Temporary challenges

Owner of staffing agency treats growing pains

Patricia Troy is proof positive it pays to persevere. Troy, 43, is president and CEO of Advanced Staffing Inc., a $7 million temporary employment agency headquartered in New Castle, Delaware with an office in Philadelphia.

In 1994, she started an office in Wilmington, Delaware for a small Atlanta staffing agency. Troy signed a document stating she was the vice president and general manager, owned 10,000 shares of stock and was part owner in the agency.

“I built the business [in Delaware] as if I owned it 100%,” Troy says. “I established relationships and got contracts. When I tried to get equity, it was never available. Finally, when I cornered my boss about it, I learned she had no plans to relinquish equity in the business.”

Troy severed ties in 1995 and set out on her own with several loyal employees and clients. An attorney convinced her a non-compete clause wouldn’t be a problem because the business was essentially hers. However, a judge ruled that she had violated the clause and couldn’t work for any temporary agency within 25 miles of New Castle for six months. Troy was forced to close her business just 10 days after starting.

“It was devastating,” Troy says, “I felt all my hopes and dreams were shattered. I went through days of being depressed but continued developing my business. I had worked in this industry so long, and I wasn’t going to give up.”

Troy started her sales and marketing career in 1979 selling Yellow Pages ads for Reuben Donnelley in her hometown, Philadelphia. In 1983, she was hired away by one of her clients at Career Planners (now Careers USA), a temporary staffing firm. During a seven-year stint there, she rose from sales representative to regional vice president. Her next move: Philadelphia regional director at Olsten Staffing Services.

Armed with a $75,000 loan from Beneficial National Bank, Troy relaunched Advanced Staffing in February 1996 in Philadelphia. Soon after, she landed a contract projected at $10 million with Cigna Insurance Co.

“I believe that you should have the courage to follow your dreams and don’t let anyone get in your way,” Troy says. “Failure is the opportunity to move more intelligently the next time, and that’s what I try to do.”

Advanced Staffing Inc., 92 Read’s Way, Suite 208, New Castle, DE 19720; 302-326-5400

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