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Utah phone-survey firm is expanding in Rexburg

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REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — A Provo-based company that conducts telephone surveys and other research for businesses nationwide is adding at least 88 jobs to its call center, citing Ricks College's imminent transition to a four-year school.

"We've already hired 40 people," said Ben Goodson, manager of the new Western Wats Inc. division, Rexburg's third. "We're hiring as many people that walk through the door that we can work with."

Goodson said the high-quality work force that already exists in the community should continue to expand as Ricks College becomes Brigham Young University-Idaho this fall. The school's enrollment is expected to rise from about 9,000 to more than 14,000 by 2005.

The new Western Wats division involves business-to-business research, in which a company's clients try to find other businesses to work with.

"When we started a month ago, we expected to be doing about 125 hours" of calls per day, "and we're up to 200 hours per day," he said. "The division has been extremely successful."

The company's two other Rexburg divisions concentrate on business-to-client research, in which customers are asked to complete telephone surveys. A similar division operates from Idaho Falls.

Western Wats employs more than 1,000 people at 13 call centers throughout the West, primarily near college and university campuses.