Written by Leslie Yager
A host of state and local officials turned out to celebrate the selection of Norwalk's Merritt 7 Corporate Office Park as headquarters for HomeServe USA, an independent provider of homeowner emergency repair service plans.
The company is an American division of a British company.
"We love the CT slogan, 'Still revolutionary,'" said HomeServe USA CEO Tom Rusin, with a wink to the British founder and Group CEO, Richard Harpin.
Rusin said the company had outgrown two different locations in Stamford during the past five years. Prior to Stamford, HomeServe USA had been located in Florida.
"We've moved several times and were looking for something for the long term," Rusin said, adding that HomeServe plans to hire over 130 new employees in Norwalk in the next few years.
Customers' emergency calls are directed to HomeServe's call center in Tennessee.
Governor Malloy talked about growing, attracting and retaining businesses in Connecticut. "Your ability to have grown as rapidly as you have – having 2.2 million contracts in the Americas is phenomenal. Starting with one utility contract, a water company, in Great Britain it has grown to be a superior product here in the US."
"We're a company with 650 employees across the US, with one and a half million customers in the US," said Rusin. "We were looking for a new home for the long term."
Rusin explained how HomeServe works. "We provide home emergency services for consumers in the areas plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning. ...If something goes wrong in the home, they make one phone call and we come out and take care of it. We like to say we take away the worry and inconvenience that a homeowner might have when a home emergency occurs."
Richard Harpin, CEO of HomeServe said he originally founded the company in the UK. He described HomeServe as, "a billion dollar FTSE 250 London UK listed company with operations in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany."
"We serve over 5 million customers who pay an annual membership premium," Harpin said, likening the service to that of AAA emergency road service.
Harpin listed three reasons HomeServe chose Connecticut. "It's a great location in the northeast of America. Secondly, there's a wealth of management talent... Third, Connecticut is a very friendly business state," he said, gesturing to Gov. Malloy.
"We are making a $33 million investment over the coming years," Harpin said. "That's in the large office space that we have here with plenty of room for growth. It's in the 130 new hires we'll be taking on, and it's a big investment in our new IT systems."
Tad Diesel from the Norwalk Mayor's office expressed special gratitude to CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and said of the Merritt 7 office complex, "You've moved into what I think is the best managed office park in America."
The (DECD) is providing financial support for the $33 million project to help HomeServe retain 109 jobs and create an additional 130 jobs as the company expands its presence in the state over the next five years.
According to a release from Gov. Malloy's office, HomeServe will receive a $3 million loan that is partially forgivable if job targets are met and a $1 million grant.
"Thanks to DECD's flexible finance programs, we are encouraging employers to look at our town and our resources and letting them know our state is a good place to invest and do business in," Malloy said. "We are bringing in good paying jobs with good benefits to Connecticut."
HomeServe USA is located at 601 Merritt 7 Corporate Office Park.