Small Town USA
“No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be”
– Small Town by John Cougar Mellencamp
Unlike John Mellencamp, I myself was not born in a small town.
I was born in Arcadia (north of Los Angeles, grew up in a planned community in Lake Forest (a town in southern Orange County) and later attended college in downtown Los Angeles. Typical Southern California resume.
After that, however, deciding to shift my perspective a bit, I moved to Boulder and then Denver. Following that move, I matriculated over to Portland and then on up to Seattle. All wonderful places and amazing cities, but not small towns.
It was while living in Portland that I first started spending time in smaller, rural, northwest communities such Tualatin and Coos Bay, OR. Back then, the outsourcer who employed me had facilities in both towns, along with a larger center in Portland. It was obvious to me at the time, even as a relative newbie to the outsourcing space, that the quality of work, attendance and employee retention at both rural facilities were much better than the downtown Portland location. This learn was an important one and began to shape how we would construct FCR.
Leaning on rural communities strictly in the US, we focused on places where the jobs mattered and the communities needed us the most. Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Austin, Nashville, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas, Omaha, Tampa, the list goes on and on. These are great cities but cities nonetheless with plenty of jobs and opportunity. The call center job is not valued there. Those cities were fine, but we needed to look elsewhere.
We began by focusing on what we knew. We knew Oregon, and especially rural Oregon. So, why not build there first?
Targeting Roseburg as a launching point for our first call center, due to its need for opportunity, its proximity to the I-5 corridor, and ease of access from 3 regional airports and quality of life, we began to build and grow. After Roseburg, Grants Pass reached out and asked us to bring jobs there too. We liked the idea and the town seemed similar, so we built a facility there. Once Grants Pass was up and running, we moved to other communities in need like Coos Bay, Veneta and Independence, and then added a second Roseburg site to boot.
After Independence, we decided to begin looking at other states. That is how we found Great Falls, our first (but certainly not our last) Montana contact center. Like our existing towns, Great Falls needed jobs. They wanted to keep their next generation from moving to larger cities and they wanted us to help them bring opportunity to their town. The town fit our model, so we began building. Last week we had our ribbon cutting ceremony and we officially began operations there this week.
All this time, as we continued our growth, we have stayed true to our values and never wavered from our focus on connecting exciting companies in tech with amazing rural communities.
In this day and age of globalization, it’s no secret that many companies have moved jobs outside the US for a variety of reasons, but mostly because labor is less expensive. There is nothing wrong with that and I understand their thinking and methodology. It make sense financially.
At FCR, however, we have always tried to approach this a bit differently than traditional outsourcers by focusing on the larger picture. We have only built in the US and only in small towns that needed us the most and where we could make the greatest impact.
We believe that you can still do great work here in the US if you look for the places that need the most help and marry that with interesting opportunities in technology.
For it is there that you will find dedicated, hardworking, and loyal colleagues who bring passion and commitment each and every day to their job. It is there that you can have the greatest impact as an employer, and it is there that you can still bring greatness to outsourcing.
Matthew Achak is the Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of FCR. His role within FCR involves actively managing all company wide sales, marketing, business development, social media, public relations, client facing communications, and ongoing program growth. Founded in 2005 in Roseburg, OR , FCR is the most respected outsource provider in the industry.