Monroe: Governor Bobby Jindal, CenturyLink CEO and President Glen F. Post III, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, and Vice President Walt Caldwell of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury broke ground on the Fortune 500 company's new Technology Center of Excellence, a 250,000-square-foot expansion of CenturyLink’s existing 365,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Monroe.
The building project will help fulfill the company’s 2011 announcement of an 800-job headquarters expansion. These jobs, combined with a prior 350-job expansion announced in 2009, will contribute $67.7 million in new annual payroll by 2016, pushing CenturyLink’s statewide annual payroll in Louisiana beyond the $200 million mark. The company will then have 2,600 employees in the Monroe area.
The nation’s third-largest telecommunications company and a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for business customers, CenturyLink represents the No. 1 economic driver company in Northeast Louisiana and one of the Top 10 economic drivers in Louisiana’s private sector statewide. The company completed its 2012 financial year with $18.4 billion in annual revenue and $947 million in net income, with earnings up 4.4 percent in 2012.
In addition to the 800 new direct jobs, LED estimates the headquarters expansion will result in 1,170 new indirect jobs in the greater Monroe area, and the building project will create an additional 350 construction jobs at peak activity.
Governor Jindal said, “Today is a great day for Northeast Louisiana and our entire state. CenturyLink is one of Louisiana’s greatest success stories, and we’re proud that they chose to build on that success by capitalizing on our strong business climate and expanding their headquarters here at home. The Technology Center of Excellence will provide high-paying job opportunities for our people and great telecommunications research opportunities for our workers and students, which will help to expand our already growing and highly skilled workforce. The new facility will also help CenturyLink continue to support Louisiana’s strong digital media industry.”
The CenturyLink Technology Center of Excellence will include technology research and development space, a network operations center and additional meeting and office space. In the center, employees and vendors with network technology and information technology skills will collaborate to create innovative new product and service offerings for CenturyLink customers.
“We are very pleased to celebrate the groundbreaking of the CenturyLink Technology Center of Excellence with our employees, our community and our business partners,” Post said. “We look forward to continuing to grow CenturyLink’s presence in Northeastern Louisiana, and to working with individuals and organizations to make the region an even better place to live and work.”
The State of Louisiana will contribute up to $14.9 million toward the headquarters expansion, at a rate of $1 for every $2 spent by CenturyLink. The company, which hasn’t yet established the final project cost, will begin the building construction in May 2013. Site work, including a new north loop road on the corporate campus, began in late February.
“We are extremely proud of CenturyLink for choosing to make this corporate investment,” Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said. “The 800 new jobs at the CenturyLink Technology Center of Excellence will help attract and retain intellectual capital and support jobs to our city. This expansion to CenturyLink’s Monroe campus is a sign of their commitment to the economic vitality of our city, parish and region.”
“As a community, we are very pleased to have a partner such as CenturyLink, who not only provides jobs for this community but provides the type of jobs that we find in the growing economy – the technology sector that will continue to expand,” said Vice President Walt Caldwell of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury. “Not only is CenturyLink a business in our community, but it is a partner that wishes to effect appropriate social change: They are dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community.”
CenturyLink expects to complete construction of the project by the end of 2014 and begin operations in the Technology Center of Excellence by early 2015, with full hiring of the additional 800 employees completed in 2016. The new center will achieve LEED Silver certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, which recognizes buildings that reach a high degree of environmental performance in such categories as water efficiency, energy use, materials and resources, innovation and design, indoor environmental quality and site sustainability.
“We are so proud of CenturyLink, Northeast Louisiana’s premier homegrown business,” said Monroe Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Nicholson. “The company has a long and impressive history in Monroe. The groundbreaking for the new CenturyLink Technology Center of Excellence and the recent acquisitions of Embarq and Qwest demonstrate that CenturyLink will continue to build on their remarkable legacy.”
“CenturyLink’s growth and success are a testament to the vibrant business environment in North Louisiana,” North Louisiana Economic Partnership President Scott Martinez said. “NLEP looks forward to working with our state and local partners in meeting the needs of this world-class corporate headquarters.”