June 05--In the 20 years that Geico has been in Stafford County, its employee base has steadily increased. The company plans to grow even more this year.
Nancy Pierce, Geico's regional vice president, said on Wednesday that Geico's office in Stafford plans to hire 350 more employees by the end of this year.
Geico officials said they also plan to hire more in coming years, with most of the hires hopefully coming from the local area.
The largest private employer in the county, Geico started out with 700 associates in its Stafford facility 20 years ago and now employs more than 3,500.
Geico, which is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, has more than 31,000 associates nationwide and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurer in the country.
The hiring announcement came during a celebration of the company's 20th year in Stafford. Geico moved into its $34 million, five-story regional office off U.S. 17 in 1994.
"There was really nothing out here when we got here," said Bill Roberts, president and chief operating officer of Geico.
On Wednesday, company officials rededicated the site in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"Who could have predicted the growth?" Pierce said. "I think we made the right decision to plant our flag here."
Local and state representatives helped Geico mark the milestone.
Stafford Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Cavalier and Vice Chairman Gary Snellings heaped praise on the volunteer efforts of Geico's employees and the contributions that the company has made to Stafford over the years. The lack of praise that the company asks for in return for their efforts, Snellings said, represents integrity.
"Every bit of economic development information we send out has Geico on it. You are the pacesetter for us," Cavalier told a crowd of mostly Geico employees.
State Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford, lauded the company for its support of the Special Olympics in Stafford.
"I hope I can come celebrate another 20 years," Stuart said.
During the event, the company donated $1,000 to Stafford public schools' fine arts programs and $30,000 to Stafford's 350th anniversary efforts.
The county, in turn, surprised Geico officials by presenting the company with its first-ever Cornerstone Award, given to a company that has a large economic impact on the county.
Vanessa Remmers: 540/735-1975
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