State and local leaders joined the head of S&P Data LLC, a Canadian-based call center, Wednesday in announcing 425 new jobs that will be created in Rio Rancho over the next few years. From left, Gary Tonjes, president of Albuquerque Economic Development Inc.; Dan Plashkes, CEO of S&P Data; Mayor Gregg Hull; Gov. Susana Martinez; Secretary Jon Barela, New Mexico Economic Development Department; and Jami Grindatto, interim CEO of Sandoval Economic Alliance. (Courtesy of MATT GEISEL, City of Rio Rancho)

Dan Plashkes, CEO of S&P Data LLC, began running call centers nearly three decades ago, starting in Toronto, and now he plans to bring 425 jobs to Rio Rancho, with annual salaries averaging $38,000 plus benefits.

“S&P Data is really excited by its entry into New Mexico. First and foremost, our decision to locate in New Mexico was based on the quality of the people and the availability of technology, research and development. New Mexico topped the list for quality of labor and affordability of lifestyle,”Plashkes said in a news release.

The company plans to hire 100 local employees, starting in October, during its first year in the state. Empty space at the Hewlett-Packard building near City Hall will likely house the new employees.

“In New Mexico, S&P Data will be hiring contact service representatives to provide service and sales to inbound inquiries via telephone, email, chat and social media for an existing Fortune 100 client, with additional clients to be added as the employment level increases,” according to the release.

Plashkes announced his company’s plan to come to New Mexico at a news conference in Rio Rancho on Wednesday, accompanied by the governor and a host of city and state officials.

Gov. Susana Martinez said S&P will invest $4.4 million to upgrade the infrastructure for its facility in Rio Rancho and the state will provide $500,000 in Local Economic Development Act funds.

The state’s Job Training Incentive Program board on Friday approved giving S&P Data nearly $635,00 to train people for 70 jobs.
Economic Development Department spokeswoman Angela Heisel said S&P would receive approval Friday.

Bringing the company to Rio Rancho was a collaborative effort among the state EDD, the City of Rio Rancho, Albuquerque Economic Development, the newly formed Sandoval Economic Alliance and other state agencies, said AED President Gary Tonjes.

Plashkes opened S&P Data Corp. in Toronto in 1986. By 1994, his company had contracts with McDonald’s, Nestle Foods, Ryder Truck Rental, Lipton Teas and Compaq, according to a story that year in the Toronto Globe & Mail.

In 1996, S&P Data merged with ProMark One Marketing Services and became International Data Response Corp. IDRC merged with TeleSpectrum Worldwide Inc. in 1999.

In early 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News reported Telespectrum was getting ready to shut down a call center it opened in Buffalo, N.Y., three years earlier, while state officials were trying to recover $1 million in incentives they had paid the company.

By that time, Plashkes had left the company. From 1999 to 2004, he ran eAssist Global Solutions, which provided electronic customer relationship management (eCRM) for global companies, until Talisma Corporation acquired it.

S&P Data rebooted in 2005 and opened two facilities the next year in and around Toronto.

In 2008, Ohio awarded the company $175,000 in tax credits to open a call center that would employ 400 at $10.88 per hour in Richfield, according to a 2008 Ohio Department of Development report available online.

The company announced that same year that Ohio would become its American bulkhead, according to an article last year at cleveland.com.
The S&P Data website does not mention Richfield. It says the company set up a center in Cleveland, about 20 miles away, in 2011.

The City of Cleveland provided $800,000 in additional incentives to S&P Data, according to a description of recent projects on the website rethinkcleveland.org.

The cleveland.com article said S&P Data had 2,600 to 2,800 employees in the summer of 2013, while Plashkes said Thursday his company employed 1,700 people.

With terms that sound similar to what is expected to happen in New Mexico, S&P Data obtained a $1 million grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund two months ago and committed to spending $4.4 million and hiring 420 new workers, according to an article at mitechnews.com.

Last month, S&P Data leased a building in Troy, Mich., to start fulfilling those terms.

New call centers in the works, according to the S&P Data website, include locations in Florida and southern Ontario in Canada.

Plashkes said he hopes to celebrate success for his company in a year or two at the Rio Rancho site.

(Albuquerque Journal staff writer Rosalie Rayburn contributed to this story.)

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