Week of September 2, 2002
LOOKING FOR A PREVIOUS STORY? CHECK THE ARCHIVE.
Assurant Group's 800-Job Expansion
Under Way in West Ohio
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio Insurance-industry player Assurant Group has begun making good on a very big promise: adding almost 800 jobs in Springfield, Ohio.
The newly enlarged center is already handling more work for its high-profile corporate clientele, which includes Cendant, Firstar, M&T Mortgage, National City, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and World Savings Bank. The Springfield complex currently provides insurance tracking and escrow disbursement services for a portfolio of some 6.8 million residential mortgages, company officials reported. The operation annually processes more than 12 million pieces of mail, handles some 480,000 telephone calls and makes more than $3 billion in insurance premium payments from borrower escrow accounts.
Now, with the new complex fully in place, the Springfield center will further expand its considerable business reach, Camacho said.
"The completion of this new facility, with its state-of-art technology, enables us to move forward with plans to take on more clients, increase the portfolio of mortgages that we service here and offer more technology-based products and services," he explained.
1,200 Jobs Still Projected; 'We DeliverWith the opening of its new campus, Assurant has added 170 new employees at its processing center. That brings total employment to 600 at the Springfield operation, which sits some 81 miles (130.4 kilometers) northeast of Cincinnati.
On Our Promises,' President Says
The center, however, has a ways to go to reach 1,200 employees. That 1,200 figure represents the total number of employees that the company projected "within two to three years" of its announcement of the Springfield expansion, which went public almost exactly a year ago.
But the other 600 projected jobs, Camacho indicated, are still on tap for the Ohio city of some 66,000 residents.
"We've started to make good on that pledge by creating more than 170 new jobs over the past 12 months," he said. "We value our ability to execute with urgency and act with integrity. We back up our words with actions, and we deliver on our promises."
From 1995's Five Employees toThe company's robust local track record would certainly seem to augur well for delivering growth. American Security Group, Assurant's corporate predecessor, set up its Springfield center in 1995 with only five employees. Since that time, Assurant has grown so fast that it now ranks as the city's largest private-sector employer.
City's Largest Private-Sector Employer
Assurant also has a large and potent parent behind it. The company is part of international financial services provider Fortis, No. 26 on the Fortune Global 500 and No. 33 on the Forbes World Super 50. Assurant has signed on for the long term at its new Ohio site. The company has inked a 15-year lease, with an option to renew, with Springfield Group LLC, which developed and owns the new campus.
Company officials expressed appreciation for the expansion assistance provided by the state and local officials (including Gov. Bob Taft) who gathered at the new facility's dedication. Assurant received some $1.7 million in state and local grants and incentives to support the move to its larger operation. Michael Lawson, manager of Assurant's Springfield center, singled out Springfield City Manager Matt Kridler and city Economic Development Administrator Tom Franzen for special thanks.
"It was their support, aid and guidance that ensured that Springfield, Ohio, was the only choice for our new campus," Lawson said.
Assurant, which has dual headquarters in Atlanta and Miami, has 5,500 employees in its worldwide work force. In addition to the USA, the company has operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.
In addition to its Springfield operation, Assurant has other U.S. hazard insurance processing centers in Duluth, Ga.; Florence, S.C.; and Orange, Calif.
BOLOGNA, Italy and POMPTON PLAINS, N.J. "Born to Be Wild," that grind-it-out biker anthem immortalized by 1960s' rockers Steppenwolf, has become "Born to Be Based in California" - at least for the North American arm of Ducati Motor Holding.
California's Chopper Cluster Helped Drive MoveCalifornia's clout in the U.S. bike business was also a major draw, Ducati officials said. The Golden State's chopper cluster includes a number of headquarters operations, among them the world headquarters for Indian Motorcycle and the U.S. headquarters for Kawasaki Motorcycle. The state's high profile in the biker universe will reposition Ducati's North American base in a labor pool rich in specialized skills, company officials said. The Silicon Valley location, they added, will also facilitate closer contact between the company and industry leaders, as well as closer proximity to major tracks for brand-building events and dealer training.
The move to California comes amid Ducati's efforts to revamp its North American operations, explained Carlo Di Biagio, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding.
"The relocation is part of a program aimed at reorganizing operations in North America," Di Biagio said. "Ducati is currently streamlining its U.S.-based business by outsourcing the management of spare parts and the distribution of motorcycles, based on the proven success of the company's business model."
Ducati Motor Holding employs some 950 employees worldwide. Last year, the company's total revenues of $363.5 million marked a 6 percent increase over its 2000 tally. Texas Pacific Group and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Capital Italy own more than 30 percent of Ducati.
Will More Than Double Paper
Converter's Total Work Force
Few are the firms that ever double total employment with a single new facility.
Such is the case, though, with Morcon. The small New York-based paper converter is rapidly creating its largest employee cluster in the Palmetto State. The family-owned company has just announced that it will open a 100-employee paper conversion center in Great Falls, a city of some 2,200 residents in South Carolina's north-central region. The Great Falls facility will convert bulk paper into products that are used in a wide range of industries.
New Operation Will Focus on U.S. SoutheastFounded in 1987, the company has concentrated its paper-conversion business on the U.S. East Coast market, providing products made from converted bulk paper for the retail, food-service, institutional, janitorial, sanitation and health-care markets. Located near I-77, the new operation in South Carolina is designed to capitalize on the U.S. Southeast market, a major growth engine for Morcon, explained Wayne Morris, the company's CEO and president.
"The Great Falls facility, which will service our food-service, janitorial and sanitation markets in the Southeast, has amazing growth potential for Morcon and the community of Great Falls," Morris said. "We look forward to expanding our paper converting operation in the town of Great Falls."
"South Carolina's economic well-being depends on good, quality companies like Morcon selecting our state to create jobs and invest capital," Gov. Jim Hodges said in welcoming the company's announcement. "It doesn't hurt," Hodges added, "that Morcon also uses recyclable materials that will preserve our state's natural resources."
Morcon recorded total revenues of more than $12 million last year, according to company officials.
PLEASE VISIT OUR SPONSOR CLICK ABOVE
©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.