Home » OPINION » Columns » ALAN TURNER — Carolyn Boteler of Tempstaff: One of Mississippi’s premier women entrepreneurs

ALAN TURNER — Carolyn Boteler of Tempstaff: One of Mississippi’s premier women entrepreneurs

ALAN TURNER

ALAN TURNER

If you ask the typical Mississippi businessperson to name the state’s largest employers, it’s likely that very few would include Tempstaff on the list.  However, as Carolyn Boteler, President of Tempstaff, told us recently, the company definitely qualifies as a major Mississippi employer.

“We issued about 4,200 W-2’s last year,” she said.  “We’re really proud of our growth, and we consider Tempstaff to be the top staffing company in Mississippi.”

Carolyn came to her entrepreneurial journey in a slightly different way than many do, who start companies and build them from scratch.

“I was working for the company that became Tempstaff,” she said.  “I guess I did pretty well at the job, because the owner at the time offered to sell me the company when he decided to do other things.  So I bought it, and he even helped me with the financing.”

Carolyn Boteler

Carolyn Boteler

That has propelled Carolyn not only to the top of the staffing world in Mississippi, but also makes her the owner of one of Mississippi’s top woman-owned businesses.

Born and raised in Mississippi, she told us she lived a very “sheltered life” in Florence growing up.  After working for Allstate, she eventually landed a job at the staffing company that would become hers down the road, and has never looked back.

Today, the company is organized into 4 different divisions: basic office support; light industrial; professional placement; and advanced office support.  Tempstaff was originally incorporated in 1981 and aside from the bump that everyone experienced during the housing and financial crisis, which had a major impact on jobs at all levels, the company has grown and progressed in a remarkable manner through the years.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” she said.  “I have a great management team, most of whom have been with me for more than 10 years.  We’ve build really great relationships through the years, and today, our customers have learned to trust us to make the right hiring decisions for their needs.”

She points out that no business can stay on top “without paying attention to doing things right”.

“We have a simple goal: to be the best at what we do,” she said.  “Sometimes that’s a challenge, and our business is definitely about multi-tasking.”

Carolyn loves Mississippi and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

“I love the people of our state,” she said.  “The quality of life is really great, and people care about each other.”

As have many companies these days, Tempstaff has switched to an online-based application process.

“That doesn’t mean that we have taken people out of the process,” she said.  “You’ll still interview with one of our staffing supervisors before you’re placed in a position.”

Tempstaff also conducts background and reference checks, along with a drug test, skills evaluation, and a full orientation process.  These are just some of the basics that Carolyn considers essential in order to match the right candidates with the right positions.

Of course, life isn’t all sweetness and light, and Carolyn points to the challenge to hers and similar businesses, that have come as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

“We decided to play ball on that,” she said.  “But I’m telling you, it’s a challenging and expensive process to meet all of the compliance and regulatory requirements.”

From her perspective, Obamacare was definitely “not designed for restaurants, retailers, and staffing companies”.

Her other challenge these days is dealing with what she sees as a “labor shortage”, particularly in the skilled labor areas.

“I think this is going to become acute as the baby boom generation retires,” she suggested.  “There simply aren’t enough folks coming up who can do some of those jobs, particularly in the skilled sense.”

One thing is for certain: with her experience, determination, and enthusiasm, if the people can be found, Carolyn will find them.  And that has made her one of Mississippi’s top women entrepreneurs.

A short video featuring Carolyn can be seen on our website, MSBusiness.com, or on our YouTube channel, mbjournal.

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at alan.turner@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1021.

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