Nearly fifteen years ago business associates and friends Steve Allen and Eugene Lupario had a crazy idea: “Let’s start a staffing firm.” I’m not sure which one of this dynamic duo actually came up with the idea, but seriously what business did two guys who sold wine for a living have entering into one of the most grueling, competitive, and at times downright “sucky” industries in the market?
Both neophytes in an industry that revolves around one-upmanship on tenure, they had to rely solely on their extensive sales and business experience as well as their individual entrepreneurial spirits to get the company, dubbed Silicon Valley Staffing Group (a.k.a. SVS Group) up and running. So armed only with their wits, know-how, incredible tenacity, unmatched integrity, drive to succeed (and – we should probably throw in a dash of “luck” – just for taste) Steve and Eugene not only accomplished what they set out to do, they became a force to be reckoned with!
As a testament to the blood, sweat, and tears they both shed during those first few years, SVS Group was the recipient of numerous accolades and recognition in the business community. In October of 2000 SVS Group was named the 50th fastest growing company in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times out of 150 companies listed. Also in 2000 they received recognition for being named as one of America’s Entrepreneurial Growth Leaders from Inc magazine by achieving 7,384% growth (yes that comma is supposed to be a comma and not a decimal point) over a five year period – from 1996 to 2000. In addition, in 2001 Purple Squirrel Magazine, a staffing industry specific publication (if you are in staffing, you know exactly what a purple squirrel is) ranked SVS Group #34 on the PS100 List.
After expanding their focus and carving a new niche for themselves in the banking and mortgage industry, SVS Group now works with some of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. and has offices in Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland/San Francisco and Sacramento – California, Phoenix, Arizona and Chicago, Illinois. Their expanding partnership with these institutions is the main reason behind gaining a presence in Los Angeles. So why expand to Southern California now, with a national unemployment rate of 9.7% and a state unemployment rate of 12.6%?
Eugene Lupario president of SVS Group responds by saying, “We’ve wanted to expand into the Southern California market for quite some time. A very important client of ours needed us to have a presence there, so the timing seemed perfect.” As many staffing competitors look to consolidate their locations and services, SVS Group has chosen to take a different approach. “We are not a cookie-cutter operation. We’re flexible. We can bend with the economy, with our clients, and with the industry. This philosophy is what allows us to expand and grow in what has become a very hostile employment market.”
Ryan Monsma, the recruiter heading up the Southern California efforts, will focus on building an applicant pool of primarily mortgage professionals (Underwriters, Loan Processors, etc). Ryan graduated from UC Santa Barbara and spent nearly ten years in the mortgage industry holding several positions, including Wholesale Account Executive and Branch Manager. Just prior to coming to SVS Group Ryan was a top producer for Wachovia Mortgage. This industry knowledge gives Ryan an edge in his recruiting of like-minded professionals.
Lastly, but certainly not least (or leastly- is that even a word? Anyway…) is the internal corporate culture that fosters loyal and tenured professionals. This is apparent in the fact that the average staff member has been a part of the SVS family for three years, when the industry average for tenure within one organization in staffing is about eighteen months. (Okay, so I have no formal data to back up those numbers, but I’m pretty sure that about 95% of the staffing community would agree those numbers are right on the money).
As Steve Allen co-president with Eugene, puts it, “Our Placement Specialists and Business Development Mangers enjoy working here because we empower them to make decisions on their own. Our people are provided with the tools to be successful and then it’s up to them to act on decisions that make sense for their respective markets. SVS Group prides itself on hiring top people and as such, we expect them to work hard and stay true to our values.” Never was a truer statement uttered. I can personally attest to this corporate culture that caters to people strengths while down-playing their weaknesses, thus allowing them to succeed in an organic sense, and not because they are pressured to do so. Being a staffing veteran myself with over twelve years of industry experience under my belt, I can tell you that is no small thing!
So what’s next on the agenda for the SVS brand? Los Angeles, baby!
San Francisco based staffing firm, SVS Group , finds that even in this difficult employment market, expansion and diversification are key components to long term success.
“Let’s start a staffing firm.”
Tempe, AZ (Vocus) March 25, 2010