Home » OPINION » Columns » ALAN TURNER — PEOPLE LEASE: A Mississippi success story

ALAN TURNER — PEOPLE LEASE: A Mississippi success story

ALAN TURNER

It’s always inspiring to learn about business success stories in Mississippi. Our state has many successful entrepreneurs who have made a strong mark in the Mississippi business environment. People Lease is one of those.

Recently, I talked with Ken Lewis, Director of Operations for People Lease, which is headquartered in Ridgeland. Born and raised in Mississippi, Ken spent 8 years in the Navy and attended Mississippi State University before joining the business founded by his father, Larry Lewis.

So, what does People Lease do?

“Well, in a sense, you might think of us as the personnel department for our client companies,” Ken told me. “Essentially, we handle the challenging back office tasks associated with employee administration, thus removing a lot of the burden associated with the endless detail of HR administration and compliance.”

  Ken’s father, Larry, essentially created the employee leasing industry in Mississippi, and today is one of the leading back office service providers in the U.S.

Ken Lewis

Larry Lewis

I asked Ken to explain some of the services provided by People Lease.

“ The services we offer are pretty comprehensive in the HR arena,” he said. We handle payroll, employee benefits, government compliance issues, insurance, workers’ comp, and other important services.”

From Ken’s perspective, businesses today face many challenges related to employment. Government regulations are continually changing, technology is evolving rapidly, and it’s often difficult for smaller businesses to keep up with.

“We handle many smaller businesses, ranging in size from 15-20 employees, in addition to companies that have hundreds of employees,” he told me. “We issue 8,000 to 10,000 paychecks every month, and administer benefits, insurance, and other vital aspects of HR.”

In told, People Lease currently works with more than 400 clients in 12 states, and manages an insurance agency in addition to it’s other business. The provide administrative services for over 4200 employees.

“It takes determination and careful management to handle this kind of responsibility,” Ken said. “We’re proud of our track record when it comes to accuracy and professionalism”.

I asked Ken where they’re looking to take the business in the coming 5 years.

“We fully expect to grow,” he said. “We see many opportunities with the increasing challenges businesses face these days, and we’re confident we can bring the right solutions to the table.”

One of the challenges has to do with cyber-security.

“We have to constantly keep our gloves and guard up”, Ken said. “Keeping these important records and data safe and secure is obviously vital, and our job is to keep up with the technology and systems to insure that safety.”

Since Ken and People Lease are active and involved with many clients in a wide range of business categories, I asked him how he sees the Mississippi economy at present and in the years to come.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress in Mississippi,” he said. “I also believe that the economy will continue to strengthen in coming years. We’re definitely seeing job growth, but a continuing concern from my point of view is that we’re not seeing the accompanying wage growth. I think the key to economic growth is in stimulating that wage growth.”

 

 

Does he have advice for younger people looking to start careers?

“For my part, I certainly wouldn’t overlook a career in the trades,” he said. “There is a shortage of skilled labor, and the earnings opportunities in many of these trades are equal to or stronger than the average college graduate has. I’m definitely a believe in great trade education.”

It certainly seems that the increasing burdens of government regulation at all levels, and the need for companies to operate efficiently, will help to support continued growth for People Lease. Ken Lewis is looking for a bright future in that regard.

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

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About Alan Turner