American Achievement growing HQ workforce in Austin

Austin-based American Achievement Corp., which just put all of its recognition and school-spirit products under the Balfour brand, is adding roughly 100 full-time employees in Austin in the latter part of 2010.

American Achievement will be hiring for positions in areas such as college and retail sales, marketing, IT, finance, human resources, manufacturing and customer service. The 100 figure includes some people who already have been hired, some hires that are in the works, some positions that remain to be filled and some positions that are not even on the HR radar yet.

“Balfour will continue to add new talent to meet the demands of our business, especially in technology, sales and marketing,” says Ann Broome, vice president of human resources at American Achievement.

Currently, American Achievement employs 510 people in Austin. All told, the privately held company has 1,800 employees in Austin; Dallas; Waco; Louisville, Ky.; Manhattan, Kan.; and Juarez, Mexico.

The career section of American Achievement’s website is being revamped, so Broome recommends contacting corporate recruiter Will Thomas at to inquire about job openings in Austin.

American Achievement makes and sells class rings, yearbooks, graduation products, varsity letter jackets, championship products, military products and affinity jewelry on school campuses and in retail stores. This week, American Achievement announced the marriage of its Balfour, Taylor Publishing, Powers and CB Announcements products under the Balfour name.

The company occupies a three-building complex totaling 166,000 square feet at 7211 Circle S Road in South Austin. A 28,000-square-foot building houses the executive staff as well as sales and marketing; a 25,000-square-foot building contains customer service, information technology and finance functions; and a 113,000-square-foot building houses manufacturing and support services.

American Achievement reported sales of $290 million in fiscal 2009.

Alyce Alston (photo) was named president and CEO of American Achievement in April. She is a former high-level executive at O, The Oprah Magazine; W magazine; De Beers Diamond Jewellers Ltd.; and The Reader’s Digest Association Inc.

In 2004, investment firm Fenway Partners Inc. paid $85 million to buy American Achievement from another investment firm, Castle Harlan Inc. Castle Harlan had owned American Achievement since 1996.

American Achievement’s competitors include Herff Jones Inc. and Jostens Inc.

To watch a video history of American Achievement, click here.

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