Carolynn Buchanan helps others find temporary jobs with her employment agency TempForce
Published: Monday, January 19, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 19, 2004 at 2:59 a.m.
In 1977, Carolynn Buchanan walked into an employment agency hoping to find a job and got hired on the spot. Eight years later she bought the place.
But employment agencies today are very different from when she started at Job Action.
"Back then, a person came in, we would get them a job and they would pay us a fee. It was an employers' market at that time," Buchanan said. "If you wanted a job, a lot of times you had to pay for a good job."
The industry started to change about the time Buchanan and her husband Gary were given the opportunity to buy the TempForce franchise in 1985, just as it was being offered to small employment agencies like Job Action.
Running her own company has required a lot of hard work, something that Buchanan knows well, coming from a farming family. She grew up in the Melrose and Hawthorne areas, the youngest of eight children.
"I grew up in a home where there were basic standards, basic rules. I always felt like it's important that people understand that what goes around comes around, and if you sow good you reap good," she said.
"My parents were hard workers. My dad farmed and was also a pipe fitter by trade," she said. On their trips into Gainesville, he would point out to her the buildings he had worked on, she said.
Being hired by an employment agency turned out to be the perfect move for her.
"This was an industry I was always interested in, and whenever the opportunity came for me to acquire this franchise, it was something that I prayed about a long time, and it was the best decision I ever made," Buchanan said.
She said she has always enjoyed helping people.
"There's probably no greater feeling than to know you've played a part in helping someone," she said. "I've seen so many people walk in my door that felt like their situation was hopeless. They did not even begin to recognize their value. They had no clue what their capabilities were."
So, it's no surprise that she and her eight employees find themselves wearing a lot of different hats.
"It's not like you just come in and put an application in and get sent out for a job. It's much more than that," she said. "Quite often you find yourself counseling individuals about the decisions they've made in their past work experiences, where they're having problems, what they need to change."
Buchanan's agency supplies a variety of needs for area employers, ranging from employees to sweep the floors to clerical staffing, production managers, engineers, comptrollers, and providing payroll services, human resources and more. In some cases, the temporary jobs lead to permanent positions for the employees, she said.
The agency also has bid for and been awarded contracts for services with most of the government entities in this area, she said.
For seven to eight years now, Buchanan's agency has handled payroll and employee background checks and drug-screening for C&S Building Maintenance Corp. in Gainesville, said CEO Tom Sperring.
"She's been a tremendous help to us, taking it off our shoulders and giving us time to do other things we're supposed to be doing," Sperring said. "Carolynn always went the extra mile - holding seminars and training classes for our people, wherever they may be, handling payroll for 530 people. Her whole office has always been at our disposal."
The types of services provided by agencies like Buchanan's are even more valuable these days because of the changing trends in the workplace.
"It has become a much more stringent process to hire these days," she said. "There are a lot more drug-free workplaces. Employers have liabilities now that they didn't have back then." So agencies like TempForce now offer a variety of additional services that include background checks, drug screening, reference checks and the like.
As for people seeking a job, Buchanan said she has found that supply and demand basically remain consistent in a variety of fields locally, including the medical field and in government entities.
Flexibility - the ability to change with the tide - is what Buchanan believes has helped her stay in business.
"We want to keep ourselves appealing to a new client base, so we've gone from just sending in someone to answer the phones, as we did 20 years ago, to such things as an outsourced human resource department," she said.
Aside from running her agency, Buchanan makes sure she has time for involvement in her church activities, time for her family and opportunities to enjoy a favorite hobby - antiquing.
"When we vacation, we like to travel the back roads and visit little towns and find neat little stores and neat little places," she said. Their most recent find is a large, heavy table of dark walnut which they got for $45. Laughing, Buchanan said the table's glass top, which they had custom-made locally, cost more than the table, which now graces her office at TempForce.
Doris Chandler can be reached at (352) 374-5094 or email@example.com.
married, two children
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Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." the Bible
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