Spherion Announces 2023 National Award Recipients

One of our favorite traditions at Spherion Staffing is our annual awards program. The Spherion National Awards recognize franchisees and colleagues who have achieved high performance levels through strategic planning and consistent processes. These teams are fully committed to growing not only their business but those in their communities. They live out our Spherion values of local investment, insightfulness, engagement, and resourcefulness. 

At this year’s awards ceremony in Fort Worth Texas, each honoree took the stage to receive their award under the event’s umbrella theme of “Giddy Up and Grow.” These top performers have not only taken the reins of their local business but galloped towards excellence in all the ways that make us proud to have them within our Spherion community. 

We are proud of all of our team members and their accomplishments. Here are the 2023 Spherion National Award Winners:

President’s Award Winner: Austin Kassner

Austin Kassner, a new franchisee in 2022, continued his predecessor's winning ways to end the year with a keen awareness of local market trends and business opportunities, a disciplined pricing strategy, investments in colleague engagement, training, and development, attention to high-quality standards, and a pure passion for bettering the community they all call home. These practices added up to another year of impressive results.

In 2022, his Madison and DeForest, Wisconsin offices’ revenue grew by 15%, and earned bronze circle revenue status. An increase in direct hire placement and temporary staffing demand in addition to new client acquisition, contributed to growth. In addition, they received consistently high marks for quality customer service and earned a 4.8 average Google rating from online reviewers.

President’s Award Winner: Tammy Feaster

In 2022, Tammy Feaster added another year of exceptional year-over-year growth to an already impressive track record. She maintained a competitive edge in an ever-evolving market. She continued to inspire and motivate her team to work with excellence every day with an unwavering eye on achieving their goals with a bit of friendly competition mixed in for fun. 

With a vigilant eye on all aspects of her business, Tammy quickly pivoted and adapted in the face of a financial challenge with one of their biggest clients and employed a back-to-basics re-training strategy with their colleagues. She maintained a diverse portfolio of business with on-premise partners and a strong direct-hire focus. Her hard work in 2022 resulted in 21.7% year-over-year revenue growth and 22.4% GP growth on top of record-breaking growth from 2020 to 2021. We were thrilled to see Tammy earn a coveted Franchisee of the Year Award at this year’s International Franchise Association Convention.

President’s Award Winner: Angela Swarts

In 2022, Angela Swarts achieved impressive growth results by being patient, persistent, and strategic with new client acquisition. Angela and her team secured more than one dozen new clients while increasing demand from their current client base by proving the value of Spherion’s staffing services. As a result, Spherion Augusta grew revenue 41% and gross profit by 33% compared to 2021. Furthermore, the Augusta team increased their online reputation rating to 4.9/5 stars on Google through an incredible 402 reviews. Congratulations to Angela and the team!

President’s Award Winner: Jill Berg, John Funk, and Karen Witzel

Jill Berg, John Funk, and Karen Witzel are our Bismarck/Fargo/Sioux Falls franchisees who recognized that when market conditions change, you gotta pivot. And pivot is what these franchisees did! With one of the country’s consistently lowest unemployment rates in all of their territories, these franchisee owners recognized that direct hire placement would be the most successful way to fill open roles for their clients. By doubling direct hire placement revenue and acquiring an impressive number of new clients, every one of their four offices realized growth. Congratulations to Jill, John, and Karen!

President’s Award Winner: Sabbath and Edem Ekene

In 2022, Sabbath and Edem Ekene realized the results of executing their business plan for Brazoria, Chambers and Galveston counties in Texas. By adding new clients and diversifying their portfolio to include clients in distribution, logistics, and manufacturing, they increased revenue by 80%. And in response to client and market demand, they also significantly grew the direct hire placement portion of their business by 245%. The pair is a powerhouse of online engagement: Their consistent updates about the local job market, job search and staffing advice, and reliable responses to online reviews earned them a spot in Reputation’s exclusive 800 Award circle and a 4.9 Google rating. Edem was also elected by his franchisee peers to Spherion’s Franchisee Advisory Board. Congratulations, Sabbath and Edem!

President’s Award Winner: Denise Pavona and Daisy Lilley

Denise Pavona and Daisy Lilley have quickly made a name for themselves in their Raleigh-Durham market. They have been hyper-focused on community involvement, social marketing, networking and very targeted, aggressive recruiting and business development efforts. In 2022, these 3-year-strong franchisees achieved impressive growth results by increasing revenue 94%. They were recognized by Expertise.com as a top Employment Agency in their market, received Reputation.com’s 800 award and averaged a 4.8 Google rating. Denise was a contributing member of the Franchise Advisory Board in 2022, and both continue to graciously share their experiences and wisdom with potential new franchisees.

President’s Award Winner and Owners of the Year: Jay & Don Jr. Ruggery

This President’s Award goes to Jay & Don Jr. Ruggery of Pennsylvania, who said that their 2022 strategy was getting back to basics. At a time when others froze in their tracks, they doubled down and stayed focused on executing their business plan. They ignored those who said that no one wants to work and held on to their mantra of, “there’s a job for everyone and someone for every job.” 

After being in the business for more than 30 years, these second-generation franchisees still continue to innovate and seek out new ways to do things. They invested heavily by adding an additional county and purchasing one neighboring franchisee’s market followed by the purchase of another small staffing company in the same year. But their growth came not only through acquisition. 

In 2022 they hired a social media director for the first time and continued to streamline their leadership structure. They continued to advocate for competitive pay for their candidates and successfully increased their average pay and bill rates. They diversified their sales pipeline and had their best year ever in Direct Hire! They always have clear goals. As they recently reflected, “It’s not always easy but you always have to envision it!” Their focus and ongoing commitment to growth are reflected in their results. The duo grew by almost 25% in 2022 to surpass a new revenue milestone! 

Continuing a legacy started by their late father, Don Ruggery Sr, we congratulate Jay Ruggery and Don Jr. Ruggery.

General Staffing Office of the Year Award Winner: Madison, WI

In 2022, the Madison, Wisconsin office achieved extraordinary revenue growth. Through a major leadership change in their organization, they remained focused on executing on their business plan and seeking new ways to go above and beyond to help their candidates and clients. They added new clients and aligned their recruiters to skill set specializations to increase client wallet share through exceptional service excellence and close client partnerships. This formula for success resulted in an impressive year-over-year growth rate of 42%.  

Congratulations to the general staffing office of the year—Madison Wisconsin—and franchisee Austin Kassner!

On-Premise of the Year Award Winner: Jay & Don Jr. Ruggery

This award recognizes the on-premise operation with the highest increase in revenue dollars over the prior year. The 2022 award goes to Jay and Don Jr. Ruggery. In 2022, their on-premise had the highest revenue growth of all Spherion on-premise locations. This is even more impressive considering the volatility of this global client during a contract renewal year when many were being laid off at the client site internationally. The Randstad business partner for their account praised the delivery team for pulling out all the stops to meet every client requirement and commended the leadership and on-premise team for their investment boost and stellar communication cadence with the client during a critical project last year. The Randstad Sourceright MSP was on the hook to deliver a winning solution and they say that the Spherion partnership in this franchise market was the winning solution! 

Direct Hire Market Area of the Year Award Winner: South Bend, Indiana (Scott & Eric Overmyer)

With an unemployment rate of less than 2% in an area with a high percentage of manufacturing, trade and transportation employers, Scott and Eric Overmyer recognized that the way to fill jobs and put people to work was not the traditional temp-to-hire method. They advised their clients that direct hire was the winning strategy. And so it was! This market had the highest direct hire revenue growth over 2021. Congratulations to the South Bend, Indiana market!

Rookie of the Year: Brock Wicker

This award goes to a new franchisee whose first office opened within the past 18 months and who has grown strategically, exemplifies the Spherion culture, leverages local, and consistently applies Spherion process and training. 

This year’s honoree, Brock Wicker, started a whole new career in the Louisville, Kentucky staffing and recruiting market in 2022. He was used to being on par in his previous industry so intentionally immersed himself into this business to learn it from the ground up. He scored a hole-in-one by hiring an experienced staffing consultant with onsite management experience from a nearby market which helped him launch quickly.

His results were extraordinary for a new owner: He launched his first customer the first month of opening and landed more than a dozen new accounts by the end of the year. Within 5 months of opening, Brock and his team had recruited enough temporary associates to enable them to expand to a second location across the Cincinnati River in Jeffersonville, Indiana! His hard work paid off when he reached profitability on his commission statement in his second month. Brock had the “round of his life” last year. Congratulations!

Sales Excellence Award Winner: Denise Pavona & Daisy Lilley

The Sales Excellence Award winner’s achievements may include exceptional sales results by applying sales training, developing team members' sales talent, and developing a highly innovative idea contributing to growth. This year’s winners, Denise Pavona and Daisy Lilley, truly exemplify sales excellence. 

They developed a strategic business plan, including a marketing and sales plan, focused on significant growth. They amplify all national marketing programs locally to support their sales effort. They added a second business development leader and trained their sales team on Spherion’s gold-standard sales process. As a result of sales excellence, their team grew revenue by 94% in 2022. 

Most impactfully, Denise and Daisy sell creative and innovative solutions to address the specific challenges their customers face, which landed them a new on-premise program. They manage their entire team’s activities and results to the metrics and to their business plan. Congratulations to the entire Spherion Raleigh team for a job well done! 

Recruiting Excellence Award Winner: Georgia & Michael Meeks

The Recruiting Excellence award winner’s achievements include exceptional recruiting results, application of innovative recruiting methods, developing team members' recruiting talent, and development of a highly innovative idea contributing to placements.

This year’s winners, Georgia and Michael Meeks, used new and innovative plus tried-and-true recruiting methods to drive growth. These franchisees adopted the business process, developed a strategic recruiting plan and fully embraced new productivity software. They aligned recruiters to individual specialized skill sets to increase pipeline and placements while diversifying resources and strategy. 

All of these efforts resulted in growth! They sourced more than 12,000 candidates, increased revenue by 6%, and direct hire sales by an impressive 49%. Congratulations Georgia and Michael!

Marketing Excellence Award Winner: Beth & Mark DeLaney

We’re proud to debut an award that’s been a long time coming: the Marketing Excellence Award. Marketing is a critical priority to achieve success. This year’s honorees know the importance of investing, innovating, and embracing marketing initiatives that connect with job seekers and employers while building brand awareness and equity in their market.

The inaugural award recipients, Beth and Mark Delaney of Spherion Mid-Ohio, are the epitome of investing strategically in marketing, with an incredibly dedicated team that works together to deliver impressive results, including a 4.9 Google rating and 816 reputation score last year alone.

This franchise champions innovation, eagerly embracing marketing campaigns, trends & strategies, including amassing 2.4M views & 80,000+ followers from just one TikTok post, and securing press coverage that generated more than 180 million impressions.

The Delaney’s award-winning team is a pillar of involvement, creatively engaging with their community at events, devoting countless hours coaching students on valuable life skills, and consistently thinking outside of the box in ways that are meaningful, effective, and, above all, inspirational. 

Service Excellence Award Winner: Marme Kopp

Spherion’s Service Excellence Award winners consistently deliver exceptional service with proof points including CUE scores, Google ratings, and reputation scores. They also demonstrate a commitment to continual improvement. Marme Kopp of our Jacksonville, Florida office achieved some impressive results:

  • With a CUE satisfaction survey response rate of over 10%, they had an overall CUE and “Would you recommend Spherion?” score of 4.7
  • A reputation score of 894
  • An average Google rating of 4.8 
  • And an impressive 97% quality assurance score

The Spherion Jacksonville team is also committed to continuous improvement. Marme and her team slice and dice performance data in multiple ways to get to the root causes of issues and drive improvement. Their dedicated efforts show in client and candidate satisfaction! Congratulations on your success, Marme!

Safety Excellence Award Winner: Phil C, Phil L & Marlene Frassinelli

Our corporate risk management team has named Phil C., Phil L., and Marlene Frassinelli as the winners of the 2022 Safety Award based on their outstanding safety record, as well as the partnership that the franchisees have nurtured with the risk team. 

The Frassinellis have made their corporate safety manager an unofficial extension of their sales team, involving them in the early stages of the sales process to ensure that they acquire new business without increasing exposure. Winning the Safety Excellence Award when over 95% of your business is light industrial is no easy feat, but these franchisees were able to grow their business by over 10% and reduce their light industrial frequency from 9.61 in 2021 to 4.08 in 2022, even with more than 441 thousand hours of light industrial payroll. They work diligently with the corporate risk team to develop solutions that allow their clients to make work modifications to minimize or eliminate risks, continuing their tradition of selling, servicing, and partnering with risk in mind. Congratulations!

Carol Peters Spirit Award Winner: Michael Chalmers

Michael Chalmers of Spherion in Byron, Columbus, Dublin, and LaGrange, Georgia, plus Madison and Montgomery, Alabama, consistently exemplifies the Spherion values within the Spherion community. In support of his commitment to our shared goals, he has a generous spirit and is always willing to mentor and advise others. 

As a trusted advisor to other franchisees, he is always willing to host others in his market for training and knowledge-sharing. He consistently fosters collaboration and establishes long-term relationships with all Spherion stakeholders. He can always be counted on to embrace change and innovation to stay ahead of the curve. This past year, without hesitation, he quickly rallied their team and invested his time and resources to help make a swift and seamless transition in one market. Michael’s energy and enthusiasm are contagious and some might say that he radiates the Spherion brand from head to toe. Congratulations, Michael!

Direct Hire Recruiters of the Year

These top recruiters achieved the highest levels in direct hire billings in 2022. Congratulations to:

  • Delana Sevier (Owatonna, Minn.)
  • Leigh Nelson (Fargo, North Dakota)

Contract Recruiters of the Year

These winners effectively identified and attracted top candidates. They embraced new and traditional sourcing methods and skill-marketed candidates. They built strong relationships with both hiring managers and candidates while delivering results that helped their clients achieve their business objectives. And, these activities led to their outstanding results. Congratulations to the following colleagues:

  • Kelsey Quint (Owatonna, Minn.)
  • Tim McCoy (South Burlington, Vermont)
  • Sarah Ross (Midland, Mich.)

Business Developers of the Year

These individuals are our top colleagues with the highest gross billings from new clients from July 4, 2022 to January 1, 2023. Congratulations to:

  • Paige Wrenn (Indianapolis, Ind.)
  • Donna Deck (North Dakota)
  • Sarah Ross (Midland, Mich.)

Marketer of the Year

Jessica Bumby, Spherion's marketer of the year from the Miller market in central and southwest Florida, achieved several impressive milestones in 2022. She helped the Miller offices earn an excellent reputation score of 823, as well as a 4.9-star Google rating. Jessica has also achieved a top SEO ranking, along with running consistent local Google Ad campaigns throughout the year, which helped drive more traffic and sales to Spherion's business.

Furthermore, Jessica has demonstrated a high level of commitment and dedication to her work. She participated in 100% of national campaigns, local promotions, and social media engagement. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as she achieved the 5th highest press coverage with 721,580 impressions, which is a significant accomplishment in her industry. Jessica's impressive achievements have undoubtedly contributed to Spherion's success in the Miller market.