Just a Minute with Jeff McKeown, President, Express Personnel Services

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

Address: 5605 Washington Ave., Suite #8, Racine

Web site: www.expresspersonnel.com

Industry: Staffing

Number of employees: Six full-time and two interns, plus more than 200 "associates" placed in Racine and Kenosha counties.

Company’s annual revenues: $3.4 million in 2005 and projected $5.5 million in 2006. ("Yes, we are growing like mad!")

Education: University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana, double major

in speech communication and political science.

Family: Married to Meredith for 10 years this month; daughters Reagan and Georgia.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year? 

"We made a conscious decision to go after top talent. We recruited Tim Letsch, who is one of the top staffing industry salespeople. Additionally, we have invested heavily in training by upgrading the skill set of our current employees. Between the infusion of new sales and energy that has come from the new skills our seasoned employees have gained, we have seen an explosion of positivity and professional growth in our office."

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year? 

"We’ve secured an additional 1,500 square feet of office space in our building and are separating our industrial staffing and our clerical and professional staffing offices. We are currently recruiting someone to manage our office services and professional staffing product lines. Again, we are attempting to hire a true star in the staffing industry to join our team as we continue to prosper. We are also expecting to hire at least two additional personnel supervisors for our industrial division to allow us to maintain our current and future growth."

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

"We are already facing some growing pains due to our rapid growth. Finding top talent to join our team is our primary challenge. As the labor market continues to tighten, finding the superstars is going to be even more of a challenge, not only for us, but for our customers. I don’t think people realize how the changing demographics in the United States – and maybe even more so in southeastern Wisconsin – are going to affect the labor force. Recruiting and retaining quality employees is going to require planning, investment and a strong commitment to taking care of your people. This is what we are focusing our energy on right now, both internally and with our clients."

Do you have a business mantra? 

"Help Others Succeed. At the age of 16, I was a high school dropout and was headed down a path that would have led me to nowhere but trouble. I was very fortunate to have one person who unselfishly changed my life by adopting and mentoring me. He helped me realize that I had potential and that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to. He helped me get back in school, eventually to the University of Illinois. Any level of success that I have been able to achieve has been because of this one person. I see it as my responsibility to do the same thing for others, whether in the community, our internal staff or with our associates. I believe that if we help others succeed, we will be successful ourselves. This is what we live by and what our business is built on."      

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to? 

"Robert Wright, owner of Allwright Moving Systems, Racine. Robert is a former truck driver who started with nothing. He worked for 15 years as a driver, placing nearly everything he earned into savings so that he could live his dream of starting his own company, which he did in 1991. He now owns and operates a very successful company.  He is living the classic American dream story, and shows me that with hard work, commitment and purpose, you can achieve anything regardless of where you come from." 

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

"Standing in a client’s office, I picked up a golf club and took a nice easy back swing, knocking off the sprinkler head, setting off the fire alarm and dumping over 13,000 gallons of smelly black water on the client’s desk, conference table, papers, Packers memorabilia and everything else you can imagine. The entire warehouse was shut down, the office had to be completely repainted and we had to replace nearly everything in the office. I now have the nickname ‘The Rainmaker.’"

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