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Nixon, IBM executive talk jobs at ceremony

Columbia service center should employ 400 by the end of the year
Friday, May 20, 2011 | 6:21 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — By the end of 2011, IBM will be more than halfway toward realizing its goal of 800 new jobs at the corporation’s Columbia service center, an IBM executive said during a ribbon cutting Friday.

Tim Shaughnessy, senior vice president for services delivery at IBM, said the goal is for IBM to create 800 jobs at the facility by the end of next year, and that future growth is a possibility.

“We said when we came here a year ago we thought that there was an opportunity to build 800 jobs here by the end of 2012," Shaughnessy said. "We still think that’s the objective. We’ll be more than halfway there by the end of this calendar year, and then we’ll look at growth beyond that. ... We’ll look for Columbia to grow as appropriate beyond that."

Speakers at the ceremony included Gov. Jay Nixon, Mayor Bob McDavid,  and Regional Economic Development Inc. Chairman Dave Griggs. Regional Economic Development Inc. partnered with the city, the Columbia Area Jobs Foundation and IBM to bring the corporation to Columbia.

Nixon emphasized a continued commitment to remain “absolutely focused” on job creation.

REDI President J. Mike Brooks reiterated the goal of 800 jobs by the end of 2012. But Brooks said the current number of jobs at the facility is not public information.

Shaughnessy said the new facility manages information technology infrastructure for clients.

"We’ll manage their IT security, we’ll monitor their systems performance, we’ll make sure that the storage devices are working properly, we’ll do the maintenance for clients all over the world,” Shaughnessy said.

Shaughnessy further explained that current and future jobs at the IBM center revolve around information technology.

“Those jobs will include systems management, systems monitoring, storage monitoring, IT security and … project management, and those are the kind of jobs that we have here today already,” Shaughnessy said.

Shaughnessy said the people working at the facility now are mostly local.

“Our expectation is that most of these positions will be filled locally," he said. "We brought in a couple leaders from elsewhere in the country with IBM experience, but that’s far and away the minority."

Shaughnessy did not provide a specific average wage for employees.

“They’ll be market based," he said. "We’re gonna pay attractive wages, they’ll be very competitive, they’ll be above the average wage in Missouri, and they’ll be relevant and competitive for the regional market."

McDavid said IBM has to meet certain hiring targets by the end of next year because of incentives the state provided to bring it here. State and local tax breaks and other incentives totaled more than $31 million, according to a previous Missourian article.

“I believe the number is 600 jobs are an absolute minimum to qualify for the substantial state incentives," McDavid said. "So they are being held to a standard. I’m sure the state will monitor.”

“It’s huge for Columbia to have this many jobs,” said state Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia. "It’s the type of jobs we like to have in Columbia. These are the good pay, high-tech, knowledge based jobs that one seeks for a university community."


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