The new EY Client Service Delivery Center is located at 12707 Silicon Dr. in Northwest San Antonio. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

One of the world’s largest professional services firms celebrated the opening Thursday of its San Antonio client service delivery center, one of only three in the nation.

Ernst & Young (EY) hosted local officials and company leaders for the grand opening of its new Northwest Side offices, which started with only a few employees in July 2018.

Today, the EY client service delivery center employs 120 analysts and other professionals, with a goal to reach 500 in the next three years.

Located in Farinon Business Park near Interstate 10 and DeZavala Road, the EY center will support its clients from the financial services, commercial, and government-public sectors with services to improve business processes, manage risk, achieve cost savings, and maintain a competitive advantage.

“We’re really excited about the talent in this market,” said Bucky Feagans, managing director at EY. “All of us sitting here today are a testament to that talent and the work we do for our clients.”

Feagans said EY has been hiring recent graduates of local universities, veterans, and some experienced talent in the market, and giving them an opportunity for a career. “We’re going to take full advantage of that,” he said. “And how we’re going to do that is this is going to end up being our largest location, and we’re excited about that fact.”

The center is large enough to accommodate 900 people, Feagans said.

The firm’s other client delivery service centers are located in Alpharetta, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida. EY also has offices downtown in the Frost Tower from which 200 employees provide mostly insurance and tax services for the firm’s clients.

“Our service delivery centers are another workforce within EY,” Feagans said. “We’ve traditionally delivered work from the client site or in centers in other parts of the world.

“Now we’re setting up centers in the United States to deliver services to clients that need the services to either be delivered from the U.S. because of regulatory or privacy reasons, or client preference, or even follow the sun in terms of a full 24-hour cycle. Clients are demanding more of that because most clients are becoming more global.”

(From left) City Manager Erik Walsh, Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8), Bucky Feagans, Lisa Friel, Anthony Caterino, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Rich Jeanneret, and David McGee cut a ribbon at the grand opening ceremony of the EY Client Service Delivery Center.

In late 2017, City Council approved a six-year, 100 percent tax abatement incentive package for EY’s $8.5 million capital investment in the center here. The package, which also included a $309,000 Economic Development Incentive Fund (EDIF) grant for a commitment of 309 jobs, required EY to provide internship programs that support the City’s workforce development efforts.

In September 2018, City Council approved a second incentive package to establish a new branch of EY’s government and public sector practice at the same site. It included a $300,000 EDIF grant for up to 300 jobs.

The County also offered a tax abatement package valued at $249,000.

“We would have come here without any incentives,” Feagans said. “We knew we wanted to be here. There were other locations we were considering. The incentives really made [the difference] for us to come here. But we wanted to be here.”

Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8), County Judge Nelson Wolff, and City Manager Erik Walsh welcomed EY to San Antonio during the ribbon-cutting ceremony held in a ground-floor space of the EY building.

The opening of EY’s service delivery center comes a week after the announcement of three major manufacturing expansions in the San Antonio region.

On Sept. 17, Toyota announced it had selected San Antonio over its nine other U.S. plants for a $391 million expansion that will bring advanced manufacturing capabilities to its assembly plant and more supplier companies to the region over the next five years.

On the same day, one of its major suppliers, Aisin AW, also confirmed its plans to build a $400 million plant in Cibolo, which offered the maker of drivetrains, transmissions, and vehicle technology economic incentives worth nearly $10 million.

Two days later, the global truck manufacturer Navistar announced it would build a $250 million plant on San Antonio’s South Side.

“It’s a great thing for us to have a new business come to San Antonio, but it’s a whole different story when somebody that’s part of your family, that knows you intimately, backward and forwards like EY does and has for decades, to say, ‘We want to do more. We really like what’s here in San Antonio,’” said David McGee, executive chairman of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.

“That’s an entirely different level of endorsement. And it sends a huge message to the rest of the world.”

Shari Biediger has been covering business and development for the San Antonio Report since 2017. A graduate of St. Mary’s University, she has worked in the corporate and nonprofit worlds in San Antonio...