By Shelley Widhalm

From a pile of dirt to a “gorgeous facility,” Constant Contact’s new office building in Centerra is a reason to celebrate, said Dean Barber, vice president of development for McWHINNEY in Loveland. “I love the excitement Constant Contact brings,” Barber said.

Barber welcomed approximately 150 people at a ribbon-cutting Tuesday morning that recognized the official grand opening of the company’s first expansion beyond its corporate headquarters in Waltham, Mass. The company provides e-mail marketing and online surveys for 253,000 customers worldwide, mainly small businesses, associations and nonprofit organizations.

McWHINNEY led construction of the company’s 50,000-square-foot office building, 3675 Precision Drive, in the Precision Office Park at Centerra.

The building, which was under construction from July 2008 to February 2009, includes a training room and several conference rooms, along with work space for staff to provide customer support and direct sales.

“The building is beautiful,” said Gail Goodman, chief executive officer of Constant Contact, who came out for the ribbon-cutting. “It has the right combination of both a welcoming work environment and all of the modern tools we need to invest in our work force.”

As of Monday with another eight hires, the staff numbered at 63 employees and is expected to reach 100 by the end of the year, Goodman said. The building has a capacity for 400 employees, she said. (The Waltham facility has 456 employees.)

Gary DiNitto, a technical support employee who transferred from Waltham to Loveland in June, said he likes that the Loveland facility doesn’t look like a call center.

“I like the lighting in the building,” DiNitto said. “The windows are large, and it has a great view, obviously.”

Constant Contact selected Loveland primarily for the quality of work force it offers, Goodman said.

“We needed a lot of fantastic people who are educated, personable and energetic,” she said, adding that the Northern Colorado region has several Cole.Evansges and call centers that made it an attractive area in which to locate.

Carrie Coyne, volunteer coordinator at Hearts and Horses Therapeutic Riding Center in Loveland, can attest to the quality of customer support the nonprofit organization has received since signing on with Constant Contact in July 2006.

“Whether I’m calling on the phone or doing a live chat, the person I’m talking to is personable,” Coyne said. “It’s very clear they put a huge amount of effort into making the customers feel important and supported.”

Loveland Mayor Gene Pielin proclaimed Tuesday as Support Small Business Day to bring awareness and support to the region’s small businesses, such as those served by Constant Contact.

“We appreciate every day when you think of our small businesses, support our small businesses and buy from our small businesses,” Pielin said during the ribbon-cutting.

The Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp. in Loveland already supports Constant Contact as a customer, said Maury Dobbie, president and chief executive officer, who also spoke at the ribbon-cutting.

“Constant Contact is a brand name” that can attract other employers to the region, Dobbie said.