University of Memphis Research Foundation Announces Grand Opening of Student-Operated Call Center

FedEx Signs on as First Customer

August 29, 2017 - The University of Memphis Research Foundation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, UMRF Ventures Inc., announce the grand opening of a unique, student-operated call center as part of an economic development initiative designed to provide real and transferable opportunities to students in the Memphis community.

In addition, the University announced that FedEx has signed on as the venture's first customer. Once operational, student employees at the support center will handle technical support calls from FedEx team members, including "first level" technical support, like phone configuration and basic application and computing device troubleshooting.

It is expected that the center will initially employ approximately 20 student agents from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, 365 days a year.

"Our first goal as an academic institution is to prepare our students for success after graduation. We know that students who study, live and work on campus are more engaged in the life of the University. This leads them to graduate faster plus have stronger GPAs," said UofM President M. David Rudd. "The UMRF Ventures call center at the FedEx Institute of Technology serves as a template for future opportunities that benefit our students. We welcome other businesses and nonprofit organizations to partner with us in innovative ways that utilize the skills of the best and brightest students in our region."

"We're pleased to mark the beginning of this innovative agreement between the University of Memphis and FedEx," said Robert B. Carter, executive vice president and chief information officer for FedEx Corporation. "We have a long-standing relationship with the University and believe that this venture will benefit the students, the Memphis community and FedEx."

Tom Kadien, CEO of UMRF Ventures, said, "This is the first of many steps on a journey toward creating opportunities for more students to earn good wages in a professional environment and to become the most competitive candidates they can be in any job market. Corporations like FedEx that invest in the future workforce with innovative programs like this know that they are contributing to the long-term success of their companies."

Chloe Sutton, a call center supervisor and master's student at the UofM, said, "This is an amazing opportunity for me to gain professional experience with one of the world's largest companies and it helps me pay for my graduate degree while doing meaningful work."

UMRF Ventures, FedEx and the UofM will celebrate the grand opening of the call center with a launch/media event Aug. 31 at 3:30 p.m. at the FedEx Institute of Technology. For more information on this event, contact mdawson@memphis.edu. For media information regarding UMRF Ventures, contact tomkdn56@umrfventures.com.

Mary Ann Dawson