An Interview With JSG President & CEO Dale Slater

An Interview With President & CEO Dale Slater

Dale Slater is a native of Broadview, Illinois. He served in the military from 1966 to 1968 and then attended Moraine Valley Community College. Mr. Slater began his professional career in the early 1970s, founding Venture Design, Inc., a manufacturer of electrical control systems for conveying equipment.

In 1979, Mr. Slater entered the Contract Temporary Service business by purchasing K.H. Johnson Co. LTD with his then partner, Louis Bertone. In 1984, K.H. Johnson was rebranded as Johnson Service Group, Inc. As President and CEO, Mr. Slater is responsible for setting strategy and overseeing the general operations and business development efforts for JSG and its operating units.

When JSG was first established, what were your goals?

At first, our goal was simply to survive from week to week, then year to year. As we became established, we focused on thriving and building a family-oriented company that would provide opportunities for employees as well as our own immediate families. We weren’t sure where this journey would take us, but I am quite certain at that time, we didn’t anticipate being where we are today and achieving the growth that we have over these many years of being in business.

What sets JSG apart from other recruiting companies?

Quite simply, the people that we have in our organization and the relationships that we’ve established with both our clients and our contract employees. It’s somewhat ironic that the staffing industry is all about people and although we strive to provide our employees with every technological tool to help them be successful, it still comes down to the people in an organization that determines whether you are going to achieve success or not.

What are your future plans and vision for JSG?

With the recent refinancing, the company is now poised for generational growth and management. It’s our intention to still strive to provide opportunities for employees to grow professionally, personally, and financially.

In your words, can you explain your vision of “one voice?”

“One Voice” is a vision for a more structured management style and organization. The key to this strategy’s success will be to balance the company’s entrepreneurial roots against a more structured management process. We also hope to improve our internal JSG communication top-to-bottom. I get a sense that our employees are looking for more insight into the direction of the company going forward and the goal is to provide an on-going clear vision and voice.

What have been some of the biggest milestones for JSG since it’s inception 35 years ago?

Reaching $100+ million in revenue in 2011 certainly was a significant milestone. The Canadian expansion that began in 2014 was important. Now, with 2019 revenues expected to exceed $400 million, refinancing the company and positioning it for generational management and growth is perhaps the most significant milestone yet.

JSG has experienced incredible, yet steady, organic growth throughout the United States and Canada. Tell us a little bit about your strategy to get it where it is today.

Our strategy has always been to hire great people and provide them the opportunity to prosper and achieve success. As I’ve stated previously, the people within our organization and the relationships they have built differentiate JSG from the competition. We continue to pursue that strategy today.

JSG has been named to three of Staffing Industry Analyst’s prestigious lists for the past five years (Largest U.S. Staffing Firms, Largest U.S. Engineering Staffing Firms, and Largest Canadian Staffing Firms.) What does this recognition mean for the company?

It simply provides public awareness of the successful execution of our strategy. All our employees share in that recognition. I’ve never been a person who is big on outside recognition, so it hasn’t been something I have focused on. However, when I pause to consider those accomplishments, it’s exciting to see what we’ve been able to achieve over our more recent history.

Can you share a story of when you realized your work was making an impact?

Trying to isolate one moment in time over a period of 35 years in business is very difficult to do. JSG started with 5 staff employees and about 15 contract personnel. Currently, we are well over 200 direct staff employees and pay approximately 3,000 contract personnel on a weekly basis. When I look at the longevity of our personnel, a good amount being with us over half the years we have been in business, it definitely makes me realize that we have, and continue to, make an impact on many lives. It’s a great story.

Where do you see the trajectory of the talent industry going over the next few years?

Just-in-time talent will continue to grow as the generations of people strive for work-life balance. Whether an individual is transitioning to retirement or a young person is seeking career choices, the staffing industry is a vehicle for those people to make lifestyle choices appropriate to their unique circumstances.

How has the team you’ve built impacted the growth of JSG?

We have always made our best effort to hire talented individuals that we believed could make a positive impact on our company. That strategy has never changed. The team we have today represents the successful execution of hiring the right people and asking them to impact the company. Its structure also supports the creation of what JSG is today: a generational organization.