Alta Resources has 100 job openings, looks to add another 200 in six months

January 17, 2012

From postcrescent.com: “Alta Resources adding jobs” —  Attention jobseekers: Alta Resources has 100 job openings at its downtown Neenah headquarters, and it anticipates adding another 200 jobs within the next six months.

The jobs are in customer care, information technology, sales and team leadership.

“We’ve just had incredible growth in the last five years,” said Jim Bere, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Alta. “As we look forward, we believe it’s going to continue to accelerate.”

Alta Resources built a $20 million, 180,000-square-foot office building in downtown Neenah in 2005. At the time, the company occupied four of the building’s seven floors and toyed with leasing the open floors to tenants to improve its revenue stream.

Today the company fills all seven floors and leases one floor of One Neenah Center. It also operates a 200,000-square-foot fulfillment center in the Southpark Industrial Center, and it has operations in California and the Philippines to provide clients with around-the-clock service.

Bere said Alta already has begun exploring options for expansion to accommodate further growth. He said the company likes downtown Neenah, but employee parking remains a major concern.

“We’re not sure where we’re going to put all of the people,” Bere said. “Do we look at other facilities in downtown Neenah? We’re looking at the full range of options.”

Chris Haese, Neenah’s director of community development and assessment, said city officials are aware of the parking challenges facing Alta and other downtown businesses. He said it’s a good problem to have because it reflects a vibrant business community.

“We need to come up with a plan for how we provide sufficient parking for both customers and employees,” Haese said. “For 2012, that’s one of the priorities of this office.”

Neenah budgeted $450,000 this year for improvements to downtown parking. Haese said the money would be used to evaluate parking needs and to start design work on possible options. He estimated downtown Neenah would need an additional 500 to 700 parking stalls in the next decade to meet demand.

World of outsourcing

Alta is an outsourcer of business processing services for Fortune 500 companies in the packaged goods, health care, entertainment and manufacturing industries. It doesn’t disclose its diverse list of clients because of confidentiality requirements, though it did acknowledge sausage maker Johnsonville as a client.

The company provides outsourced services in four main areas — customer care, e-business, fulfillment and sales. It has dedicated teams for specific clients.

Alta will answer questions about a client’s product, place orders, ship the product and bill the customer.

With Johnsonville, for example, Alta employees field inquiries from consumers who call a toll-free number on a Johnsonville package or website. Alta might respond to the inquiries by sending coupons or letters to the callers to promote brand loyalty and goodwill.

“We’re talking to a lot of consumers who are calling into us, but they’re really calling into who the client is,” Bere said.

Alta, though, is far more than a call center. It also develops and manages software systems for clients, and it uses social media like Facebook and Twitter to monitor the marketplace and quickly dispel misinformation about a client or client’s product that otherwise could go viral in the Internet world.

“We have tools where we can find a mom-and-pop blog or all sorts of chatter and get an inventory on what’s going on,” said Brett Meach, marketing manager for Alta.

Alta expanded into the Philippines to develop its information technology workforce and to process information around the clock, not just during business hours in the United States.

“We needed to have an ability to work 24 (hours) by seven days a week,” Bere said. “It gets really hard if you’re only geographically located in the U.S.”

Positioned for growth

Alta’s vision and performance have helped it to capitalize on the global outsourcing trend, and the precarious economy has worked in Alta’s favor.

Bere said when the economy tanked, companies refocused on their core business and looked to outsource other areas like customer care and software development. Alta was positioned to handle the additional business.

“We are at a stage where we can attract businesses larger than we’ve ever attracted before,” Bere said. “If before we would get a 15- or 20-person program, we now have opportunities for 100-person programs, 200-person programs and 300-person programs.”

Bere said Alta has improved its leadership throughout the company, which is another reason for optimism. He said the company tends to promote from within, noting that some of Alta’s top executives started out manning phones in the call center.

Alta will hold a career fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Holiday Inn Neenah Riverwalk, 123 E. Wisconsin Ave., to interview candidates for its job openings. The company will have its human resources department and program directors on hand.

“We’re looking for a boost in qualified candidates,” Meach said. “We’re expecting a lot of people to show up.”

Meach said many of the jobs are entry-level positions, but Alta also is looking for software developers, business analysts and team leaders.

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