City Awards $50,000 Grant for VXI Upgrades

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Initiative Committee approved a $50,000 performance grant Monday afternoon for VXI Global Solutions Inc. to make improvements to its offices in 20 Federal Place.

The money will help fund $249,839.52 in upgrades that VXI has committed to the offices, said Tom DeAngelo, economic development coordinator. The grant draws down on the remaining funds from the Initiative’s 2015 appropriation, he said.

The call center company, based in Los Angeles, opened its Youngstown operations in October 2009 on one floor of 20 Federal Place, which is owned by the city. It has since expanded to occupy an additional full floor, and part of a third floor space on the street level where it has a recruitment center.

The restrooms on the fourth and fifth floors will be improved, new carpet and tile installed in work areas as well as new data cables and wiring, DeAngelo said. The work should be done by March 31.

Employment at the call center is about 1,150 and can increase to 1,250 during peak season, reported Justin Payne, VXI vice president of operations and client services. He and Madeline Pagan, site director, attended Monday’s meeting.

Annual payroll is just under $10.4 million.

VXI clients, which include Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, DirecTV and Western Union, want to know VXI provides a “clean environment” for its employees, Payne said.

The restrooms – the six-story building was built in 1926 and was the flagship store for the former Strouss’ department store — are “definitely a priority,” Payne said. The restrooms could be scrubbed every half hour and still not look clean, he said.

Added Pagan, “We’re really looking at all levels of what we can do in terms of morale.”

Because the Youngstown call center is a “key site” for VXI clients, it gets “a lot of traffic” from those clients, she said. They “pop themselves into Youngstown” to see the workplace firsthand

“One of our clients specifically said to me not too long ago that the way your bathrooms look tell me how you feel about your employees,” Payne said. “If you can’t keep them clean and nice, then you really don’t care about your employees.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.