Affordability and talent availability motivated international business services firm Ernst & Young to expand its Louisville operations, according to company officials.
EY is investing $4.35 million to open an executive support center in downtown Louisville, the third of its kind in the United States. The others are located in Dallas, Cleveland and Tucson.
“We picked Louisville over the other cities, number one because of talent availability. We found a very good talent base in Louisville,” said Brent Summers, EY’s Americas enterprise support services leader. “We also found Louisville to be a very affordable and livable city.”
The chamber of commerce Greater Louisville Inc. was EY’s initial point of contact and helped connect the company to Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development arm, and Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, which doles out tax incentives for economic development projects. On Thursday, KEDFA preliminarily approved giving EY $1 million in state tax incentives for the executive support center.
The center will employ 125 people at an average wage of $27 an hour, according to state economic incentive documents. EY is looking for people with at least an associate degree to work as executive assistants for its tax professionals, executives and other service professionals.
“It is not really different than having a high-level executive assistant in the office,” Summers told Insider Louisville. Because EY’s service professionals travel extensively, the company can set up service centers anywhere and use technology to connect.
Already, EY has started interviewing potential employees and expects to put out offers next week.
All new hires will go through extensive training, Summers said, so the company plans to hire employees in batches of roughly 15. EY expects to hire all 125 employees within 18 months, he said.
EY has not settled on an office for its executive support center and will operate out of its existing offices in 400 West Market. Summers said the company expects to settle on a home within the next 90 days but is looking at all office buildings in the Central Business District.
Downtown Louisville also is easy to get to for many potential employees, he said, adding that he wants a job at EY to look equally attractive to people from all parts of Louisville.
“All roads lead to downtown Louisville,” Summers said. “Some of the suburban locations can give preference to one part of town.”
Downtown provides employees with ample lunch options within walking distance as well, added David Calzi, managing partner of EY’s Louisville office, who echoed Summers’ comment about being within close driving distance for residents of multiple neighborhoods.
“We’re one community with Southern Indiana as well, so we are not just looking on the Louisville side,” Calzi said.
The support center will more than double EY’s current local employment of 107 people.
The Louisville offices have experienced growth during the past few years as EY has expanded its service offerings such as consulting with companies that are looking to buy or sell a business.
“Traditionally, people would look to EY as accounting, audit and tax firm, but we have so much more than that in terms of what we provide,” Calzi said.
EY was created in 1989 after the merger of Ernst & Ernst in Cleveland and Arthur Young & Co. in Chicago, both of which dated back to the early 1900s. Today, the company operates in 152 countries and employs 231,000 people globally.