ALERT: Stream plans to hang up its Vermillion call center

A major employer in Vermillion will be closing its call center in October.

Stream Global Services announced Thursday that it will be shutting down its facility here, which employs over 150 people, near the end of October.

According to a statement released by Joe Thornton, Stream's senior director of brand management in Bloomington, MN, "The company is realigning resources across some of our U.S.-based facilities to better support our client needs and long-term business objectives. The affected client workload will be absorbed within our U.S. operations."

Those U.S. operations include a call center in Sergeant Bluff, IA.

"Certain positions may be open or soon become available in Stream's Sergeant Bluff, IA facility," Thornton said. "We are encouraging any employee interested in these jobs to consider applying for them following the conclusion of their responsibilities at the Vermillion facility."

Stream's Vermillion service center provides inbound customer care, sales and retention sales services, and data entry for a number of leading brands. The center has a history of working with telecommunications and broadband services providers

Thornton said Stream recognizes that this action affects people's livelihoods, so affected employees who stay with the company through the closure will be provided severance packages and access to a variety of outplacement services. 

Stream's service center in Vermillion is located in a 20,000 square foot building at the intersection of Cherry Street and Highway 50 on the city's western edge.

The company's Sergeant Bluff, IA facility is much larger – 148,000 square feet – and can accommodate approximately 1,200 workers.

In early 2011, Stream laid off 250 people at Sergeant Bluff after losing a major client. Approximately a month later, however, the company was looking to hire 500 people in Sergeant Bluff after it added additional gaming platform services for one of their existing consumer electronics clients to the site.

Stream is also pursuing plans to make a major investment in Minnesota, in the Twins Cities area. MorrisAnderson, a financial consulting company with offices in Chicago, reported that Stream is seeking up to $2 million in funds from the state of Minnesota related to its plans to move its headquarters from Wellesley, MA, to Eagan, MN.

The money would pay for renovations, machinery and equipment at the nearly 45,000-square-foot Northwood Business Park Phase I in Eagan, according to documents related to an Eagan Economic Development Authority meeting scheduled for Aug. 6.

Stream Global Services officials would like to start renovations by September, according to a letter Vincent Mottola, a Stream Global Services vice president, sent Eagan's community development director Jon Hohenstein in late July.

The building would house 40 to 50 headquarters jobs, and 300 to 350 call center jobs, Mottola said in the letter. Stream Global Services is also considering a second call center that would bring another 300 to 400 jobs to Eagan. The second call center would cost up to $2 million.

It also appears Stream plans to expand its Sergeant Bluff facility while winding down operations in Vermillion.

KTIV television reported Aug. 9 that Stream held a job fair in hopes of hiring 350 new employees for its Iowa facility.

In the 1990s, Stream Global Services was one over 100 select companies of Bain Capital Ventures, a private, alternative asset management firm founded in 1984 by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and two other partners, T. Coleman Andrews III, and Eric Kriss.

According to Thornton, Stream has not been a part of the Bain Capital group for several years. "I don't have the date handy when Bain's interest in the company ended, but we have not been part of that group for a long time," he said.

Stream Global Services, which has 33,000 employees working out of 49 locations in 21 countries, lost $23.6 million and had $846.9 million in revenue in the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2011, down from a loss of $53.5 million off $800.2 million in revenue in 2010.

Stream Global Services CEO Kathryn Marinello, who lives in Apple Valley, MN, has been improving the company's financial performance through investments in infrastructure and people, according to MorrisAnderson.

The company in 2011 invested $20 million in capital expenditures and spent $5 million more on agent incentives. The company went private earlier this year.

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