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Founder Patti Penny and President Paula Adams
Founder Patti Penny and President Paula Adams

Knights Finalist: Penmac Staffing Services Inc.

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For more than 20 years, Penmac Personnel Services Inc. has been connecting Ozarks residents with employers through its temporary labor staffing services.

Penmac President Paula Adams said the company, which has grown to 27 offices in seven states with more than 900 clients, has become a bellwether of sorts for the health of the local economy.

“The economy starts in a downward swing (and) we’re usually the first to go, because businesses will release their contingent work force certainly before they let go of any of their permanent people,” Adams says. On the other hand, when economic conditions improve, Penmac’s business picks up.

“Businesses will start looking then at (temporary workers) to start building back up and use us as their blocks to start (rebuilding) their work force,” she says. “We’re usually a pretty good indicator of where the market is.”

Penmac has 127 employees in-house and employs thousands of associates, generating as many as 29,000 W-2 tax forms a year. The company posted $77.5 million in revenues in 2010, and Adams said 2011 revenues to date indicate the local economy is in a state of slow recovery.

“We had the best quarter this year we’ve ever had in the history of our business,” she says. “April started sliding a bit, May slid a bit and June (came) back up again. We’re still in this wave.”

Penmac, which was founded by Adams’ mother Patti Penny in 1988, assists job seekers by placing those without high school diplomas in GED classes and paying for the exam fees. The company also provides access to affordable transportation to those associates who need it.

“We’ve just tried to eliminate as many barriers as people have to see them successful in the job,” Adams says. “That has carried on throughout all of our organization as it’s grown.”

For its employer clients, Penmac also can step in and take care of human resources.

“Employers really like that,” Adams said. “We handle the drug screen, the background check, the orientation, the interviewing process. I look at us as sort of the middle man to the applicant, who’s looking for a job, and the employer. We bridge that gap between the two.”

Adams said Penmac’s services are particularly beneficial to the manufacturing industry, which comprises 85 percent of the company’s client base.

Though temporary staffing services were once a staple of the clerical industry, industrial companies began using more contingent workers about the time Penny opened the business, Adams says.

“I think she just opened the business at the right time,” Adams says. “With her desire and passion for the love of helping people and making sure they’re successful, it just blossomed.”

In October, Penmac launched its employee stock ownership plan, which gives ownership to the company’s entire work force for a shared profit, says Adams, who called the change an added benefit for the company’s veteran employees. Other benefits include health care and a 401(k) plan.

“We do have a lot of employees who are on long-term assignments,” Adams says. “A lot of those people will benefit from the ESOP the (most).”

Adams attributes Penmac’s success to dedicated relationships with its clients, employees and associates.

“We want to know about them. We send them things on their birthdays. We want to recognize if they do get hired on,” Adams says. “If (businesses) form a relationship with someone, then they’re going to stick with it, and we like that.”

From the 2011 Economic Impact Awards publication
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