The year was 1991. As the city of Knoxville was in the midst of celebrating its 200th birthday, Whirlpool Corporation celebrated its call center’s debut in Knoxville.

Whirlpool Corporation’s Knoxville office, located on North Peters Rd., began taking calls on Tuesday, September 3, 1991, with approximately 28 Whirlpool employees who had just completed an extensive five week training program to prepare them to meet the needs of the end consumers. The initial training program consisted of disassembling belt-driven washers and installing icemakers, to prepare the first training class to answer calls on the 1-800 Whirlpool call-in line.

Twenty-five years later, and with 20 employees who were staffed at the Knoxville facility from the first day, the Whirlpool call center now consists of 285 employees who are trained in credit, sales, and customer service, and assist trade customers as well as end consumers on matters relating to Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Maytag, Whirlpool, Amana, Gladiator GarageWorks and SWASH brands, by Whirlpool Corporation.

“Congratulations to our colleagues in Knoxville on this significant milestone,” said Jim Keppler, vice president, Integrated Supply Chain and Quality, for Whirlpool Corporation. “They represent the very best of what we mean by ‘customer service’. They consistently put our trade customers and consumers first, and make Whirlpool proud every day.”

Whirlpool Corporation has a long history of community support and employee volunteerism. “It’s been the company’s practice to support causes that positively impact the communities in which we do business,” Keppler continued. “Our team has been very active over the years by championing a number of causes to help keep Knoxville a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

To date, Keppler said, the Knoxville employees have logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours and have raised more than $64,000, which has been donated to a variety of organizations. Some of the organizations that the Whirlpool-Knoxville team partners with include: American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Whirlpool Corporation’s Veterans Association, Habitat for Humanity®, Boys and Girls Clubs of America®, United Way®, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, The Pat Summit Foundation, Cards for the Troops, Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries, Angel Tree, Stop Hunger Now, Coats for the Cold, Samaritan Place, Pride Network, Ladies of Charity Emergency Assistance Programs, Medic Blood Drive, Humane Society of Knoxville, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night, ALS Challenge, Random Acts of Flowers, Big Brothers, Big Sisters Bowl for K ids Sake, Be the Match and the American Red Cross.

In honor of the anniversary, Whirlpool will hold celebratory festivities for employees on Friday, September 9.

Shown above are employees who have been with the Knoxville facility since it opened in 1991. Front row (L-R): Connie Bales, Christy Oakley and Lisa Weaver; Middle Row (L-R): Christine Bruner, Elizabeth “Beth” Remble, Sarah Hylton, Dan Simonian, Joy Posey, Linda Rivera and Rob Inman; Back Row (L-R): Lester Baldwin, Kent Hatmaker, Kim Durham, LaVon Stinson, Rick Wolfe and Carl Rickels. Not Pictured: Christine Merickel, Kim Morton, Craig Parks and Ron Verlinde

September 1, 2016