Written by Joan Paxton, President & CEO, TriStarr Staffing
Oh my…25 years?
On March 3, 1989, I opened TriStarr. On that day we had exactly one employee – me. No other permanent staff, no temporary employees – just me. That was the only day that there was “balance” at TriStarr – 1 day of balance (no job requests to fill) and 9,124 days of imbalance! Although it is the imbalance that drives me every day.
I opened in about 900 square feet of space, in the newest office building in Lancaster County – 160 North Pointe Boulevard. It was the only building on the site that now is home to 9 buildings with hundreds of employees. Today we have about 5500 square feet of office space in one of the 5 oldest structures in Lancaster County. That is definitely growth, and the building we’re in is somewhat a metaphor about TriStarr – solid Lancaster County values and built to last.
In 1989 we did our skill assessments with a paper and pen, or an electric typewriter. A couple of years later, I got a PC – and I paid through the nose for it! Our first “wiz-bang” business software was written in DOS (some of you may remember that). We had a fax machine – that used rolls of thermal paper – when it was able to connect to another fax machine. We mailed all of our invoices – that were in triplicate and printed by a dot matrix printer. The temporary employees got paid by a paper check – no pay cards or direct deposit.
When my clients called – and I got 5 in the first 2 weeks! – it was generally to request a temp to fill in for an absent permanent employee – sick days, vacation days, medical leaves, unanticipated vacancies.
Well, things have certainly changed. Today I have 4 devices on my desk that I can use to read my email – my iPhone, iPad, Mac Book, and yes, a PC. And I have 8 different software programs open on my desktop at the same time. We hardly ever use the fax machine anymore.
I used to judge how busy we were by how often the phone rang, and the noise level of everyone talking at the same time. Now I go into the space where 4 or 5 people are working, and I have to sing out a cheery “HELLO!” to get people to take out the earphones and stop typing so I can talk to them.
Remember the internet before Google? You had to know the website’s exact address, or you would probably never find it. And before you had a personal email address?
I used to require my staff – all women – to wear skirts, pantyhose and heels for work! Doesn’t that sound like the dark ages now? When candidates came in for interviews they “dressed up” and brought paper resumes – now I’m just happy if I don’t have to look at their underwear all day.
In 1989 the Federal Minimum Wage was $3.35 per hour, there were 104,000 fewer people calling Lancaster County home (Lancaster County has grown 25% since I opened), several of my current employees weren’t even born, and if any of you remember the baby in the playpen who was often in the office back in the day – she’s now a Junior in College and one of our “go-to” temps!!
In 1989 we were the stereotypical “local” business. I did business in Lancaster County, and the significant majority of our clients were based or owned in Lancaster County. Today, while the majority of our clients are still here in Lancaster – we email invoices all over the United States, as well as Canada, and even Australia!
Thank you to all of our clients and employees. It’s because of you that we made it through our first 25 years, and it’s because of you that we’ll be writing something 25 years from now – although the format and technology we will be using are likely not even invented yet.
We hope to have some thoughts from people we’ve worked with in the past over the next few weeks and months. In the meantime, a very sincere thank you to everyone who’s helped TriStarr be TriStarr for 25 years. Thank you!