announced Monday it will bring 700 customer-service jobs to Augusta.
Gov. Nathan Deal said during the announcement that the idle Fort Discovery on Reynolds Street will be the location, and Mayor Deke Copenhaver also acknowledged that, but Unisys officials later said that the site hasn’t been made final yet.
Company executives decided to make the announcement in Atlanta while they were in town for other meetings. It coincided with Site Selectionmagazine’s announcement that it was naming Georgia the No. 1 state in the country for business opportunity – the second consecutive year.
Deal beamed during the Capitol news conference but told reporters the timing wasn’t aimed to help his re-election bid Tuesday but rather because of the magazine’s tradition of announcing its winner on the first Monday in November.
“It’s a great way to start the week with this announcement of being No. 1 for the second year in a row from Site Selection, and also for our state – and especially for the Augusta area – to have a company like Unisys saying they’re going to provide 700 new jobs to that part of our state,” he said, adding that 2,700 jobs have been announced by various employers in the past two weeks.
Quincy Allen, Unisys’ chief marketing and strategy officer, said the company picked Augusta after a seven-month search of more than 100 sites.
“Why did we choose the state of Georgia and the city of Augusta? The answer is simple,” he said. “The city is the home of a smart and motivated workforce as well as state and local leaders who are eager to jobs for their constituents.”
Since the Army is one of the company’s largest clients, being near Fort Gordon was a factor in Augusta’s favor. The company hopes to attract some soldiers retiring from the giant military-communications installation to work in the 60,000-square-foot, customer-assistance call center.
Another news conference in Augusta on Thursday will provide details about hiring dates, pay rates and qualifications. Allen said they are looking for people with associate’s degrees or comparable experience.
Copenhaver reminded the assembled press corps that Augusta had been named the nation’s No. 2 city for technology-job creation.
“These are the jobs every city in the nation is going for, and we’re winning them,” he said.
He also said customer-service jobs amount to only 7 percent of the local employment, pointing to recent manufacturers’ announcements of jobs, such as Starbucks, Rockwood Pigments and DSM. Every economic sector is growing, he said.