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2012 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Julie Bielawski

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CEO, Knowledge Services

Sphere of Influence: Bielawski started and runs the city’s fastest-growing woman-owned business, which sells services to the state, city and large corporate clients.
 

bielawski-julie-15col.jpg (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

When Julie Bielawski started Knowledge Services in 1994, she had multiple goals: return to the work force, maintain an enriching family life, and, ultimately, work with her husband.

That has all come to pass.

Her professional services company is the fastest-growing woman-owned business in Indianapolis, with about 1,000 employees. Just under 500 work in Indiana and the rest are part of a contingent labor force serving clients in 49 states. Managing it all, training workers and complying with state and federal regulations, is both complicated and challenging, she said.

The company, which started as a technical training facility, provides staffing and payroll services. Its clients include the state of Indiana, city of Indianapolis, Ivy Tech, Advantage Health, OneAmerica, Lenscrafters, Papa John’s and Oracle.

Her husband, Joe Bielawski, eventually left his job and joined her at Knowledge Services, taking over the technical end. Today, he runs their spin-off company, dotStaff LLC, which uses vendor management system software that Knowledge Services developed to help clients manage contingent labor services.

“Frankly, working together was the ultimate goal,” Julie Bielawski said.

Their children are now grown, and their oldest daughter works at Knowledge Services in employee relations; their son is in law school, and their younger daughter attends the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

Bielawski majored in telecommunications at Butler University, “and I’ve never been on radio or television,” she laughs. Instead, she worked in customer service. “I enjoy business and customer service, and delivering something that is needed by our clients.”

From state government to corporate America and even the small business owner, “contingent workforce is widespread,” Bielawski said, citing uncertainty over government regulations and the economy as the reason.

Bielawski’s duties and responsibilities have changed over the years. In the beginning, “doing everything” meant not only working with clients and vendors, but keeping the books, purchasing equipment and even baking muffins for their training classes.

Today, she leads an experienced management team and is responsible for providing the tools, the environment and the support employees need to serve clients and vendors. She also deals with banks, finance, organizational and human resource needs, technology and infrastructure and meeting all regulatory and tax requirements. 

“When you are starting and growing a business, there is not a lot of time” for outside commitments, she said. Instead, she focuses on providing employment opportunities to others. “We have hired many young people in high school and college and mentored them through their jobs,” she said. “Now they are very successful, so we contribute that way.” The company has also partnered with startup firms to help them grow.

The Bielawskis’ extended families live in the Indianapolis area, giving them a strong stake in the city’s future.

“My belief is that the best thing I can do is provide opportunity and to try to help those that we live with,” she said. “This is a pretty important place for us. This is where we live and this is what we want to touch.”•

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  • Say What?
    During my 40 year business career I've observed that companies only continue to exist if they provide value. Many firms have been short-term wonders then failed. However, if a company experiences vibrant, sustained growth can be attributed to a value proposition recognized in the market place. Joe, you sound a bit bitter - almost as if you attempted this business model and failed. I offer my congratulations to the Bielawski's for their success.
  • How Nice
    She's successful at running a business that encourages poverty by underpaying employees. They contrac with the state to contract with contractors to hire long term temporary employees for non competitive wages with no benefits no vacation pay. Those temps are treated like they are animal feecies. They are talked too as though they are worthless. No respect for others. They are a drain on the taxpayers money and unnecessary born out of political spoils. We should get rid of them. These people should be on jail. They are thieves.

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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

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