Growing business through challenges
The long-term effects of safety restrictions and lockdowns have impacted business sectors differently and to different degrees in Central Oregon.
For many service-oriented businesses, such as restaurants, motels and hospitality, the restrictions have been devastating. For some business sectors like building contractors, the current economic environment driven by the housing market has resulted in a robust business over the past year. Others, like city and county entities, have reached the heart of our community—including schools.
In a recent interview with local business owner Greg Lambert, it is evident that many entrepreneurs such as Lambert have found ways to match the challenges of the past year, and even come out ahead in their business. Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel, has been in business for more than 30 years and is also the founder of the company.
Mid Oregon Personnel has employment offices in Prineville, Redmond, Bend and Madras. It is the only staffing company in Central Oregon with full-time employment offices in all four Central Oregon areas except Redmond—which has a part-time office.
According to their portfolio, they are consistently the largest supplier of industrial employees in Central Oregon. Mid Oregon Personnel offers administrative, clerical, professional and seasonal workers and employers. The Mid Oregon Personnel Group of Companies include Mid Oregon professional staffing, Mid Oregon industrial staffing, and Mid Oregon seasonal staffing.
According to their website, their story began in 1984, when Lambert discovered that an acquaintance in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, owned a staffing company and was looking for someone to open an office in Central Oregon. He opened the Central Oregon branch and a few years later purchased it. Sixteen years later, Lambert's son, Sam, joined the Bend employment office and now manages the Bend and Redmond employment offices.
"Last year was an interesting year when we started out," said Lambert of the year since COVID hit Oregon.
He stated that the drug testing portion of his business took a big hit because they do all the payroll at the office. Because of safety regulations, they could not have clients coming and going in the office. As a consequence, they lost a large Mid Oregon Personnel client.
Over the course of the year, they were able to replace lost business with new business and some growth in other areas. The first of 2021, they retrieved most of their drug-testing business. They have installed ultra-violet air purifiers which run all night, as well as stringent cleaning guidelines and strictly enforced masking.
"We are looking forward to a fairly good year this year," added Lambert.
He indicated that initially after COVID began, they had to do a lot of their interviews with job seekers over the phone.
"That is never efficient because you can't tell by a person's voice who they are, and our job in an interview is to find out who a person is," Lambert explained, adding that eye contact and body language is an important part of this process.
Mid Oregon Personnel recently added two members to its staff. Steve Peeler joined the Prineville office to take over responsibilities of recruiting, which is a key position. Lambert said he does an incredible job, and after 30 years, it has been an important addition.
"We are doing well, and all four offices are pulling along and showing some growth. We have been really fortunate to be able to bring in some new clientele and grow some other business."
He added that the COVID loans from the federal government have helped a great deal, enabling them to have the courage to add their two new staff. During COVID, Lambert felt that during the prior administration, marginal tax rates reduction and the removal of roadblocks helped many small businesses to survive.
Mid Oregon Personnel
President and Founder Greg Lambert
187 NW Second St.Prineville, OR 97754Phone: 541-447-1299Fax: 541-447-1889
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