Tech center names COO, plans to provide more jobs locally

The technology outsourcing company that recently opened a center in Marshalltown has named a chief operating officer.

Rick Grewell, president of Caleris, previously acted as COO for the West Des Moines-based information technology support company. The company’s rapid growth necessitated naming a COO, Grewell said.

Marshalltown native Jeremy Cooper has already begun assuming the duties of COO for Caleris. A little over a year ago, Cooper was working as the company’s vice president where he managed IT operations from 2005 to 2012. He left to pursue a consulting career, but he continued to consult for Caleris in the meantime.

Grewell said since Cooper has worked for Caleris before, along with his ongoing consulting, the transition was nearly seamless.

“He really understands our business, both on the operations and technology side,” Grewell said.

Cooper has a master’s in business administration from Bethel University in Minnesota.

Caleris employs 85 people at its Marshalltown center in the Max Building, 11 E. Church St., and Grewell said, once the building’s second-floor remodel is complete, the company will fill at least that many more positions by the end of the year.

Cooper will work out of the company’s headquarters in West Des Moines, but will spend time at all of Caleris’ call centers stationed in Manning, Jefferson, Newton and Marshalltown, helping with everything from management to IT.

Cooper said Caleris could do better unifying what the company expects from its employees throughout its centers, but he looks forward to helping employees tap into their abilities and use them to help the company grow.

“We already have a lot of pieces in place; we just need a little more direction and cohesiveness,” Cooper said. “One of the key things we are going to be focusing on is leadership training We could do a little better for an organization of our size.”

Grewell said areas like Marshalltown that are growing faster than the rest will likely warrant more of Cooper’s attention.

Caleris aims to take a pragmatic approach and be flexible to the needs of customers, Cooper said. If the company gets a new customer and he has to stay in Marshalltown for a week, he needs to be able to do that. Other times, he may only stop in as needed.

“As that landscape changes, we want to be able to adjust,” Cooper said.

Training management at various levels allows Cooper to stay focused on broad-scope endeavors needed to keep the company growing, he said.

When he began working as VP for Caleris in 2005, Cooper said the company employed 50 people; it now employs 400 people company-wide, and it continues to grow.

Grewell said the growth is because Iowa’s stable, well-educated workforce is able to provide quality service previously offered overseas.

“We are growing so fast,” Grewell said. “We are just getting ready to double in size again … We have really been filling a niche.”