CRC Celebrates 25 Years of Service
Austin, Minn. – It’s been 26 years since the Halloween ice storm of 1991 hit southern Minnesota, causing at least 20,000 people in the area to lose electricity for multiple days. With that storm sparked an idea from local electric cooperative leaders to create an organization to provide a dependable, call-answering service to assist their consumers not only during severe weather, but after-hours as well. That idea quickly became the creation of Cooperative Response Center, Inc. (CRC).
CRC, which is headquartered in Austin, was created by 19 rural electric cooperatives in 1992 and serves as a contact (call) center and alarm monitoring center for utilities and alarm dealers across the United States. Thursday, November 9, marks 25 years since CRC opened its doors for business.
Initially housed in a small facility in Brownsdale, Minn., CRC quickly grew and eventually moved into a much larger, state-of-the-art building in northwest Austin in 2002. CRC has now exceeded the space of that building and leases office space for support staff near downtown Austin while it determines whether to expand its current headquarters or move employees to a larger facility.
By 2000, CRC’s growth in southern states was booming and its membership desired agents with a dialect similar to their consumers. In addition, CRC wanted a site in another location for safety purposes in case staff or technology at one of the sites was affected by weather or another unforeseen event, enabling CRC to offer uninterrupted service to its membership. In February 2001, CRC began training customer service representatives (CSRs) at its new Dunlap, Tenn., office. At the time of the opening, employees were housed in an office space rented from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative in Dunlap. CRC eventually outgrew the rental space and built its own facility about one block away from that location in 2007. Ironically CRC outgrew that location and recently remodeled the facility to accommodate additional staff as well as renting the original office space to house support staff and a training center.
In September 2010, after conducting a feasibility study determining interest in bilingual services and a need to grow CRC’s membership density in the southwestern region of the United States, CRC’s Board of Directors approved CRC to move forward with expanding its service offerings by opening a third site. After an exhaustive search, Abilene, Texas, was selected for the site’s location and the CSR recruitment process began. Like the Dunlap office, CRC’s Abilene location was recently expanded and remodeled to make room for additional employees.
CRC currently provides services to more than 430 utilities and alarm dealers as well as 8,000,000 consumers nationwide. CRC employs nearly 300 people across its three sites and expects that number to grow to more than 350 employees by mid-2018.
“The formation and growth of CRC have been a testament to the power of a cooperative business model,” said Chris Holt, CRC’s president and CEO. “While our size and number of locations have certainly changed over the years, the one constant has been our commitment to serve the membership, our employees, and the communities in which we work. Thank you to those that have been part of the CRC story and we look forward to many more years of partnership.”
CRC is a nationwide, cooperatively owned and operated, 24/7 contact center and alarm monitoring center with nearly 300 employees companywide. Founded in 1992, CRC has steadily increased the size and scope of its operation with offices in Austin, Minn., Dunlap, Tenn., and Abilene, Texas. CRC serves over 430 members and associate members in 45 states, representing 8 million consumers. Visit CRC on the web at www.crc.coop.