The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 27, 2012

Last call: StarTek winds down its Enid operation, considers closing

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Last call for the Enid StarTek center will be Friday, but company will not immediately close the building, even though most employees will be without jobs.

“We are going to take a last call, March 30, Friday, but we probably will keep staff past that point,” said Rosemary Hanratty, company spokeswoman.

Some administrative staff, including center director David Whyburn, will remain at the office until a determination is made about closing the facility. Hanratty called the move a “wrap down, not a closure.”

“We’re doing a lot of new business for the site, and we are still hopeful we can bring new work to Enid,” Hanratty said.

StarTek announced in January the inbound call center would close if no new client is found. At that time, the company employed 213 people in the Enid location. The downtown call center opened in 2000.

In January, StarTek said the Enid center was the only company facility affected. StarTek has 9,000 employees in 14 locations in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Costa Rica and Honduras. Company headquarters is in Denver. StarTek offers a variety of services to clients, including customer service, technical support, inbound sales and back office support. Not all of the centers do the same type of work, Hanratty said.

Last October, Hanratty said some business had shifted away from the Enid center. StarTek has not been hiring in Enid for more than a year.

StarTek owns the former Sears Roebuck building at 116 E. Randolph.

As part of an incentive package to attract and keep the call center in Enid, the city of Enid paid StarTek from economic development funds approved in a vote of residents, said Becky Hodgen, public information officer for the city.

The most recent payment was about $281,000 made in 2009. StarTek received payments in set amounts as it met criteria tied to employment and payroll outlined in the contract with the city. There is about $700,000 left in the account.

The company’s annual local payroll at the end of 2009 was $9.4 million.