After more than a decade, ACS's first employee in Lexington, and one of its top executives, is on the move. Tom Blodgett, chief operating officer of the outsourcer's commercial operations, has been tapped for an assignment in Europe to bolster the company's presence there.
Replacing him here will be his Lexington colleague Connie Harvey, who is group president of the company's health care, payer and insurance operations. ACS handles a variety of outsourced functions, such as call centers and document processing, for businesses.
"One of the reasons the company was eager and willing for me to take the European assignment is, Connie is well-trained and ready to take on the additional responsibility," Blodgett said.
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Blodgett first came to Kentucky on a two-year assignment more than a dozen years ago, after Dallas-based ACS acquired the data-processing company First Image in London. Blodgett and his family settled in Lexington, and he commuted to London and First Image's other locations. He soon began to build ACS's operations in Lexington, which now has more than 3,000 employees, with more than 5,000 overall in Kentucky.
"Lexington and Kentucky have been very good to ACS," Blodgett said. "When we made the decision to buy First Image, I don't think we had any clue we would grow the business to where it is now.
"We've had support from so many here, ... and had good people who came to work for us. We've been good for Lexington, but Lexington has also been very good to us."
Blodgett will be based in London, England, as chief operating officer of European operations; he starts Nov. 1. ACS, which is now owned by Xerox, has long been established in Europe, with offerings including business processes and human resources services, but the company is looking to expand those and get more into government services, he said.
Meanwhile, the challenge for growth continues here in Lexington with Harvey at the helm.
"The challenges are the same, only four times as big," she said of her new role. "There continues to be a need for growth and supporting new customers and bringing innovation to our service offerings."
The four lines of business she will oversee account for more than 50 percent of ACS's revenue.
"Connie is probably our most skilled and talented group president," Blodgett said. "It was a pretty easy decision."
So will Blodgett head back to ACS's American operations in a new capacity after his two-year assignment ends, or will Europe turn into a decade-plus assignment like Kentucky?
"It could go on for a long time, but my wife and I are leaving four kids and 11 grandkids in the U.S.," he said. "That will probably be the issue that will win out and bring us back."