FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2001

Lila White
www.thedigitaldominion.com
(804) 692-3110


Chris Kowalczyk
AFFINA Corporation
(309) 679-4146
Jill Lawrence
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
AFFINA To Create 450 New Jobs In Suffolk
-Governor Gilmore announces location of customer contact center for 1-800 MEDICARE -


Richmond - Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that AFFINA has selected Bridgeway Commerce Park in Suffolk as the site for its new 40,000-square-foot customer contact center. Through an investment of $5 million, this center will support the expansion of 1-800-MEDICARE. The AFFINA contact center will employ up to 450 individuals. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina for this investment.
"I am proud that Virginia's quality workforce was a major factor in AFFINA's decision to locate in Suffolk," said Governor Gilmore. "I am confident in the company's ability to attract, retain and develop a strong employee base in the Hampton Roads area."

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the City of Suffolk assisted AFFINA with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.

"We are extremely pleased that the AFFINA Corporation, has found a home in the City of Suffolk," said Suffolk Mayor Curtis Milteer. "The 450 office jobs they are creating will diversify the employment opportunities for our citizens and strengthen our tax base."

AFFINA partners with Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies to provide comprehensive customer relationship management programs integrating call center, Internet, database marketing, market research, customized technology solutions, closed-loop lead management and fulfillment services. The 28-year-old company employs more than 2,000 people in five states as well as Canada, and serves clients in the consumer electronics and office automation, consumer products and services, packaged goods, government, healthcare, transportation and power, and telecommunications industries.

AFFINA manages inbound service and support plus literature fulfillment to Medicare recipients and other interested parties who call 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), the information hotline for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), formerly the Heath Care Financing Administration (HCFA).

The expansion of 1-800 MEDICARE is in response to a recent announcement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson that CMS will launch a national $35 million public information campaign. The media campaign and agency reorganization, initiated by the Bush administration, is aimed at helping Medicare participants and health care providers who serve them navigate complex rules to obtain quicker responses. Additionally, in support of HHS initiatives, CMS will enhance 1-800 MEDICARE by expanding the hours of operation to 24 hours per day seven days per week and adding an advanced level of customer service representative support to help Medicare beneficiaries better understand all of the health plan options available to them.

AFFINA President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Drook said the Suffolk site was chosen after an extensive nationwide search. "Our decision was based on a number of factors, including availability and cost of labor, community appeal, voice and data infrastructure, and the overall growth potential of the area," Drook said. "We have been very pleased with initial recruiting activities and are very excited about our future in the Suffolk community."

"AFFINA is bringing quality jobs to Virginia by locating its customer contact center in Suffolk," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. "Citizens across the United States will benefit from the services AFFINA will provide from the Commonwealth."



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