South Coast Today - The Standard Times

In Search of the Right Employees - Medical Software Firm Asks Colleges for Help
By Curt Brown, Standard-Times staff writer


Meditech is looking for 500 good workers, and it's hoping area colleges can help find them. The Westwood-based health care software vendor hopes to start construction around July 1 on its new $30 million facility at the former Kerr Mill site in Fall River. Kenneth Fiola Jr., executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, said Meditech will draw graduates from UMass Dartmouth, Bristol Community College and Bridgewater State College as well as schools in Rhode Island. Vice Chairman Lawrence A. Polimeno said Meditech hasn't asked for any tax breaks from the city of Fall River, but has requested help from UMass Dartmouth in recruiting the workforce for its new facility."We want Meditech to look at UMass grads when they look to fill their positions," said Dr. Antone C. Vieira Jr., executive director for corporate programs and partnerships at UMass Dartmouth. "Meditech has made a commitment to UMass grads with bachelor degrees. "They want problem-solvers and people with communication skills," Mr. Vieira said. Company recruiters are currently interviewing recent college graduates and college juniors to join the new facility's 500-employee workforce when it opens for business about 18 months after the start of construction.

Meditech, a privately-held company that had software revenues of $305 million in 2005, develops, installs and supports information systems for health care organizations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa. The company's clients include the Southcoast Hospitals Group, New Bedford; Jordan Hospital, Plymouth; Brockton Hospital, Brockton; Cape Cod Healthcare, Hyannis; Roger Williams Medical Center, Women and Infants Hospital, and Elmhurst Extended Care Facility, all in Providence.

Andrea M. Sinopoli, Meditech's supervisor of recruiting, and her staff of seven recruiters have hired 31 employees since January, and most of them are working out of Meditech's temporary office in the Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center on the former Kerr Mill site. "The pool is good," said Ms. Sinopoli. "The candidates are excited. We've encouraged them to research the company." She said the firm isn't necessarily seeking graduates with computer degrees. She said they are more interested in hiring team-oriented individuals with good interpersonal skills. Meditech is interviewing English, accounting and liberal arts majors who have the ability to learn their software. While a college degree is preferred, it is not required.

"The important thing is confidence," Ms. Sinopoli said. Ms. Sinopoli said a college degree is preferred, but not required. Salaries are expected to be in the $30,000 range, according to Ms. Sinopoli. Computer technicians will be paid in the low $40,000 range, and salespeople will receive salaries in the $50,000 range, she said. The new workers will join Meditech's total workforce of 2,500 employees who serve their worldwide client base of 2,500 customers.

All Meditech's facilities have many modern amenities for its employees, including a gym, a cafeteria with subsidized lunches for staff members, a daycare discount and laundry discounts. The firm also provides employee stock options, educational assistance, laundry services and annual cash bonuses.

Mr. Fiola said Meditech will build the facility on 15.62 acres, part of which is now occupied by United Textile Machinery.  In two separate deals, Meditech is acquiring the land to build a four-story, 122,000 square foot office building and a two-level employee garage. The Fall River Redevelopment Authority has taken United Textile Machinery's 4.62-acre site by eminent domain. The Redevelopment Authority and Meditech finalized an agreement on the property last month, after the health care software vendor and United Textile were unable to reach a deal. Meditech is acquiring the 4.62 acres for $1.6 million, according to Mr. Fiola. The $1.6 million purchase price was determined by an independent appraiser hired by the Redevelopment Authority when Meditech and United Textile couldn't reach an agreement. Meditech has the right to contest the appraiser's value of land. The Redevelopment Authority is working to relocate United Textile, which has about 10 employees, and Mr. Fiola said the property won't be transferred to Meditech until the relocation is completed. Sam Shapiro, the owner of United Textile Machinery, didn't return phone calls for a comment. Meditech also is buying an adjacent 11 acres from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency for $2.5 million, according to Mr. Polimeno, the company's vice chairman.

Mr. Polimeno said that when Meditech started thinking about expansion it became aware of the high number of staff members who lived in the southern part of the state. He said the firm was concerned that its employees couldn't afford a house in the Boston area and felt housing prices were cheaper south of Boston. When it narrowed its list of possibilities for expansion, he said, it included Springfield and Lawrence along with Fall River. He said the firm felt Fall River presented "the ideal spot" because it was close to the Fall River, New Bedford and Rhode Island labor markets. He said Meditech was impressed with the existing infrastructure at the old Kerr Mill site. He said the company is excited about the move and feels welcome to the community. He also feels Meditech will have a big impact on the region. "I think this is very, very important for SouthCoast. We're going to set the trend," he said.

Contact Curt Brown at cbrown@s-t.com
Date of Publication: April 02, 2006 on Page D01

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