LGC Associates: Temps become permanent solution Local firm finds its niche in hospitality, looks to grow

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Temporary staffing agencies used to be like big-box discount stores: Customers could find anything and everything under one roof. As temp workers have become an increasingly important part of corporate business models, however, a more boutique approach is taking hold.

Take Carmel-based LGC Associates, which specializes in providing temporary staffing for the food service and hospitality industries-and has started providing workers to fill the accounting, financial and administrative needs of its clients.

LGC was launched in May 2003 by Carmel resident George Leismeister, a 1985 Purdue University graduate who got into the temp business after a couple of years in sales. He was a senior regional vice president for an international staffing company at the time, but he was ready for a change.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to do a business the way I wanted to,” said Leismeister, 43.

He quickly hired Glen Greenwalt, another Purdue graduate who had been working as a recruiter in Chicago until moving to Indianapolis in 2002. The business plan was simple: Emphasize good service for, and good relations with, clients.

Getting the company up and running wasn’t too difficult, since it didn’t require much capital. The biggest challenge was making sure the two could cover their living expenses while reinvesting as much revenue as possible into the business.

“We had to be really good at managing our cash flow,” Greenwalt said.

They also had to find the temp workers who would be placed with their clients, and Greenwalt, who was new to the hospitality business, had a bit of a learning curve. Still, LGC quickly hit its stride and has been growing ever since.

The company has 27 employees and offices in Indianapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville and St. Paul, Minn., plus the Carmel headquarters.

In 2006, the company filled the equivalent of 3,300 full-time positions with temporary workers and had $4.5 million in revenue. This year, the goal is to increase revenue to $7 million while opening branches in Cincinnati, Denver and perhaps Kansas City, Mo.

LGC has the opportunity for this kind of growth because of the long-term changes in staffing policies at many companies. Corporations increasingly don’t like to keep large numbers of full-time employees on their payroll, particularly in the hospitality sector, where staffing needs go up and down.

“Caterers are more likely to have 15 regular servers instead of 150,” Greenwalt said. By relying on temps, companies can meet their peak requirements without having a lot of employee overhead.

“Businesses used to see temp workers as a necessary evil,” Greenwalt said. “Now, they’re part of the regular business plan. It allows [companies] to be more nimble.”

The people LGC places with its clients might be temps, but they are experienced and qualified, Leismeister said. LGC’s own employees, who recruit the temps, usually have extensive background in either hospitality or in accounting, so they have a pretty good idea whether these recruits actually can do the job, he said.

“We look for good, career-minded people,” Leismeister added.

He said the company plans to keep up its ambitious expansion. Eventually, he’d like to see LGC have at least 45 offices across the United States and Canada.

Its clients seem impressed by the people it provides. Clarian’s Buchanan Counseling Center recently hired a temporary administrative assistant through LGC and has been very happy with her work.

“She’s top-notch,” said center Director Dr. David Holing.

The Indianapolis Marriott downtown has used LGC exclusively for its special event needs for the last two years. Steven Connors, the hotel’s senior director of event operations, said he was impressed from the beginning by LGC’s efforts to learn every detail about the hotel’s operations.

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