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Technology & Entrepreneurship

Czech Firm To Call San Antonio Home, Creating 1,400 Jobs

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Courtesy Brooks
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Brooks future layout with existing future home of Okin in gold

Fourteen-hundred jobs and $23 million in foreign investment are coming to San Antonio’s South Side.

A deal between the city, county, and state to relocate the headquarters of Czech Republic-based Okin Business Process Services to San Antonio was announced Monday at Brooks City Base by Governor Greg Abbott.

Okin provides information technology, consulting, and business process planning for large corporate clients in a diverse variety of projects.

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Credit Paul Flahive / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Governor Greg Abbott, second from left, looks on as the Okin deal is announced.

Flanked by a coterie of government, economic development professionals, and politicians Abbott pointed to Texas’ “business-friendly” environment for the deal.

"Thank you so very much for being part of the Texas success story and investing in the future of the Lone Star State," he said.

More than $6.6 million will be given to Okin from the Texas Enterprise Fund.

“It’s a whole new day for our city. A whole new day for the South Side of San Antonio with the presence here of Okin,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.

The impact of the 1,400 jobs going to the southeast side is unique for the area, said Bexar County Economic and Community Development Director and area resident David Marquez, who compared Okin to an Ernst & Young or Accenture.

“To have these private sector salaries there, it will create a demand for middle-class housing,” he said. “We’ll feel the impact for years to come.”

According to its website, Okin currently has 1,300 employees, three locations in Europe and is headquartered in Prague.

Okin majority owner Michal Jelínek said the company conducted a two-year-long search and chose San Antonio because of the city’s young, diverse and growing population. He also highlighted the level of support from city, county and state incentives.

“This is by far my best experience, including my own country,” he said.

The company will work out of temporary buildings while Brooks renovate two historic buildings. Jelínek said they hope to grow the space to 200,000 sq. ft.

“I’m only flying one or two people from (the) Czech Republic,” he said. “Our business is going to be very local.”

The company will hire a local management team in the next 18-24 months. The 1,400 jobs will be in a variety of areas, including accounting and technology positions. As a corporate headquarters, there will be upper-level positions available with six-figure salaries, Jelínek said. Customer and tech support jobs requiring higher technical proficiency and pay will likely be the first hired in a “high-value call center,” according to Jelínek.

“This is a major firm that is on the move globally, and they've chosen San Antonio to have their national headquarters,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “They see a lot of opportunity in our city. And they see it primarily because of our infrastructure and our workforce."

The workforce was often listed as a weak spot for the city, but Nirenberg said recently they aren’t hearing those concerns from employers looking at San Antonio anymore.

State, county and city incentives will ensure a more than half of the new jobs will be “high-paying,” according to city and San Antonio Economic Development Foundation officials. High-paying jobs are defined by the state as those earning more than the average county salary of $49,000.

“This is the largest corporate headquarters deal we have handled,” said SAEDF CEO Jenna  Saucedo-Herrera, who said it sent a big message internationally. "We've talked about doubling down on our international recruitment efforts. We've talked about doubling down on headquarter recruitment efforts. This organization is checking all those boxes."

Paul Flahive can be reached at paul@tpr.org or on Twitter @paulflahive