Gov. Pataki delivers grant to Rapid Response for job creation In N.Y.

Tax breaks were enough to keep company from leaving state
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Monday, March 1, 2004

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - New York Gov. George Pataki singled out Rapid Response Monitoring Services as a bright spot for job creation in an area of the state that has been hard-hit by bad news on the job front of late.

Rapid Response, which already employs hundreds of people in the Syracuse area, has announced plans to hire up to 200 more people in its new offices within the next few years. The company, which flirted with moving its operations out of the state, decided instead to centralize its operations in Syracuse.

“Too often in the past, locally grown companies would start here. They would grow a little bit here, and then when it came time to take the next step forward, they would say, ‘Well, we just can’t compete, we have to go somewhere else,’” Pataki said at a news conference during a visit to the company in February. “Rapid Response could have made this investment anywhere in the country, but it chose to expand right here in Central New York because they know our state offers the right climate and the right opportunities to grow.”

During his visit, Pataki announced that the state would offer Rapid Response a $400,000 grant to help offset the more than $5 million that the company will spend on equipment and renovations for the new office. When the company was considering a move, the state had offered a grant of $225,000 for the creation of 125 jobs before revising the offer last month.

“We’re going to have over $3 million in communications equipment alone,” said Russell McDonnell, the company’s chairman who founded Rapid Response with President Jeffrey Atkins in 1991. “This will be the most modern, sophisticated tech center in the country.”

McDonnell said the Empire Zone benefits were a major reason why he didn’t move the company to California, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina or Utah. Under the Empire Zone plan, Rapid Response will be virtually free of taxes.

According to company officials, the new office will more than double Rapid Response’s square footage from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet, and the new jobs will be mainly in operations, customer support, technical support, programming and accounting.

Rapid Response currently monitors more than 200,000 accounts from across the country. The company has grown from its initial 12 dealers in 1991 to more than 600 today.