Fast-growing Birch Communications, whose roots run deep in Macon, plans to “in-source” 50 jobs from the Philippines -- including about 25 to its center here -- once it completes the purchase of a Florida company, officials announced Wednesday.
Birch, now based in Atlanta, began in Macon, where it still maintains its largest operations center with 250 employees. That number will grow by about two dozen once the purchase of Cordia Communications in Orlando, Fla. is finalized later this year, said Vincent Oddo, Birch president and CEO.
The “upside opportunity” in moving the jobs back to the United States was a deciding factor in making the deal, Oddo told a gathering at the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce.
“Sometimes outsourcing can be an attractive opportunity from a financial perspective, but often times can lead to lower quality of service. In this particular case, that’s what happened. We’re very happy to bring the jobs back, to do the right thing, but also we’ll be elevating the level of service these customers have been offered in the past.”
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The Macon jobs will include customer service, operations and technical positions. Pay ranges from $11 to $20 an hour, depending on the position, Oddo said. Some of the jobs already are listed on the company’s website. www.birch.com.
The acquisition is Birch’s 12th in the past five years. Oddo also announced Wednesday that the company again made the latest “Inc. 500/5000,” a list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies. It’s the fourth year the company has made the magazine’s list.
Birch services include local and long distance calling, broadband Internet, mobile voice and data, e-mail and other communication and information technology services. Since its startup in 1996, the company has grown from 100 customers in nine states to 100,000 customers in 38 states, Oddo said.
Mike Dyer, board chairman of the Macon Economic Development Commission, recalled Birch’s “humble beginnings” in Macon as Access Integrated Networks, “a handful of entrepreneurs working out of their homes.”
“This company is a champion of our community as well as a champion of its industry,” said Dyer.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert noted that advances in technology allow companies -- especially those, such as Birch, in telecommunications -- to do business anywhere in the world.
He touted the community’s “human element,” such as loyalty, work ethic and dedication, as key to keeping or luring companies here.
“Those are the kinds of things that we pride ourselves on here in Macon and Middle Georgia,” the mayor said.
To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.