PACE's Back Story !

What we've been up to since 1975 and where we're going next.

Our back story is actually the story of the Northwest.
How we came to do things differently.
How we turned those differences into a company built to last!

Part 1 - Our beginning. We didn't start in a garage but were providing quality staff to the companies who did!

The PACE story began in 1975, when we made a promise to “make a difference.” Our story grows as we looked for ways to keep that promise every day since.  

Out of the gate our difference was easy to spot. We were one of the first staffing agencies in our local market to require the employer, not the candidate, to pay our service fees. At that time “placement fees” were calculated as a percentage of the employee’s monthly pay and were not an easy bite for someone looking for work to swallow. You’d have to have been there to know what a big deal it was for an agency to make this kind of change. To convince employers of the many ways our services were benefiting them and that, most importantly, to compete for the “best talent” they needed to step to the line and pay our fees. We said that over and over again, until it stuck.     

Today, employees paying fees for job placement today are unheard of, and we are incredibly proud of the role we played in that transition.  Our founders – two young female entrepreneurs in their early 30s – had a vision for what an employer-paid recruiting and placement service would do for the local staffing landscape – and it did!

Part 2 - Our growing years were all about finding new ways to deliver the employees Northwest employers needed in a fast growing rah rah economy. We made a difference by finding the right people at the right time!

While in the beginning PACE provided recruiting services for employers who were hiring direct,  by 1985 we knew our clients needed more. The temporary staffing industry was expanding and offering new solutions for employers who needed people to get work done NOW while staying flexible in terms of long term staffing commitments.     

Once again PACE lead the way by pioneering the “temp-to-hire” recruiting model, combining our expertise in recruiting and candidate evaluation with our ability to move quickly and flexibly. Our clients at the time were local start ups –  Microsoft, Adobe (i.e. Aldus) T-Mobile and others –  any company who needed a fast and efficient way to put a whole lot of people to work without the hassle of hiring direct.  

Our temp-to-hire model turned out to be the perfect solution – move fast, hire slow. This was a game changer in our local market.  

This was also the time when PACE became one of the first staffing companies in the nation to digitize our database of candidates and employers.   We were just geeky enough (okay naive enough) to be one of the first out of the gate. Our IBM System 36 came in a box – just waiting for us to explore the many ways it would change PACE and the staffing industry –  but that’s a whole other story.  Let’s just say it took PACE to a new level of making a difference.   

Part 3 - A new and rewarding journey into Enterprise level staffing - making a BIG difference!

By 2000, PACE was providing a variety of pretty sophisticated temporary and contract staffing services to local enterprise level employers. We had data to help them open their eyes to the recruiting power of temporary staffing and ways to optimize its cost saving potential.

And so, once again PACE was in a place where we could pioneer a new and innovative approach to staffing, this time focused on the needs of our larger, more enterprise level clients. We typically the call from a senior HR exec…

“You know that contingent staffing program you’ve got going over there with John’s group, we’d like you to create a similar program for all our hiring managers. We’ve simply lost track of how many contingent employees we have on staff and where they are, and what agencies are providing them. We want one way of doing things….and we like what you do. ” 

It didn’t take long for PACE to drive our own bus thru that opportunity, quickly launching what came to be called our MANAGED SERVICES program. The partnerships we created with specialized staffing companies to become part of those Managed Services became known as our NETWORK. We opened several in house staffing offices which became a ONE STOP place where hiring managers, vendors, and temporary employees could come for “all things staffing.”  

Needless to say our NETWORK, quickly became the “way to go” for several of the Northwest “bigs” – Intermec Technologies (now Honeywell), Group Health (now Kaiser Permanente), Children’s Hospital, and more. PACE grew to become a large regional player in the world of staffing, widely recognized for our ability to craft a truly customer centered service model.    

Part 4 - Today's PACE has returned to our roots!

Today we’ve reinvented ourselves once again – this time focusing our services toward the needs of small to midsized employers who rely heavily on great employees to drive success but don’t always have access to the tools or expertise it takes to compete for talent in today’s technology driven recruiting environment. 

Here’s why we chose to go back to our roots now…

The small to midsize employer has needs that we know well – it’s a space where we know we can make a difference and that those differences are highly valued. We saw first-hand how easy it is to get lost in the corporate style of large enterprise organizations where true vendor partners are a rarity. The larger our enterprise customers got (some becoming global) we knew our “make a difference” mission no longer fit.  

The big action in the employment scene is always where small and midsize companies hang out. Well over 50% of all new jobs come from small to midsized companies. It also didn’t escape our attention that the jobs created in smaller organizations are just a whole lot more interesting than working for one of the “bigs”. 

Small to midsized employers are always in gear to do something big. We’ve got the powerful recruiting tools and staffing expertise to help them go where they want to go. Whether an employer is a fast growing start up, or a brand that has already won its stripes, these companies need help getting the right people on their bus, at the right time, and in the right way – our roots!

The mission we set for ourselves back in 1975 – to make a difference – continues to inspire the PACE team today and  prompted us to return to our roots where we could stay local, privately owned, and in a place where we could always put our customers first. Internally, we’re transitioning a new generation of “make a difference” leadership making sure we never get stuck behind yesterday’s solutions!  We’re still geeky, ahead of the curve in our willingness to embrace what’s new on the technology front to give our customers an edge – but we’re proud of the fact we haven’t lost touch with what we’re really about – which is to make a difference!

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