Greenwood — With three months of operations under its belt, NORAMEC Corporation is thriving in its new home, a 14,000-square-foot facility retrofitted to accommodate the company’s flagship state-of-the-art call center.
“I chose to locate the call center in Mississippi because the state has many attractive features: a trainable and productive workforce, competitive wages and low real estate costs,” said Alan Wiley, president of NORAMEC, a former IBM executive from Tampa, Fla. “I chose Greenwood because it is a desirable and good place to do business.”
The Greenwood-Leflore County Economic Development Foundation (EDF), headed by Robert Ingram, recruited the Atlanta-based company to the area, partly by pooling resources from several entities.
The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) provided a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant used by the Greenwood-Leflore County Industrial Board to renovate a vacant building to accommodate the specific technical needs for the in-bound/out-bound call center that will eventually employ more than 200 people.
“Our relationship is a great example of how business and government can partner to benefit our people,” said MDA director Leland Speed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a $250,000 match grant to the EDF for the purchase of telecommunications equipment and other essential items that are leased to NORAMEC.
“NORAMEC will contract with both public and private sector entities to provide customer- or client-contact telephone services in a number of different capacities,” said USDA state director Nick Walters. “The Delta has a high unemployment rate, and jobs like these will help address that situation.”
The unemployment rate in Leflore County hovers around 14%, said Walters. “The programs in our Rural Business section of USDA Rural Development can be a catalyst in sparking the entrepreneurship that is needed to bring progress,” he said.
The new NORAMEC Call Center was officially announced last April and opened in January. The company provides custom, contract, back-office services such as revenue enhancement, billing and collections and customer care services to hospitals, medical centers, tourism agencies, retail customer service operations and others.
“NORAMEC is slowly but surely building its employee and customer list,” said Ingram.
Wiley said NORAMEC’s business model involves assisting clients in managing customer contact, “whether to help them identify potential customers through customer prospecting or to handle post-sales customer contact through customer care solutions. Our technology provides us with a competitive advantage to assist clients in managing their customer relationships.”
Wiley selected the name NORAMEC to reflect North American Economy, and to show how a U.S.-based call center services company can be a model for competing in the global economy.
“So much call center activity has been outsourced to offshore companies, and by locating in Greenwood, we’re making a statement that it’s not necessary to leave the U.S. to run a successful operation like ours,” he said.
Southern Business & Development magazine recently recognized Greenwood as number two on its list of “Ten Really Cool Small Southern Markets,” and Site Selection magazine’s March issue recognized the area for the second consecutive year as one of the “Top 100 Micropolitan Areas” in the U.S. for significant new job announcements.
Ingram, who hinted about “upcoming … unbelievable national recognition” to be announced possibly in May, said NORAMEC’s success in Greenwood signals another step toward the EDF’s pursuit of additional categories of business. “Too often, we think of the Delta communities as being competitive only with each other, but this recognition proves that a Mississippi Delta community can compete with anyone, anywhere for the creation of new jobs.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at firstname.lastname@example.org.