PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) - A New York company that provides remote health-monitoring services is planning to expand in Rhode Island by opening a call center that will employ 250 people over the next two years, WPRI.com has learned.
American Medical Alert Corp., plans to open a call center in a building at 100 Freight St. in Pawtucket that was left vacant last year when Bank of New York Mellon Corp.
moved operations to Massachusetts, Christine Hunsinger, a spokeswoman for Gov. Lincoln Chafee, confirmed in response to an inquiry.
AMAC has pledged to employ 250 people at the Pawtucket location over the next two years, "and then more to come," Hunsinger told WPRI.com. A spokesman for the company didn't respond to a message sent after business hours Friday.
The General Assembly will be asked to approve legislation to make 100 Freight St. eligible for
enterprise-zone tax credits to help attract AMAC, a division of Tunstall Group Ltd., according to a draft bill obtained by WPRI.com. The company will also receive work force development incentives.
Hunsinger said the AMAC relocation is the result of discussions the company had with Governor Chafee and his staff, officials from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, and Pawtucket elected leaders.
"The governor's very supportive of companies wanting to grow jobs here in Rhode Island," she said. "He's been instrumental in getting this to happen. In a month where all parts of the unemployment picture went in the right direction, this is good news on top of good news."
Hunsinger dismissed the idea that Chafee is following the same approach he criticized his predecessor Don Carcieri for using when the former governor wooed Curt Schilling's 38 Studios to Rhode Island with a $75 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan. She said the amount of money involved is far smaller, though she couldn't provide a specific estimate.
"It's an established company versus a startup," Hunsinger said. "It's in a field that is obviously growing: it's in the health care industry. It's something that Rhode Island has established a base for. ... The homework was done here, as opposed to other situations where it may not have been."
"This is the kind of business that Rhode Island wants to have here and wants to invest in," she said. "The governor's always said that the investments that Rhode Island makes in businesses have to be those smart, targeted kinds of investments, where there's a proven track record of success, so I think you see that in this company - you actually see the governor's style."
AMAC's Telephone-Based Communication Solutions (TBCS) division already has a call center on Pettaconsett Avenue in Cranston that employs about 20 people with its MD OnCall service. The Cranston operations will be moved to the new Pawtucket location, Hunsinger confirmed, though she emphasized the EDC and the company could speak to specifics.
The Cranston facility "serves as the call center for the [Health Safety and Monitoring Services] Direct to Consumer sales activity and telephone answering services provided by the MD OnCall subsidiary and services the company’s Rhode Island TBCS customer base," AMAC said in a regulatory filing last year. The company also has call centers in other locations including Springfield, Mass., and Newington, Conn.
British-based Tunstall acquired AMAC last year for roughly $82.3 million. AMAC had 610 employees as of March 2011, according to an SEC filing, and its annual revenue rose from $30.8 million in 2006 to $40.8 million in 2010. Parent company Tunstall employed 1,900 people worldwide and had yearly sales of $300 million as of last December.