SAINT JOHN – The residents of Atlanta, Georgia, have a web-based service for hiring service people for home repairs, thanks in part to a research and development team based out of Saint John.
Georgia-based Pronto Pro has established a team of five people in a Saint John office, with plans to hire 20 more in the next four years with the support of payroll rebates from Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB), Pronto Pro’s Chief Technology Officer, Elad Shalom, announced Thursday at a press conference in their uptown office.
Shalom credited ONB for recruiting the company here and said the quality of the city’s workforce will enable them to stay here in the long run.
“[ONB] helped us understand everything New Brunswick and the City of Saint John had to offer,” said Shalom. “We appreciated the way they listened and responded to our needs. It’s a big reason we’re all standing here today.
The high quality of the workforce here in Saint John and across the province is another big reason. We are looking at big things in the months and years to come as we continue to expand across North America. As we do, our team here in Saint John is going to play an essential role.”
Shalom said the Pronto Pro Service is reliable, affordable and easy to use. The customer texts or e-mails a picture of what needs to be repaired. Pronto Pro then sends back a quote with a guaranteed price, and one of their 20 repair staff will be on the job less than 24 hours later.
The Saint John team members are responsible for the web-based application that enables people to get a quote and book the service.
Shalom said they plan to expand the service to other cities in the U.S., which will create growth opportunities in Saint John. They will be hiring more program developers here in New Brunswick and recruiting people from abroad when the job can’t be filled by someone already here.
“New Brunswick has a lot of talent in terms of IT. However, some fields are a bit more niche and in fields such as data mining we need to bring talent from other places,” said Shalom, who says they already have plans to hire people from Ukraine and Israel. “The point of bringing in this talent is it’s here to stay, so we’re growing the labour force here.”
The province will provide Pronto Pro with up to $345,000 in payroll rebates if the company creates 20 jobs over the next four years.
Brian Gallant, premier and regional minister for Saint John, said the government expects Pronto Pro to generate $722,540 in income taxes and contribute $5.8-Million to the province’s GDP over the next four years.
He said the labour force is there to support the growth of the company.
“We’re very pleased to be here today to announce that the company has chosen Saint John to be its headquarters for its IT [development work],” said Gallant. “The Saint John office will allow for further development of the Pronto Pro app as the business continues to grow.”
Saint John Mayor Don Darling, who spent 20 years in the construction industry, said the timing is right for a business like Pronto Pro.
“I know the space intimately and you are on the right track,” said Darling.
“To give you an example, my dear mom is in that Baby Boomer group, who needs help and needs work, who doesn’t know where to turn. How can I get someone? How can I trust them? Will they charge me what they say they will? I think [it’s] a perfect time to bring Pronto the marketplace.”