IRON RIVER - Global Response North in Iron River has seen steady growth in accounts and employees since its opening nearly six years ago.
It all started when Jim Cederna, an Iron River native and former CEO, contacted Herman Shooster, the founder of the Margate, Fla.-based company Global Response, about locating a division of his company in Iron River.
Global Response provides outsourced call center services to a wide variety of clients.
Global Response North employee Doreen Peterson, left, reviews account information as supervisor Christina Powell looks on. Thirty-six full-time employees and an additional 31 part-time and on-call employees handle the accounts at the call center in Iron River.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photos
"Mr. Cederna was eager to help the town grow, and made a convincing case to Mr. Shooster," said Caren Berg, senior vice president of boardroom communications for Global Response. "Shooster visited Iron River and was very impressed with the people and the potential."
Shooster then agreed to locate a Global Response division, known as Global Response North, in Iron River.
Global Response North Managing Supervisor Sandra Maki added that the Global Response headquarters in Florida was eager to have a division in Michigan to act as a backup call center in case of hurricanes.
When Global Response North opened in September 2006, it only had one account - the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Campground Reservation System.
According to Maki, it was a good fit. Global Response North had the advantage of actually being in Michigan, so employees were more knowledgeable about the subject, she said.
Global Response North still handles the DNR account, but it has added others, including World TV, Ecco Shoes, Public Communications Services, and a major health care provider.
Thirty-six full-time employees and an additional 31 part-time and on-call employees handle the accounts.
During the holiday season, which runs from about mid-November to right before Christmas, Global Response North becomes busier with temporary holiday accounts and takes on extra employees.
Maki explained that most employees work on one account, but there are some who are cross-trained in multiple accounts. Training typically takes about two to five days. However, the employees who work on the health care provider's account must go through six weeks of training.
"It's very intensive, since they basically have to learn how health insurance works," said Maki.
Depending on the account, employees might spend their days answering calls about campground and harbor reservations, billing, technical issues and troubleshooting, or any other type of customer service work.
Maki looks forward to more growth in the future.
"It's great to offer jobs to the local community," she said. "We're always looking for more accounts, especially year-round accounts, that could mean more jobs for Iron River."
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is email@example.com.