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Logistics call center plans to hire 40 veterans

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A food distributor plans to add 40 jobs at its Indianapolis call center, and the CEO wants a military veteran to fill every position.

Flagship Logistics Group has begun hiring for a new customer support center it opened downtown this month in a historic building at 429 N. Pennsylvania St.

The company spent $1 million designing the space to “exceed standards” set by the Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate employees injured in combat, said CEO Bob Moran. That means no stairs, no narrow aisles, break room counters low enough for people in wheelchairs, even enough space for hospital beds.

Hiring 100-percent veterans is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it certainly is a goal Moran wants to achieve.

“I’ve always hired veterans because I believe they’ve been given a hardcore lesson in discipline and loyalty,” Moran said. “Those are two of the hardest qualities to find in employees. They’re not going to go home in the middle of the day because they have a headache.”

Flagship Logistics is a subsidiary of  Los Angeles-based Flagship Food Group, which is a collection of food companies owned by Creo Capital Partners, where Moran is a partner.

Flagship Food Group is known for its 505 Southwestern salsa. It recently rolled out a new line of salsas under the 505 All-American brand and plans to give 1 percent of the condiment’s sales to the not-for-profit Wounded Warrior Project.

About 80 people already work for Flagship Logistics at a warehouse in Indianapolis, with another 30 employees scattered among offices in Idaho, Nevada and Minnesota.

Flagship opened the call center to manage customer service more efficiently, Moran said.

Two people—a veteran and the wife of an injured veteran—have accepted jobs at the office so far. The company plans to hire two more this month. Flagship targets the 40 hires within the next three years.

Starting base salaries range between $30,000 and $40,000 per year, Moran said, but employees can earn performance bonuses.

“It’s possible to make $75,000 or $80,000 very quickly,” he said.

Moran acknowledges finding 40 qualified veterans or family members of veterans could be challenging.

As IBJ has previously reported, economic issues among veterans are complicated and local incentive programs are short of their goals.

Veterans often struggle with marketing their skills when they’re searching for work.

“I’ve sat through a dozen interviews with guys just back [from military service] who don’t feel like they deserve a job,” Moran said.

“I do a test to see if I can get them to smile because they never smile. They’ve been trained to act emotionlessly. … If I can get a guy to smile, I know I’ve kind of cracked that barrier.”

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