New call center to bring 153 jobs to Brunswick County
A Bedford County-based company will start a new customer service center in Brunswick County, which will bring up to 153 jobs to Lawrenceville, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.
Based in Bedford’s Forest area, Echo World Communications LLC offers insurance products through several carriers and handles service requests for Medicare.
Echo World filed documents with the State Corporation Commission as a new business entity in July. Its CEO is Carl Townsend, who was CEO of InService Marketing Group, formerly known as InService America. The new company appears to be a continuation of Townsend’s former business, which established customer service centers in seven states and counted clients including the U.S. Army, the National Football League, United Healthcare, Aetna Health Care and Paramount Studios, according to the governor’s office.
Echo World will receive funds from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) and expects to invest $550,000 in the new center in Lawrenceville, the governor’s office said.
Echo World Communications expects to create mostly full-time jobs, both hourly and salaried, with an average pay between $13 and $15 an hour, said Michael Dotti, director of Brunswick County’s Industrial Development Authority. “That’s a life-changer.”
Currently, Dotti said, many people in Brunswick commute long distances to work, and the new customer service center will give some residents an opportunity to work closer to home. He didn’t know the timeline for hiring and referred the question to Townsend, who didn’t return a message Thursday.
The call center will be in the former Bank of America building on Main Street, Dotti said. The building is currently unoccupied but has been well-maintained, he added, and won’t take much work to adapt for the new call center.
Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative has already wired the location with fiber cables to provide broadband access, Dotti said, part of a project to expand internet access throughout Southern Virginia with funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
Echo World Communications is eligible to receive VJIP funding of $600 per job created, for a total of up to $91,800. The company may request reimbursements after employees have worked for a period of at least 90 days, said Suzanne Clark, VEDP’s communications director.