As Amazon grows, so does demand for Austin workers

Seattle-based Amazon has quickly grown its Austin corporate offices since launching in the Domain area in the summer of 2015, more than doubling their workforce to 350 employees and is currently on the hunt for more than 100 new workers.

The online retail giant has more 100 openings for positions at their Austin offices, which includes two floors of the Domain 7 building at 11501 Alterra Parkway, since moving there more than a year ago, said Terry Leeper, general manager of Amazon Austin.

“That’s some real growth,” Leeper said during a recent media tour showing off the company’s Austin digs. “That’s pretty nice.”

Many of the positions are tech-related and connected to development of Amazon’s online presence to its customers all over the world, Leeper said. And Leeper suggested that he could see even more job openings and growth ahead as the company’s Austin office operations increasingly take on the role as top Texas headquarter for the retail giant.

A check of Amazon’s Austin job website Monday showed more than 175 openings in the region.

The news is more proof that a major 2012 deal between the state and Amazon to promote the company’s growth here has yielded some impressive returns.

The news is more proof that a major 2012 deal between the state and Amazon to promote the company’s growth here has yielded some impressive returns.

Retail giant already met promised job creation and investment totals in the state by 2015, helping Texas add hundreds of millions in sales tax revenue.

Previously, Amazon said it would begin collecting sales taxes within 60 days and create 2,500 jobs in Texas and invest $200 million in the state by 2014.

In the summer 2015, the Internet retailer said it had more than 3,500 employees in Texas and made more than $300 million in capital investment in Texas, according to documents filed with the comptroller’s office.

With the growth of the Austin office, and addition last month of a new Amazon fulfillment center in San Marcos slated to hire 1,000 workers, the company’s Texas employee count could hit or exceed the 4,000-worker mark this year.

For his part, Leeper, a former Texas resident who joined Amazon Seattle five years ago after working with Microsoft, says he was bullish on building Amazon’s operations here.

“I went to my boss and said ‘we need to expand anyways, why don’t you let me go down to Texas and build out a big team for you?’” Leeper recalls. “I brought in the data on how attractive Austin is and the tech talent and the big universities here. It was kind of a no brainer.”

Leeper says he and his wife were anxious to return to Texas, where he grew up and attended Texas A&M University and remains heavily involved with the school’s computer science department.

“Seattle views Austin as really, really positively,” says Leeper, who leads nine teams for Amazon in Austin today, such as sales and customer support teams. “They’ve been very, very happy with how we’ve grown, how we’ve developed, who we’ve hired. So it’s been a really great experience.”

Amazon Austin went over the 100-employee benchmark by the time the company moved into its Domain space last year before reaching 350 workers today, Leeper said.

“The one in Austin is the big corporate office,” for Texas, Leeper said. “We can think big here.”

The Amazon Austin offices have a modern and spacious look similar to its Seattle home, but with local touches.

Along a space of open office spaces, dozens of smaller conference rooms and some break areas loaded with games, there are University of Texas and Texas A&M banners.

A worker cafeteria features metallic touches with picnic table seating overlooking the latest additions nearby, such as the new Nordstrom Domain Northside slated to open later this month.

The site marks Amazon’s largest corporate presence in Texas today, which also has a smaller office in Dallas.

“Some of this looks like Seattle’s offices, but we ”Texanized’ it, ‘Austinized’ it,” Leeper said. Looking ahead, “we’ve got a lot of investment areas (in Austin) so we are going to continue to grow those out.”

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