December 12, 2002

Ellen Qualls
(804) 786-2211, x2379

Paul Miller
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Verizon Invests In Wise County
-Governor Warner announces more than 60 new jobs in Southwest Virginia-

RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that Verizon will create 61 new jobs in Wise County. Through a $3.3 million investment, the company will open a Verizon Welcome Center in Wise County’s Lonesome Pine Technology Center. The customer service facility will be the anchor tenant in the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park, Southwest Virginia’s first regional technology park. Virginia successfully competed with New Jersey and West Virginia for the investment.

“Verizon’s decision to locate this customer service center in Southwest Virginia is great news for the Commonwealth,” said Governor Warner. “Verizon will benefit from the abundance of qualified employees in Southwest Virginia.”

Verizon Communications is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

The new Verizon Welcome Center will occupy an existing single-story building in the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park. Verizon will lease 9,600 square feet, or nearly one-third of the building’s floor space. Employees at the Wise facility will verify credit information and addresses of new customers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Verizon already has similar centers in Charleston, WV, and Ewing, N.J.

“Southwest Virginia boasts a large pool of educated and highly motivated workers,” said Robert Woltz, President of Verizon Virginia. “We have had great success with other offices we have opened in this part of Virginia, and we have every reason to believe we’ll enjoy the same success here. I’m pleased that the first voice many of our new customers will hear be that of a Southwest Virginian.”

“I am very pleased that Verizon has accepted our invitation to locate a new customer contact center in the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park,” said Congressman Rick Boucher. “The company has been most cooperative during the 2 years since I suggested the creation of the new center to Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon's CEO. Governor Warner, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, the Wise County Industrial Development Authority and the Virginia Tobacco Commission have provided outstanding assistance throughout this project, and I commend the efforts of the state and local economic development personnel who assisted.”

Governor Warner approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Wise County with the project. The county also obtained $100,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds to assist with the expansion. U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher was instrumental in securing this project for Virginia. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Wise County assisted Verizon with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.


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