In what local leaders hope will be a trend of high-tech jobs landing in area, an Atlanta-based software development firm announced Jan. 21 that it would make downtown Mobile home to a new center that will bring 100 IT jobs.
Rural Sourcing Inc., a company focused on cost-effective onshore software development and support, will open a temporary office at 456 Civic Center Dr. by Feb. 1 as they look for a permanent home in the downtown area. Mayor Sandy Stimpson, members of the Mobile County Commission, Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield and Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Sisson were all on hand for the announcement.
During Rural Sourcing Inc. CEO Monty Hamilton’s speech, he credited two people with the decision to come to Mobile.
“A year ago when the search for a third location began, Mobile wasn’t even on the short list, but (Congressman) Bradley Bryne changed that. Mobile went from not being on the short list to being the list,” Hamilton said. “Also, Mobile may not realize what kind of mayor they have. He is a wonderful leader that is incredibly passionate about this city and more important he sold me on his vision for the city.”
The Jan. 21 announcement marks the first business development announcement for Stimpson as mayor.
"We are pleased and excited to welcome RSI as our newest corporate citizen in Mobile," Stimpson said in a press release. "We recruited them aggressively because they represent the kind of business we want to cultivate — young, smart, innovative and poised for future growth. We are particularly pleased to see them locate downtown, where they will help our ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Mobile."
Hamilton and Stimpson told the story of how one young Mobile native helped pave the way for the city to be RSI’s next home.
“I was in Atlanta talking to a young lady about RSI locating somewhere and she happened to be from Mobile. I asked her if RSI opened in Mobile would she move back,” Hamilton said. “Before I could finish the question she said, ‘In a heartbeat and my resume will be in tomorrow.’”
That same Mobilian contacted Stimpson one week after he was elected mayor.
“I got a call from the same young lady in Atlanta just after I was elected and she told me she had a lead,” Stimpson said. “That was the first time I had heard of RSI.”
RSI focuses on offering an onshore option for software development and support — services that might often end up in India or China. They serve a wide array of clients, including Coca-Cola, Sony, Pfizer, Hagerty Insurance, Reynolds American, J.Crew and Match.com. The company also focuses on locating development centers in cities that have high quality of life and low cost of living and production, which Sisson said is what brought them to Mobile.
“This will really help our downtown development. This company is interested in being in cool, old downtowns,” he said. “They also mentioned to us several times our coastal lifestyle.”
Sisson said that while RSI’s decision to locate in Mobile is not directly related to the coming Airbus manufacturing center, the feeling that the city is hitting a stride definitely played a role.
“They think this is a good growth market,” Sisson said. “They would like to ride the wave.”
RSI will initially locate in a building owned by the Chamber of Commerce’s foundation, allowing them to open by Feb. 1 while they look for a long-term office. One of the benefits of being downtown, he pointed out, is the large amount of fiber-optic infrastructure that exists, making it a natural for software development.
RSI CEO Monty Hamilton expressed his company’s desire not only to be a corporate citizen of downtown Mobile, but also to serve as an agent of change.
"We are excited to be an early investor and catalyst for the tremendous growth in the digital economy in Mobile," Hamilton said in a press release. "This office will give us the capacity to meet the continued growth and demand for software developers in the areas of mobile technologies, cloud-based technologies and ERP systems such as SAP."
Stimpson said RSI is already looking at several downtown buildings, but have not made any decisions.
The mayor did say the city’s investment would be $150,000 from the economic development fund. The council is expected to vote on the matter on Jan. 28.
RSI currently has development centers in Jonesboro, Ark. and Augusta, Ga. as well, and have a stated goal of creating a dozen centers around the U.S. with 3,000 jobs.
Sisson said RSI will being bringing some employees from out of town, but also hopes to recruit locally. One focus, he said, will be opening lines of communication with local universities and colleges in order to have a healthy stream of IT employees.
The company is already taking resumes. For more information on open positions, visit http://ruralsourcing.com/Careers/. Potential candidates should e-mail a cover letter and resume to [email protected].