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Published in the Asbury Park Press 03/25/05 By DAVID P. WILLIS
Vonage Holdings Corp., the nation's largest Internet telephone
company, expects to move its offices to Holmdel, where it hopes to
employ about 2,000 workers by the end of the year, a company spokesman
The move would make Vonage one of the Shore's largest employers.
The company, which now has 1,000 employees, has outgrown its offices on
Route 27 in Edison, Vonage spokesman Jamie Serino said. "We are working
right on top of each other," he said.
The company is "close" to signing a lease for an office building in
Holmdel, Serino said. He would not identify the location, but he said
it would have space for another 1,000 employees the company expects to
hire this year.
Joseph Sarno, senior director at Cushman & Wakefield of New Jersey,
believes Vonage will move into the former Prudential Property &
Casualty Insurance Co. building, a two-story 358,932-square-foot
office building on 88 acres on Route 520.
"This is a big shot in the arm for the Monmouth County office market
and also for the businesses and community of Holmdel to say the
least," said Sarno, a Holmdel resident. "That building was looming as
another big empty building in the Monmouth County market."
Charlie Morrison, a Holmdel resident who worked for Bell Laboratories
for more than 40 years, agreed.
"Well, I'm sure that some of the people that are unemployed these days
would be happy to hear" about the move, said Morrison, 83.
Formed in January 2001, Vonage jump-started a hot new market that,
while still small, is providing an alternative to traditional
Co-founded by Brielle resident Jeffrey Citron, the company offers
local and long-distance telephone service over the Internet using a
new technology called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for
short. The technology gives customers who have a high-speed Internet
connection a less expensive way to make telephone calls.
Now telecommunications giants, such as AT&T Corp., Verizon
Communications and Cablevision Systems, are offering their own
Vonage, which has run ads on television and the Internet, has grown to
more than 550,000 lines in the United States, Canada and the United
Kingdom, up from about 130,000 as of March 31, 2004. "The company is
growing very, very quickly. We are signing up over 15,000 customers a
week," Serino said. The company estimates it will have 1 million
customers by the end of the year.
"As that number grows, we are going to have to have more people to
serve that customer base," he said. "Every single week, we are
bringing more and more people on. We are looking forward to recruiting
in the area."
The jobs will include customer care, technical support, and software
development positions, Serino said.
The new location in Holmdel will encompass the company's corporate
offices, call center, network operations, research and operations and
other functions, Serino said. "By the end of the summer, the majority
of the company, if not the whole company, will move over," he said.
Holmdel Mayor Larry Fink said it is good to see vacant office space
"It should be especially exciting for residents of Holmdel and
Monmouth County municipalities who formerly worked for AT&T, Lucent,
Agere and Avaya, many of who are still looking for employment in the
telecom industry," Fink said. "That might bode well for them."
Mark P. Horvath, an electrical engineer who lives in Holmdel, said he
was thrilled by news of the Vonage relocation.
He's been looking for work since his former employer, Lucent spin-off
Agere Systems, closed its area offices last year. He hopes maybe he'll
be one of the local people the company hires when it moves here.
"I'm glad to have them as a neighbor," said Horvath, 49. "It's nice
when a company moves in; something sizable with a new direction like
Vonage. It makes it a very impressive draw for other companies, as
Sam Shramko, who moved to Holmdel in the early 1960s when his
employer, Bell Laboratories, opened offices there, said the move would
be a win-win situation for employers and employees alike.
"I think (Holmdel) is the ideal place for a company, a technical
company, because of the past communications and facilities that are
around here," Shramko, 70, said. "They'd have a good labor force."