David L. Elwood, the Elwood family’s patriarch and founder of the company that would become Elwood Staffing, for many years has pursued the goal of expanding his company across the nation.
This year, Elwood Staffing is taking a giant step toward that goal, with the acquisition of SOS Staffing in Salt Lake City, and an expansion into 33 states.
For David Elwood and his three sons — Mark, John and Michael — the experience of seeing the family name on offices throughout most states of the union is tinged with humility, pride and excitement.
Mark Elwood said that on Tuesday the family stood in the SOS office in Salt Lake City in front of 200 employees, with another 200 dialed in, for formal introductions.
Based in: Salt Lake City
Size: 32nd-largest staffing firm in the United States
Based in: Columbus
Size: 44th-largest staffing firm in the United States
“That might have been the most proud I’ve ever been,” he said Wednesday, sitting in an office of the company’s corporate headquarters on Central Avenue.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” John Elwood agreed.
And though he sometimes still feels like he needs to be pinched, and despite the realization that they will be faced with lots of hard work in the months ahead, John Elwood said he looks forward to that work with great excitement.
For the Elwood company, the acquisition of SOS marks the latest stride in a series of steps toward a national footprint. But the steps did not come without the occasional stumble.
“Not too many years ago we were kind of wondering if the phone would ring,” Mark Elwood said.
In 1996, the company first reached $1 million in sales. And now the executives hope to reach $1 billion in sales by 2015.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” Mark Elwood said.
The growth the company has seen also validates the work of the leaders and the employees, he said.
“Customers don’t have to buy your stuff. For companies to keep buying services from Elwood Staffing, that tells us that in the marketplace we’re still doing a pretty good job,” Mark Elwood said. “That’s very rewarding.”
Both Elwood Staffing and SOS have recorded significant growth in the past few years. Elwood Staffing’s revenues, on average, have nearly doubled in each of the past three years, spiking from $95 million in 2009 to $366 million last year. During the same period, SOS Staffing’s revenues climbed from $214 million to $383 million, for an average annual growth of 26 percent.
While the greater geographical reach and expansion into new industries will make Elwood Staffing a more resilient company, founder David Elwood said growth has been a long-term goal.
From very early on, Elwood Staffing wanted to expand beyond the county’s boundaries, and, one step at a time, eventually extend its presence nationwide, he said.
The motivation for expansion comes in part from a desire to improve, he said.
When a sports team wins 16 games in a row, its players are not going to say that they’ve had a good run and not give their best in the 17th game. No, he said, that team will want to keep on winning and eventually go undefeated.
“You want to keep on having success,” David Elwood said.
And although the company is growing, Mark Elwood said, its roots will remain in Columbus.
David Elwood, who turned 83 on Valentine’s Day, said he is pleased that his sons have achieved success at a relatively young age.
“I’m just very, very proud,” he said.
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