PACE's Back Story !

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

Our back story is actually the story of the Northwest - the changes in our economic footprint, how we turned ourselves into a region built to last!

Part 1 - Our beginning. We didn't start in a garage - but we provided the people 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 - We grew by delivering the employees needed for a rah rah tech based economy. We made a difference by finding new ways to do that!

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 - We took a bold leap into the world of Enterprise staffing by creating a service model the "bigs" couldn't do without!

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 - we've returned to our small to mid sized business roots!

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

  • The needs for people experienced by small to midsize employers are needs we know well.  Its a place in the market where we could make a difference and be valued for what we do.   
  • We had seen first-hand how easy it is to get lost in large enterprise organizations where true vendor partnerships are rare.   The larger our enterprise customers became (some bought by global companies) the clearer we were that our “make a difference” mission no longer fit what these corporate customers needed.    
  • The big action in the job market always comes from small and midsize companies.  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 – a benefit we could pass on to our job seeker partners.  
  • Small to midsized employers are always ready to do something new or different.  We had the powerful recruiting tools and staffing expertise they need.  Whether they are a growing start up, or a brand that has already won its stripes, smaller companies need help competing against the bigs for top talent.   


In the end we decided our  “make a difference” mission  required 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’ve been busy transitioning a new generation of “make a difference” leadership, making sure we don’t get stuck behind yesterday’s solutions!  We’re still geeky enough to embrace what’s new on the technology front, but smart enough to not let go of our make a difference mission.  

Want to know more about PACE differences TODAY?

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