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Arizona center will insource company innovation capabilities, contribute to state economy

GMITCHANDLER, Ariz. – General Motors is adding to its roster of Information Technology Innovation Centers with today’s grand opening of a facility in the Phoenix area.

The center, which will enable GM to in-source the company’s innovation capabilities and tap into a pool of new and experienced IT talent, joins innovation centers already operating in Warren, Mich., Austin, Texas, and Roswell, Ga.

Randy Mott, senior vice president, Global Information Technology & chief information officer, was joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening by more than 20 local and national elected officials including Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, U.S. Reps. Matt Salmon and Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona House of Representatives President Andy Biggs and Speaker of the House Andy Tobin. Approximately 500 facility employees also attended the event.

GM’s IT innovation centers are part of a companywide transformation to improve performance, reduce the cost of ongoing operations and increase its delivery of innovation. GM announced Chandler as the site of the company’s fourth IT Innovation Center in March 2013, and construction on the 170,000 square-foot center was completed in June this year.

“We have made significant progress transforming GM IT over the past 20 months,” Mott said. “The success of the Chandler Innovation Center is yet another important proof point that illustrates our progress.”

GM expects to hire a total of 1,000 employees at the Chandler Innovation Center over the next five years. Approximately 500 employees are employed at the facility, about 25 percent of whom are recent college graduates.

"The official opening of the IT Innovation in Chandler and the creation of about 1,000 high-paying, skilled jobs is great news for the local economy,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. “Today’s event speaks volumes about the business-friendly environment we have created in Arizona, including our high-tech talent and competitive cost of operating. I could not be prouder of our state and what this announcement means for the future of Arizona’s economy.”

Said Tibshraeny: "GM is exactly the type of technology employer we need in Chandler and in our state. The GM Innovation Center is a perfect complement to Chandler's Price Corridor, and furthers the city's reputation as a regional hub for innovators and world-class IT professionals."

GM Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Randy Mott discussed the ongoing makeover of the company’s IT operations and the 9,000 salaried employees globally insourced as part of the transformation.

Q1. What has GM learned through opening four innovation centers over the last two years?

A1.  It is all about attracting the best talent, whether it is recent college graduates or experienced professionals. Locating the four innovation centers strategically near top universities and places where the top talent works has given us a pool of the best of the best from which to draw. Recognizing that people don’t always want to move for that next job gives us an advantage because we are bringing that next job to them. GM chose the innovation center locations by looking at IT talent-rich areas that also offer a strong community, attractive cost of living, an appealing business environment and high-tech industry presence.

Q2. What were the challenges you faced during the development, building, staffing and now opening of the facility?

A2.  The facility in Chandler is the only one of the four innovation centers built from the ground up; the other centers in Warren, Mich.; Austin, Texas; and Roswell, Ga. are located in existing facilities. What surprised us is the overwhelming interest from students and experienced IT professionals to join the team. The pace of our hiring put us at capacity limits in the temporary location in Arizona while the permanent facility was being finished. We were worried about outgrowing the temporary facility too soon and losing our hiring momentum. We needed to bring in all the new talent possible to support the important work happening within the business while balancing space constraints against hiring opportunities.

Q3. How has recruitment and staffing gone thus far?

A3. In Chandler, our newest center, we expect to hire 1,000 employees over the next two years, so we are right on track. About a quarter of the first 500 employees working at the center are recent college graduates. The majority have come from Arizona State, University of Arizona, Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. Four of five IT majors at higher education institutions across the states are within a three-hour drive of a GM IT innovation center. Combined, the four centers have access to more than 7,000 students at more than 150 colleges and universities majoring in information technology-related fields. GM is targeting recruitment efforts at up to a dozen key universities within each geographic region. 

Q4. What has been the biggest surprise for you throughout the overall IT transformation process?

A4. With all the national coverage suggesting a high-tech employee skills shortage, we have experienced the opposite. It’s been a pleasant surprise how easy it has been to find, recruit and retain highly talented information technologists to work for General Motors.

Q5. The innovation centers were a cornerstone of your plan to remake IT at GM. How is the rest of the insourcing of IT work going?

A5. In terms of accomplishing our original objectives set out in 2012, we are at nearly 75 percent of our overall hiring goals across all four innovation centers. When we look at our transformation objectives and initiatives – doubling the speed of project delivery, tripling innovation, building enterprise data centers, creating an enterprise data warehouse – we’re more than halfway there.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

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