Cathy Ringot and Kathy Cook didn’t know each other 25 years ago, when both women decided to gamble their futures, sight unseen, on Salt Lake City and jobs at Delta Air Lines’ new reservations call center.
Ringot was a Delta reservation agent living in San Francisco with her husband. Cook was a single mom in Atlanta with a 5-year-old daughter. She was an agent, too.
A quarter-century later, as they and 628 fellow employees mark the SLC call center’s silver anniversary, Ringot and Cook swear that uprooting their lives to move with Delta to Utah was the best career and life choice they could have made.
“I just thought that it would be exciting to be in a new office and would provide a great career opportunity,” Ringot, who rose through the call center’s ranks to become assistant director, said Friday. “I love it here. I’ve never second-guessed my decision.”
Cook was promoted to supervisor when she moved. Today, she’s a manager.
“I truly love Utah,” said Cook, whose daughter, now 30, gave her mother a grandchild last year. “It was a great place to raise my daughter and was a great opportunity.”
The call center on Salt Lake City International Airport’s north side is one of 14 reservation and customer-service centers that Delta has around the world. Kelly Marchant, who started at the center in 1990 and became director a few months ago, doesn’t think it’s politic to crow too loudly about its reputation inside Delta. But, based on the lines of business that have been assigned to it — reservation agents serve Delta’s highest-value business and discretionary customers — the center is “among the top,” she said.
One measure of its value to Delta is how much revenue the center produces for the world’s second-largest airline. Last year, Salt Lake City accounted for $318 million of close to $2 billion generated by the 14 centers worldwide, spokesman Russell Cason said. No other center produced more.
Cason said he didn’t know what the call center’s payroll is, so it’s hard to estimate its importance to Utah’s economy. But Delta’s role is significant. The airport serves as Delta’s westernmost hub. Total employment is 3,450 workers, including 600 or so pilots. Many, such as Ringot and Cook, are transplants from other states.
Located next to an enormous Delta aircraft maintenance hangar, the building housing the center is owned by the airline on land leased from the airport.
Delta’s Salt Lake City reservations call center, at a glance
Opened Sept. 8, 1987, at 3842 W. 1200 North, at Salt Lake City International Airport
350 employees from 18 other Delta Air Lines reservations centers transferred when the Salt Lake City center opened
630 employees work out of the facility today.
150 of those employees work at home
Salt Lake City employees generated $318 million in revenue for Delta last year