BELFAST, Maine — A Massachusetts-based technology company is planning to start hiring workers immediately in midcoast Maine — and may expand to as many as 350 new jobs, according to Gov. Paul LePage — in order to open a logistics support center in Belfast.
OnProcess Technology currently employs more than 2,200 employees in several locations around the world who work to help businesses manage their global supply chains. It will move into a 35,000-square foot office building off Route 3 that was built in the 1990s by former credit card giant MBNA.
“We are pleased to welcome OnProcess Technology to Maine,” LePage said in a media release. “This company has experienced significant growth within the last year and could have chosen anywhere in the world for an expansion. Its decision to start an operation in Maine is a testament to our ongoing commitment to become better partners with the private sector in attracting new investment and career opportunities for Maine people.”
OnProcess Technology has plans to hire 50 full-time employees in the next two months, and Ed Barry, the founder and CEO said that he would like to see that number expand greatly.
“I’d love to have 350 people in Maine in two or three years,” he said in a phone interview from Massachusetts. “Our business is growing, and we’re picking Maine as a long-term growth potential for us.”
The first positions created in Belfast will be in what he calls “asset recovery,” a job that will pay a competitive rate.
“That’s what we founded the business on,” Barry said. “It’s good work, solid work.”
He started the company in 1998 with just one client after realizing there was a niche that needed to be filled in supply chain management. Now, his clients are companies primarily in technology, broadband, wireless and the durable medical equipment industries and include such well-known names as Comcast, DirecTV and Verizon. When customers have problems with the products they have purchased, OnProcess often is the company that answers their calls and tries to help them. If problems can’t be solved over the phone or via email, OnProcess asset recovery specialists will figure out what to do next.
“We get inventory back, fix it and reengineer it,” Barry said. “We are asset-light. We are not touching or repairing anything. We’re tracking inventory and getting inventory returned. We’re a technology-driven service. We’re focused on aftermarket services and service supply chain. We help our clients drive down costs by managing these service offerings very effectively.”
Barry and OnProcess officials have been working with Maine & Company, a firm that provides free consulting services to companies looking to relocate to or expand within Maine. Last January, Belfast city officials voted to apply for a $1.1 million state community development block grant in an effort to encourage OnProcess Technology to open a branch in the midcoast city. The company, which was awarded $800,000, said if it received the grant it would match it with its own funds and pledged to create 50 full-time jobs in Belfast. Those CDBG funds would be used to provide the company with working capital, to purchase telephone, computer and other equipment and to provide job training.
Maine’s congressional delegation was quick to welcome the company to the Pine Tree State, with U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), hailing the announcement as being a boon for the state’s economy.
OnProcess will help to fill out the former MBNA campus, which now is home to athenahealth, Bank of America and Seaport Family Practice. City officials said that athenaheath and Bank of America are believed to employ around 800 people each in Belfast.
“All other things being equal, I think you’d rather have several sizeable employers as opposed to one massive employer,” Belfast Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge said Monday. “It’s great to have a diversity of firms. I think that adds an element of stability to the regional economy.”
Belfast Mayor Walter Ash said Monday that the news was great for the city, which has been experiencing something of a renaissance in the last few years and which has attracted some new businesses.
“It gives more people different opportunities for employment,” he said. “I think it’s all good. The state’s open for business, and we’re open for business. And what better place to locate to than Belfast? The whole council is thrilled about it.”
OnProcess will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said OnProcess received $1.1 million. It applied for $1.1 million and received $800,000.