8:08am

Fri January 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Watertown Stream call center's parent company selling to rival

The Stream Global Services call center in Watertown will change hands when its parent company is bought by a rival, according to Reuters. It’s not clear what effect that might have on the 700 employees who work there.

Don Alexander heads the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. He says Stream’s significance to the area’s economy can’t be overstated and the company has been a good employer.

“They’ve created jobs which would not otherwise be here," Alexander said. "They have provided education wherein people can start in a lesser capacity and work their way forward by taking classes and courses, many of them offered by Stream themselves. It’s just been a good relationship in the community.”

He adds that Stream has been critical to the area’s economy for the 10 years they’ve been in Watertown, and that the IDA has been working with the company's expansion of their facility, which is one of many revitalization projects in the city's downtown.

“If you consider the Stream upgrade with the Woolworth upgrade, the upgrades going on in the Lincoln building and several others downtown, it suggests a rebirth of the core city," Alexander said. "So we would certainly think, if for no other reason, think that the Stream impact would be significant on all of this.”

The facility's expansion plans are continuing and could bring an added 300 jobs once it's complete.

Alexander says the IDA has no indication that Stream’s potential new owner, Convergys Corp., would move operations out of Watertown, but his organization wants to do everything possible to keep them in the city.

Stream Global Services has its headquarters in Minnesota and employs more than 39,000 people at dozens of call centers in 22 countries, according to its website. Reuters reports that Stream's clients include Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Dell, and Nike.

The customer services company Convergys said it would buy Stream for $820 million, to diversify and scale up its operations, Reuters reports. Convergys’s clients include DirecTV, Macy’s, and Cisco, according to the company’s website.

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