One of La Vista’s biggest employers expanded its commitment to Sarpy County on Thursday by announcing 100 more jobs will be added to the company’s data center.
Seventy-five of the new career opportunities will be in the company’s expanding customer service branch. The other 25 will be an expansion of the factory area, where servers are assembled to be shipped out to the company’s other areas.
Vikram Subramaniam, vice president of Yahoo’s customer experience, said the focus on customer care is an important one to the company. Mere months ago, Yahoo primarily handled customer care via email, with about 20 percent of matters being handled by phone.
The Internet company’s goal is to get to 90 percent of customers being helped through the voice of a living, breathing person, he said.
“It takes a special talent to solve a customer’s problem by phone,” he said. “We want the interactions to be memorable.”
Subramaniam said he looks for talent, passion and a fundamental empathy in prospective employees, and Nebraska often has all three thanks to a Midwestern work ethic. People from New York City, for instance, can lack a certain empathy, he said.
“We want the interactions between customers and our employees to be memorable,” he said.
On hand for the announcement was La Vista Mayor Doug Kindig, State Sen. Jim Smith and Gov. Dave Heineman.
Smith said Nebraska is happy to be a place that can provide higher paying jobs for its residents. In the long term, the Yahoo jobs will keep residents here instead of having to travel elsewhere in the country for employment.
Leadership in Sarpy County is partially responsible for the prospering job market in the area, Smith said.
“It’s good news for La Vista, and it’s good news for the state,” he said. “Mayor Kindig works tirelessly, so never underestimate quality leadership.”
Heineman — who notably interchanged a call of “Go Huskers” for “Go Yahoo!” — said Nebraska will continue to foster companies like Yahoo to grow, and congratulated La Vista on the accomplishment.
“A great workforce and ethic here are incentives for companies to like this to come here,” he said. “We’re seeing it every day now.”
Suzenne Philion, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, said the data center is currently renovating the top two levels of the building near 108th Street and Giles Road to hold the call center. Yahoo will relocate 25 employees from west Omaha office to the call center once work is done by the end of summer.
So far, more than $300 million has been invested by the company into their operation in Sarpy County.
Kindig said without a doubt the announcement will be a positive effect on the local economy.
“This has been a great story since 2010, to the expansion and we have high hopes for continuing expansion,” Kindig said. “This is a city of 17,000 people, home to many worldwide businesses. It’s pretty cool for La Vista.”