Southwestern Bell to Hire More Than 1,500 Local Employees at New $26 million Customer Response Center

St. Louis, Missouri, October 16, 1997

Southwestern Bell will open a state-of-the-art, $26 million Customer Response Center here, which will employ more than 1,500 area residents over the next two years, it was announced today by Priscilla Hill-Ardoin, president, Southwestern Bell-Missouri.

"These new jobs will strengthen our operations throughout our service territory," Hill-Ardoin said. "More than 900 new full-time employees - about one-third of them managers and senior consultants - and at least 600 part-time workers will be hired beginning in January. They will handle in-bound and out-bound customer calls to further enhance our company's marketing services in this new age of competition."

The management jobs will average $45,000 a year, plus benefits. Hourly employees' wages will range from $7 to $16 per hour, plus benefits. Non-management employees will be represented by the Communications Workers of America, which represents more than 40,000 of Southwestern Bell's nearly 60,000 employees throughout Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Texas.

Hill-Ardoin, who is based in St. Louis, said the new center will be located in the old Kisko Manufacturing building, 9315 Olive Boulevard, just west of Interstate 170. The new jobs will be in addition to Southwestern Bell's existing operations here.

"This $26.8 million renovation and hiring of 1,500 new employees from throughout the area reflects our long-standing commitment to St. Louis and the State of Missouri, where we employ more than 13,000 people," said Hill-Ardoin. "While $8.6 million will be for new computers, software, furniture and other things, we will spend $18.2 million to renovate the building and upgrade the telecommunications technology serving the facility."

"This is a welcome announcement that will favorably impact our region's economic development," said Richard Fleming, president and chief executive officer of the St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association. "The RCGA and our partners in the state and region have been working with leaders at Southwestern Bell on this new facility for the past several months. Additionally, to be considered is the importance of a major company's involvement in renovating a long-time closed industrial facility for new commercial use. It's a win-win for Southwestern Bell, the entire region and the State of Missouri."

Hill-Ardoin said the renovation of the 128,000 square-foot building includes the installation of new telecommunications systems and other equipment. Southwestern Bell also plans to expand the existing parking lot to accommodate more than 800 vehicles. Construction should be completed by April, when the center will be fully operational.

Hill-Ardoin pointed out the importance of renovating an existing facility. "Our new Customer Response Center will be centrally located, is easily accessible and will breathe new life into this area of St. Louis County. We want to make use of this facility to help enrich the lives of our employees and better serve all of our customers."

Customer Response Center employees will be responding to inquiries from business and residential customers wanting information about Southwestern Bell wireline and wireless products and services, and popular features like Caller ID and CallNotes. They'll also handle out-bound calls to existing customers advising them of product sales and specials.

Men and women 18 years of age and older are invited to apply for one of the new jobs by calling toll-free 800.394.JOBS or 800.394.5627. Southwestern Bell will start hiring in January, Hill-Ardoin said.

Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. provides basic and leading-edge telephone services and products to more than 13.5 million business and residential customers -- a total of more than 15 million access lines -- in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas. It is a company of SBC Communications Inc., a global leader in the telecommunications industry, with more than 32 million access lines and nearly 5 million wireless customers across the United States, as well as investments in telecommunications businesses in 10 countries. Under the Southwestern Bell, Pacific Bell, Nevada Bell and Cellular One brands, the company, through its subsidiaries, offers a wide range of innovative services, including local and long-distance telephone service, wireless communications, paging, Internet access, cable TV and messaging, as well as telecommunications equipment, and directory advertising and publishing. SBC ( has more than 114,000 employees and reported 1996 revenues of $23.5 billion. SBC's equity market value of $56.5 billion (as of June 30, 1997) ranks it as one of the five largest telecommunications companies in the world.