Interview with NW Staffing Former General Manager
I sat down with former NW Staffing General Manager, Molly Kalomiris to chat about the legacy of NW Staffing Resources. I hope you’ll find the history and legacy of this company as delightful as I did!
Molly, what has your role been within the company, and how long were you with NW Staffing. Tell me the history of the company- how have you seen it change and evolve over the years?
Well, let’s start from the beginning! Dennis and Thorne, a husband and wife duo were executive recruiters out of San Francisco and decided to open a staffing agency in Portland. They recruited Patience, our first General Manager to be the head of the company and strategy meetings ensued. I remember they told me that many of those first meetings were on the floor of their hotel room, with papers strewn among them. In the spring of 1985, our first office building was opened in the Yeon Building in downtown Portland. Patience hit the ground running and got the business off to a great start. I came in 1989—at that time, our Downtown and Beaverton Branches were established.
I started as a temp in the front desk of a local footwear manufacturer. It was a very casual environment- which was so fun to work in. I went from a temp to a full-time employee as the Portland Personnel Coordinator. After a short break, I came back to NW Staffing and worked as a recruiter in the newly established Clackamas office. Soon after, I became the Branch Manager of Clackamas. In 1995, Patience retired, and our new General Manager, Mike, began. That year began a big growth spurt in the company. We opened offices throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California. From 1995 to 2000 we saw massive growth throughout the company and the various branches were thriving!
Then, in 2001, with the recession in full swing, we saw a decline in our business. The owners Dennis and Thorne sold the company to our current owner, Frank. He wisely slimmed down our branches and staff to revamp the company. In 2002, I moved to the position of interim General Manager and then never left! As the economy improved, so did our business. Branches became profitable and our vision of becoming a regional powerhouse was not far off and today our Branches are still thriving! Many of the employees that were with us in the early 2000s- are still here today- I think that speaks to our business and company.
Molly, tell me about what you feel your legacy was with NW Staffing, and what the legacy of NW Staffing continues to be.
Wow! I think one of my goals when taking on the position of General Manager, was to bring the company back to what it was when it started—the family feel that I so appreciated. I wanted a team of people who could work hard and have fun too. We are building more than just a business—we’re building lifelong connections to each other and our clients, which is the root of our company. I also love that as a staffing agency by virtue of what we do, we have the opportunity to help folks get a foot in the door where they otherwise might not have that opportunity. One of my favorite stories to hear is when a temp is placed at our client, and then later that same person is now the contact for our client. It’s so satisfying being a part of both our candidate’s and client’s success stories!
I think something that is really great about NW Staffing, is not only our low internal turnover rate, but our re-turnover rate. We’ve had multiple employees leave the company for various reasons and years later come back to work here because they knew that they were welcome! We may be a smaller agency than others, but I think that bodes well for us because we can really give our clients a local feel—we’ve established personalized customer service for our candidates and clients.
Molly has recently retired from NW Staffing and enjoys reading, playing tennis and spending time with her family. If you are interested in learning more about working with NW Staffing Resources, please reach out to us at www.nwstaffing.com