Mike Copeland: Lacy Lakeview call center hiring up to 800 people

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Posted: Sunday, September 15, 2013 12:01 am | Updated: 1:10 am, Sun Sep 15, 2013.

General Dynamics had been saying for months it would hire up to 700 people to fill its customer contact center in Lacy Lakeview.

But it has revised that figure — upward.

“The Waco call center will employ 800 customer service representatives,” Rachel Maisler, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in an email.

She said a recent surge lifted employment there to more than 450, “and more are being hired every day.”

All positions in the call center are full-time, Maisler said, and employees receive benefits.

General Dynamics is operating the center in the former Blue Cross Blue Shield building on Lake Shore Drive under a contract with CMMS. Employees will answer questions from millions of Americans who will be enrolling in new health-insurance programs to comply with the Health Insurance and Affordable Care Act, which some refer to as “Obamacare.”

The center will maintain a toll-free hotline and answer inquiries 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

General Dynamics will provide training, but applicants must:

Have graduated from high school or received a GED;

Have six months of customer service experience;

Have the ability to type a minimum of 20 words per minute;

Speak and read English fluently; and,

Pass a background check.

Individuals wanting to apply online can visit the company’s website at www.gdit.com/careers.

Gas on credit

Gas-price skirmishes again have broken out in Greater Waco, most involving the use of name-brand credit cards.

Sam’s Club, 2301 E. Waco Drive in Bellmead, was charging only $3.11 a gallon for regular unleaded on Friday, but only people with a Sam’s card could take advantage of the markdown. A store employee reached by phone said prices there tend to fluctuate throughout any given day.

Meanwhile, Stripes now has opened three stores in the Greater Waco area, and on Friday the stores were charging $3.14 a gallon to holders of Stripes cards, $3.19 to others.

Waco Realtor Bland Cromwell, who is working with the Corpus Christi-based company to find development sites locally, said it already has chosen eight locales on which to build and eventually will place a dozen Stripes stores at strategic locations in and around Waco.

The citywide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded has dropped 8 cents, to $3.30, in the past week, according to GasBuddy.com.

Restaurant plans

Remodeling of the former Lake Brazos Bar and Grill reportedly will begin soon, with a new restaurant to open by December.

Waco developer Rick Sheldon and his Brazos River Partners bought the former steakhouse in February from Community Bank and Trust, which had foreclosed on the property in December 2012 after it defaulted on a loan. Local health authorities had closed it for multiple violations, and former owner Shane Morgan decided not to reopen it.

Mike Anderson, a spokesman for Brazos River Partners, said in a phone interview Friday that Barsh Construction will remodel the interior and that plans have been submitted to the city of Waco for construction of a new deck.

“It is our goal to have the restaurant open by the Christmas holidays, the deck by spring break of next year,” he said.

Anderson said the partners likely will spend “well over half-a-million dollars” to resurrect the once-popular dining establishment. He said they have secured the services of a respected restaurateur from Dallas to open the eatery. It will not become part of a chain, but does have other locations in the Dallas area.

“I can’t reveal the name of the place because that would give away the cuisine,” said Anderson, adding he may break his silence in a month to six weeks.

Cathy Groppe, of Waco’s inspection services department, confirmed that a plan has been submitted for creation of a new deck.

“I have been told that the scope of the work has been expanded.” she added. “We have received no plans on changes to the building itself.”

Baby contest
Texas Cheese House
Buy one Specialty Grilled Cheese sandwich get one free. Limit One per customer. Pic attached.

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