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Hiring stays hot

Hiring among Rochester’s Top 100 companies will be brisk in the coming year.

Nearly one-third of the 51 CEOs who responded to a survey expect double-digit increases in employment over the next 12 months, while 20 CEOs said they expect single-digit increases at their companies.

None of the CEOs who responded to the survey expect a job decline over the next year.

But CEOs do not plan to hire just anyone. Many firms are seeking skilled workers or those with a strong work ethic, and CEOs are looking locally—in many cases through the region’s numerous colleges and universities—for their talent.

“Rochester has a highly skilled, educated workforce, so nearly all of our recruiting is done locally,” Mirror Show Management Inc. president Donna Shultz said. “Interestingly, a number of our recent recruits are younger people who have returned to Rochester after starting their careers in larger metropolitan areas.”

The trade show and exhibit producer has 80 employees, and Shultz expects to hire 10 additional staff over the next year.

“I can tell you that MSM is very selective in our hiring process. We aren’t just looking for skill sets; we are also searching for candidates who exemplify our five core values,” Shultz said. “We have consistently found that the candidates who possess these values are the ones who succeed long-term at MSM.

“When you’re that picky, hiring the right people will always be a challenge, but we’re confident that we will continue to find them,” she said.

A handful of CEOs said finding talented staffers can be difficult.

“MediSked is growing its team of skilled IT professionals, which are difficult to find anywhere in the country,” explained Douglas Golub, MediSked LLC president, in his response to the survey. “MediSked also has an office in Washington, D.C., and finds the same challenges in finding high-demand skill sets everywhere—but has found significant talent in Rochester.”

Golub said he expects double-digit job growth over the coming year.

Randolph Henderson Jr. also said finding talented staff can be difficult. He is expecting to add staff in the next year at Henderson Ford, although lower than the double-digit percentage growth some of his peers are looking for.

“Our biggest shortage and challenge to double-digit employment growth is the shortage of skilled technicians and the limited training that is available locally,” Henderson explained.

Richard Dorschel, president of the Dorschel Automotive Group, agreed there is a short supply of qualified auto technicians in the Rochester area.

“Absolutely. Something that’s occurred in Rochester over the last 20 years is there are fewer jobs in Rochester than any of us would like,” Dorschel said. “Our young people typically go away to school and many of them don’t come back. If there is a challenge for the Rochester business community and for our political leaders, it is to determine how we can get back into a much better job environment.”

Dorschel is working on a $6 million renovation at its Toyota facility, one that will add 22,000 square feet of space, including 11 service bays and roughly 25 new jobs.

While he laments a shortage of skilled workers, Dorschel said his dealership works closely with Monroe Community College and its auto technician program to find qualified candidates.

“MCC’s program has been the most valuable program,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have MCC and have Toyota’s support.”

Dorschel is not the only Top 100 CEO to tout the region’s higher education establishments.

“We feel so blessed and lucky that we have RIT, U of R, Roberts Wesleyan College and Nazareth in our community,” wrote CEO Lauren Dixon of Dixon Schwabl Inc. in her survey response. “Twenty-five of our 100 team members have come from internships through these colleges.”

Her marketing communications firm expects to increase staff by double digits, she said.

Beverage maker cheribundi Inc. is planning significant growth in the coming year, President and CEO Steve Pear said in his survey response.

“Our sales and production needs continue to grow rapidly with no immediate end to this growth in sight,” he wrote. “Investing in good people to take us the distance is key to our success.”

Christian Flooring’s CEO, Christian Curts, said his company also is planning on a double-digit job growth percentage.

“We are continuously looking to improve our infrastructure, and as such are always looking for high-quality people with strong work ethics,” Curts wrote. “Our sales growth is more predicated on being able to hire the proper employees as the opportunity to secure more work is much easier.”

Keller Williams Realty Greater Rochester has some 255 employees here, said Operating Principal Charles Hilbert. The firm plans to open two to three additional offices in the Rochester area over the next 12 months, adding 150 jobs.

“The outlook for the Keller Williams business is very promising due to our culture, our economic model and the immense opportunity for unlimited potential for each person to achieve their dreams,” Hilbert said.

The real estate company, which opened six years ago, has no real issues finding staff, Hilbert said.

“Talented people are always looking for opportunities,” Hilbert said, adding that while some new employees actively seek out the company, others surface by happenstance. “We find job opportunities for our company in conversations with people that are at other companies.”

Not all companies plan exponential growth. Some is slow and purposeful.

Chris Modesti, CEO of Biomaxx Inc., a manufacturer of wood pellets, expects to hire just “a handful” of employees, he wrote in his survey, while Mark Davitt, president and CEO of Continental Service Group Inc., which does business as ConServe, an accounts receivable management firm, is expecting less than 10 percent job growth in the near future.

“ConServe is poised for continuing our trend of growth in the region. Outside macro-business challenges, our entire business community can collectively create the self-fulfilling cycle of positive growth by providing an ethical work environment and contributing to an interesting cultural atmosphere, which will lead to youth retention, which will lead to intellectual ingenuity, which will lead to innovation and job creation, which will lead to economic development and opportunity, etc.,” Davitt wrote in his survey response. “Once we address and resolve our external business challenges, this is how ConServe attempts to control our destiny of positive growth into the future.”

Gardner Plus Architects PLLC also is expecting some growth in staffing but plans to keep it to a minimum.

“We are small by design in order to maintain the involvement of senior leadership in architectural design and not (be) relegated strictly to management of a large office,” President David Gardner wrote.

10/30/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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