Health firm plans move to Carmel, adding 675 jobs

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American Specialty Health Inc., a California-based wellness program provider, plans to move its headquarters to Carmel and create as many as 675 jobs by 2016, officials announced Friday morning.

The company plans to invest $10 million to lease 72,693 square feet on four floors of the Hamilton Crossing III building at 12800 N. Meridian St. ASH will lease an additional 16,362 square feet of office space at the Carmel Tech Center beginning next month.

ASH, which employs more than 1,000 workers nationwide, will begin hiring operations, call center, customer service and other positions in Carmel later this year.

Company co-founder and CEO George DeVries said salaries will range from $45,000 to $120,000 a year. He credited Indiana’s business climate and Carmel’s “exceptional” quality of life as motivations for the move.

"ASH has grown from a California company into a national company, and Carmel provides a central location with proximity to our clients across the nation," DeVries said.

IBJ reported on July 11 that ASH planned to open an office in Carmel by next March and employ at least 300. Sources familiar with the situation at the time said Carmel could become the company's new home base.

The relocation of ASH's headquarters is part of the firm's five-year strategic plan to establish operations and redundancy offices in three distinct geographic regions. The company opened a Southlake, Texas, office in July 2012 and also opened a health technology innovation center with the University of South Carolina's Innovista incubator in Columbia, S.C. It also plans to maintain an office in the San Diego area.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered American Specialty Health up to $11.5 million in conditional tax credits and up to $250,000 in training grants based on the company's job-creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning they cannot be claimed until jobs are filled.

Carmel will not offer any additional local incentives, Mayor Jim Brainard said.

“If we do our job right, we don’t need special incentives,” he said, citing the city’s ongoing investment in redevelopment, recreation and culture—all intended to attract and retain a “first-rate workforce.”

ASH expects to employ about 1,700 nationwide by the end of 2016, DeVries said. About 300 of the 675 planned for Carmel should be in place next year.

Founded in 1987 in DeVries’ extra bedroom, ASH operates 13 subsidiaries that offer health-and-wellness services to employer groups, health plans and insurance companies nationwide. Its Healthyroads unit, for example, provides a Silver&Fit “healthy aging” program to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.

The company reported revenue of $221 million in 2012.

Now based in the San Diego area, ASH plans to keep a presence there. The company moved its headquarters from downtown San Diego to the suburban Sorrento Mesa neighborhood in 2010, signing a 10-year lease for 189,000 square feet of space in two buildings.

ASH has appeared on Inc. magazine's list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the nation for five years running. It was ranked 4,842nd in the 2013 list.

DeVries said he plans to move to Carmel next summer, when his youngest son will begin studying at the Culver Academies in northern Indiana. DeVries also graduated from Culver, as did his two older sons.

The company expects about 50 of the Carmel jobs to be filled by current employees from Texas and California, including several top executives. Workers from a small office just across the Hamilton County line in Indianapolis also will move to Carmel.

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