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FEATURE | CiCi Awards (Continued from page 79) Not only did the state retain its largest Fortune 500 headquarters, it convinced CenturyLink to expand twice—in 2009, creating 350 jobs, then again in 2011 with a headquarters office expansion of $30 million-plus, creating nearly 800 more new jobs averaging $65,000 in yearly salary plus benefits. CenturyLink will employ nearly 3,000 people in Louisiana by 2016 and be re-sponsible for generating approximately 7,400 direct and indirect jobs in the state, most of them in or near Monroe. CenturyLink’s expansions came on the heels of several difficult economic blows for Monroe. In 2005, it lost the 1,100-job State Farm Insurance regional operations center; in 2007 Monroe lost a 600-employee auto headlight manufac-turer; and in 2009, an International Pa-per mill in neighboring Bastrop, part of the Monroe metro area, closure led to 550 more jobs lost. CenturyLink, Inc. “I hate to think what it would be like here if we lost them [CenturyLink],” said Dwight Del Vines, former president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. “It would be a devastating loss…The entire ProEnergy Services 80 | T RADE &I NDUSTRY D EVELOPMENT | M ARCH /A PRIL 2012

City of Douglasville Development Authority

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