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Industry leader Vizio expands in North Sioux
From left, Vizio founder William Wang, Gateway co-founder Ted Waitt and former Gateway executive Dave Russell, a Vizio board member, appear at a May event in North Sioux City celebrating the grand opening of Vizio Direct's new sales and marketing center. (Photo by Tim Hynds)

DAKOTA DUNES -- Flatscreen TV leader Vizio last weekend moved its online sales office from North Sioux City to neighboring Dakota Dunes.

Vizio Direct's 50 local employees now work in the Tyson Fresh Meats building at the Dunes.

The 10,000-square feet of office space, with an option to lease more, allows Vizio to expand its Siouxland operations. By year's end, the company, the nation's best-selling brand of LCD TV, hopes to double its local workforce.

"We just wanted a facility that was going to be conducive to our overall growth and image," Rob Brinkman, vice president of operations for Vizio, said Tuesday.

To great fanfare, Vizio Direct last May celebrated the opening of its new sales and marketing center, located in one of the cow-spotted buildings on Gateway's former campus in North Sioux City.

Gov. Mike Rounds, Vizio CEO William Wang and Gateway founder Ted Waitt were among the dignitaries to attend the event.

Wang said he brought the center to the southeast South Dakota city at the advice of Waitt, who is also a Vizio investor.

Wang began selling monitors to Gateway in 1989, and later served as a consultant for the computer maker as it expanded into selling large-screen TVs in the late 1990s. After Gateway exited the consumer electronics business, Wang branched out on his own and formed Vizio, which is headquartered in Irvine, Calif.

The company's southeast South Dakota offices handles calls from customers buying products and services from Vizio's Web site.

The local office, which started with a staff of 25, has doubled that number in less than a year.

Vizio Direct, which has openings in sales, technical support and customer service, sent recruitors to Tuesday's Spring 2010 Expo, a career fair sponsored by the Journal and Yahoo hotjobs.

Vizio's office is on the first floor of the Tyson Fresh Meats building, which was built as the headquarters for IBP Inc. Since buying IBP in 2001, Tyson has leased some of its vacant Dunes office space to other companies.

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