BREWER – Integra Direct, an operator of direct response call centers, has opened a new facility in the city’s East-West Industrial Park.
“Our business needed to expand in order to meet demand for our services and Brewer had the skilled people we needed,” said Vincent Wank, founder and president of Integra Direct. “I have all the confidence in the world that we will do well here.”
Though Integra Direct’s Brewer operation started with a core group of 20 employees, Wank said Tuesday that he plans to hire another 20 to 30 workers over the next month. He said he hopes to build up to 100 to 120 employees within the next six to nine months. The company’s work force will consist of a mix of full-time and part-time employees, he said.
The call center, termed a direct response center, will only answer calls from consumers interested in its products and on behalf of its client companies. There will be no traditional telemarketing done at its offices at 17 Doughty Drive.
Despite problems experienced by other area call centers in recent years, including the public trials of Envisionet in Orono, Wank believes he has hit on a way to position his company to weather peaks and valleys in the regional and national economy.
“We have a diversified mix of revenue sources, including our own products, as well as service work for other call centers,” Wank said. “This provides us much greater stability [than our competitors], and allows us to offer long-term careers for those who wish to grow with our company.”
In addition to taking incoming calls for other centers, Integra Direct is marketing its own line of products. The first product, an all-natural weight loss product called Therm FX, was unveiled this week in TV Guide. Wank plans to sell it and other herbal and natural health products via advertisements in a combination of large national and smaller regional daily newspapers, as well as radio spots.
Wank believes that the uncertainty in the call center industry may actually help Integra Direct’s operations. “The fact that Envisionet and others are located in this area will allow us to draw employees from an already experienced work force. We can provide them with the stability they’re looking for, which will give us a competitive advantage,” he said.
According to Wank, the jobs his company will create in Brewer are high value jobs for the region.
“The potential is almost limitless,” he said. Salaries are commission-based; however, the average call center employee at Integra Direct can expect to earn between $8 and $20 an hour, with opportunities to earn more for highly motivated workers.
Integra Direct also offers health insurance and a 401k plan, Wank said. Full training will be provided to those who are hired.
City officials see Integra Direct’s decision to locate here as another success to add to its list.
“I am very pleased that Integra Direct decided to make Brewer its home,” said Mayor Michael Celli. “It is yet another demonstration that our telecommunications infrastructure, labor force and pro-business attitude is paying off for the people of Brewer and Eastern Maine.”
For information about available positions, call Integra Direct at 989-0476.