Seattle-based call center company Sound Telecom plans to expand its Spokane offices and potentially double its workforce here this year, says Brian Gabriel, its chief operating officer, who also is relocating here from the Seattle headquarters.
The expansion and executive’s move are part of Sound Telecom’s growing interest in the Spokane market, Gabriel says. The office, which opened here in 1996, currently fluctuates between 60 and 70 employees, and Gabriel says the company is looking to hire as many as 60 additional workers this year.
“We’re really invested in the local community here,” he says. “The goal is to build jobs.”
Sound Telecom owns the 20,000-square-foot building at 1802 N. Monroe that houses its existing information-technology and call center, but it isn’t using all the space in the building. Gabriel says the company will move forward with expansion into a suite next door to the one it currently occupies, and that space could accommodate another 30 to 60 people.
Another expansion, slated for next year, will put another call center on the second level and possibly enable the company to add another 60 jobs, he says.
Gabriel says Sound Telecom also is looking to expand its bilingual workforce in the future, and already has begun hiring more bilingual workers. Gabriel says that the company sees Spokane as a good place to find more bilingual workers, which is another reason it’s growing its operations here.
“Spokane is a market that I think just has a lot of untapped potential,” he says. “There’s a highly educated workforce here.”
Gabriel says the company has grown steadily in employment each year, a trend it is looking to continue with its two expansion projects.
More reasons for the company’s increased interest in the Spokane area are the stability of the power supply, and that the city is what Gabriel calls a “weatherized area,” meaning that even in inclement weather, people are still able to travel to and from work.
Sound Telecom is a 24/7 call center support company and business process outsourcer, Gabriel says. Its employees handle inbound calls, e-mails, voicemail, and pager services. Sound Telecom sells its services to clients such as Boeing Co., Nordstrom Inc., The American Red Cross, and Starbucks Corp.
Sound Telecom’s offices in Seattle are located at 6363 7th Ave. South in the Sodo District. It employs about 10 to 14 people there, for a total of about 70 to 80 at the two locations. The company was founded in Seattle in 1986 by Michael LaBaw to provide business support and telephone answering services to businesses.
Gabriel, who has been with Sound Telecom for 12 of its 28 years, says he currently is spending four days a week at the company’s offices here and weekends at the corporate headquarters in Seattle. He will be fully relocated by Jan. 20, he says.
As COO, Gabriel is in charge of the day-to-day operations at Sound Telecom, he says, including employee staffing, scheduling, and performance. He also is in charge of ensuring the company’s information-technology infrastructure, which also is located in the Spokane facility, is operating properly. Lastly, he also personally sells Sound Telecom’s services to clients, something he says is unique to his position.
“I do everything from basic voicemail customers to large-volume customers,” he says. “A lot of COOs don’t do sales. From an operations perspective, I can see how to design for what a client wants. In a lot of companies, the sales guys just sell it and then pitch it over the fence.”
Gabriel says he and Sound Telecom reached the decision for him to relocate for a few significant reasons. The first, he says, is that everything he manages, with the exception of some sales work, is in Spokane. It’ll be easier to manage the day-to-day operations if he’s in the office here, he says.
Secondly, Gabriel says he already was traveling to the Spokane office frequently. Also, he says, the company used to have a director for the Spokane office, but having him here instead eliminates the need for that position.
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