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Call center to add 500 jobs

Date: 1/17/2012

Jan. 18, 2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — Within the next nine months, 500 new jobs will be added to the city’s economy and downtown will get an additional boost.

Mayor Domenic Sarno and Mario Touchia, vice president of United States operations for Thing5 made the announcement on Jan. 12 that the Springfield-based company has leased a floor in One Financial Plaza at 1350 Main St. where the firm will add 500 new positions.

Thing5 started in 2004 in the business incubator program at Springfield Technical Community College Technology Park, Sarno said. The company provides call center support for the hospitality industry.

Touchia said the company would maintain its present offices at the Basketball Hall of Fame and its accounting offices in Longmeadow. The firm is working with United Personnel in recruiting the new employees and hiring has begun. Fifty people have been hired already, he said.

The jobs range in pay from $10 to $14 an hour, Touchia added.

Sarno credited Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin and Partner, in making Thing5’s decision to expand to the downtown location a reality.

Plotkin said there were challenges and he thanked the Springfield Parking Authority for offering a discounted rate to the employees as a factor that helped Thing5 to make the move.

“Really the whole city came together to make this happen,” Plotkin said.

He added he has been on a “crusade” to recruit businesses to the downtown from suburban markets. He said people see working downtown as “a better experience than in isolated office parks.”

Plotkin sees Thing5’s expansion as another step in re-establishing downtown Springfield as a place where people can live and then walk to work. His company is currently working on downtown housing, specifically a renovation and re-branding of the Morgan Square apartment complex on Main Street.

“I think the future looks great for downtown Springfield,” he said.

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