Governor John E. Baldacci, right, jokes with Joe Purzycki, left, Barclays Credit Cards’ chief operating officer, during the jobs announcement in the Governor’s Office at the Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Barclays will create 200 jobs. In other Maine call center news: Global Contact opened in Pittsfield, adding 200 jobs, last spring.

Summer 2008

Article by Ramona du Houx

Two hundred and thirty-two years after the American colonies declared independence from England, the British have landed in Franklin County, Maine, eager to do business. One of the oldest banking institutions in the world, Barclays PLC, is coming to Wilton. Barclays UK is a major global financial service provider with over 300 years of experience. They operate in more that 50 countries and employ more than 135,000 people worldwide. News that Barclays is opening a call center in Maine was even posted on CNN’s business website.

“This is phenomenal,” said Wilton’s Rep. Tom Saviello. “Wilton is the center of the universe. This is really neat.”

Barclays established themselves in America four years ago. Their Wilton customer support call center will receive incoming calls from Barclay’s credit card holders.

“For the initial 50 jobs, the average salary would be roughly in the $26,000-plus range, with a full set of benefits,” said Tom Karinshak, Barclaycard’s managing director for customer service at a welcoming announcement held in the governor’s office April 3rd.

Barclays plans, over the next ten years, to employ 200 people at the center.

The call center announcement signals the continued growth in service centers around the state as the word that Maine is a great place for call centers has become known. “Barclays has recognized, as have many others — from athenahealth and Notify MD, to Proctor & Gamble — that Maine is a great state in which to do business,” said Governor Baldacci. “I am pleased that Wilton will be the new home to Barclays’ expansion. We know Barclays has a great reputation and is known as a high-quality employer. We have an exceptional workforce to match their needs.”

“The governor’s Pine Tree Zone designation’s tax benefits, the great workforce, the quality education institution nearby, and the area’s quality of life that will attract a quality workforce are the major reasons we choose Maine,” said Joe Purzycki, chief operating officer at Barclays US. “We’re proud to be the newest member of the Wilton business community and look forward to building deep roots and strong ties throughout the region.”

Karinshak said another major attraction to Maine was the Quality Centers program offered by the Community College System. The program trains employees for new or expanding businesses in Maine at no cost and creates a specific curriculum based on the needs of the business.

“They are actually going to give us customized training services and come to our location in Wilton to help us on whatever it is our new employees need,” said Karinshak. “That’s one of the exciting things coming to the great state of Maine.” New employees will have five weeks of training before they start taking service calls.

“Commissioner Richardson met with us this morning, and his welcome hand of support throughout this process has been great,” said Purzycki. “The state’s customized training program is unique.”

John Richardson, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, said the Quality Centers program was a part of the governor’s initiative to provide businesses with a “one stop shop.”

“The Quality Centers program working with the CareerCenters ensures that skill sets are matched to jobs that become available and that proper training is provided for new jobs,” said Richardson. “Maine is selling itself. The economic incentives the governor put in place are now beginning to see benefits with world-renowned companies choosing Maine. Businesses are recognizing our tremendous, quality, educated workforce, their work ethic — which is second to none — and our innovation. Maine has what companies need.”

The center will be located in the building complex that was formerly G.H. Bass shoes in Wilton’s Nichols Center. Franklin County has begun to see the tide turn economically in their favor, due to the workforce and state incentives.

“The days of losing jobs, with Bass shoe and the tannery closing, are gone. This is just the beginning,” said Wilton’s selectman Paul Gooch.

Barclays chose Maine over 49 other states.

“The addition of a solid, reputable and dynamic company such as Barclays will increase employment opportunities for residents of Franklin County and the surrounding area,” said Baldacci. “We look forward to watching the company grow in Wilton.”

Barclays PLC is engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management, and investment management services. Barclaycard US has more than 60 partnerships with some of the country’s most successful travel, entertainment, retail and financial institutions, including US Airways, Lufthansa, Barnes & Noble, Best Western, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Travelocity, and Carnival Cruise Lines.

“We did a lot of surveys in different communities where we were looking for sustainable employment with a high quality workforce, along with the demographics and quality of life that will keep people here. Maine trumped them all,” said Purzycki.

Job opportunities will be posted on the CareerCenter web site at: http://www.mainecareercenter.com.

In other Maine call center news: Global Contact opened in Pittsfield, adding 200 jobs, last spring.