March 9, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.--Augusta getting the new T-Mobile call center was considered a long shot from the start. T-Mobile is based in Washington state, and all of the other cities in the running are out west.
The competition was fierce...so how did Augusta win the day?
Maybe it had something to do with Walter Sprouse and his cell phone.
Sprouse works with Augusta's development authority. He told News 12 about his meeting with the consultants who were helping T-Mobile choose a city for the new customer service center.
"And the first thing they said: 'Do you have a cell phone? I said, 'I do, and it's a T-Mobile phone.'"
And now Augusta has the prize it's been fighting to win for over a year: a multimillion dollar investment by T-Mobile with the promise of 750 new jobs.
"They could be anywhere in the United States," Gov. Sonny Perdue said. "It says a lot that they chose Augusta, Georgia."
Most people involved in the process will tell you it's a combination of things, from the local schools training the workers to that certain something we have down South.
Call it what you will...T-Mobile visited Augusta and liked it here.
"Augusta is a great community, offering great customer service support," said John Birrer, vice president of T-Mobile USA.
Fresh from the ADP announcement of a thousand jobs and news that Augusta is among the most affordable places to live, the city is on a roll.
"Word is getting out there," Mayor Deke Copenhaver said. "New businesses are looking at Augusta. Two wins in a five month period."
Maybe it was an uphill battle, but Augusta seemed to have the T-Mobile deal in the pocket all along...and while it never hurts to be home of the Masters, we're told no tournament badges were exchanged in the closing of the deal.
One of T-Mobile's top officials tells us he's not even a golf fan.
That will certainly change.