Issue: March/April 2012
NEO Success Awards 2012: Amotec
Carmine Izzo encourages employees at his staffing company to make decisions based on customers’ needs. An impressive jump in revenue since 2009 shows it works.
On his first trip to Nashville to watch the Browns play the Tennessee Titans, Carmine Izzo decided it would be a good place to expand his Cleveland-based staffing company, Amotec. Izzo can’t recall who won the game, but he remembers the restaurants and culture.
“Nashville reminded me of Cleveland,” he says, adding that both cities have a positive energy and many young, innovative companies. A good bit of due diligence convinced him that Amotec could bank on Nashville’s growing medical industry.
“It’s a place I love spending time,” he says.
That same sense of fun and adventure drove Izzo to leave a large Fortune 500 staffing firm to start Amotec in 2000. The corporation had too much hierarchy, Izzo says. Decisions had to pass up three levels and a sense of customized service was lost in the process.
» You only get one name and one time to do life. When I first got into the business in the early ’90s, everyone said, “Recruiters are liars.” That’s why Amotec stresses recruiting with integrity.
» If you don’t know an answer, tell the client you don’t know. If you stand by your word, only good things can happen.
» Making the right hiring decisions is important. If you have a bad hire, it might not affect you immediately, but if someone doesn’t follow the process, there is a breakdown
» I’ve learned to delegate authority and trust the staff around me. For the first 5 to 8 years, I was the one who did everything and now I lean on the management team to make sure they follow the budget and know what the goals are. This company wouldn’t continue to grow if I was handling everything. I’ve had to let go a little bit.
» Patience. When we make changes, we take our time and really research what we’re doing. We implement changes in stages and make sure they’re successful.
t Amotec, Izzo encourages his employees to innovate in the workplace and make their own decisions based on their customers’ needs. In order to encourage entrepreneurial habits among his employees, Izzo stresses hard work and creating a positive company culture. No one in the office is allowed to work past 7 p.m., but most are out the door by 6.
“Employees have a work-life balance and share a lot of the same moral and work ethics that I have,” he says.
It’s not only the office culture that makes the company successful but also the daring moves to grow during the past several years. Even as the economy struggled, Amotec acquired companies and expanded services internationally.
Amotec, which stands by its overarching philosophy of “Recruiting with Integrity,” had laid the groundwork for large-scale growth by forging comprehensive partnerships. By 2003, it had expanded to offer a full spectrum of talent placement, and in 2007 made the Inc. 5000. But its most significant growth has been since 2009, when Amotec’s revenue grew from around $1.5 million to about $6.5 million last year.
That growth started after the company’s sales dipped during 2009’s first quarter. Izzo and his team decided they needed to discount fees and work out different pricing structures so their clients, who were also struggling, could afford them.
Amotec also expanded its services into other countries. The company was on the preferred vendor list for Volkswagen, and when the carmaker brought a new plant to Mexico, Amotec hired a bilingual recruiter and began recruiting for Volkswagen there.
“It used to be we wouldn’t have tackled any of the international circuit,” Izzo says. “But we realized we have to work outside our comfort area and go after some of these international searches.”
The well-capitalized Amotec continued hiring during the economic downturn and opened new offices in Nashville and Cincinnati, while competitors were laying employees off.
“As the market has changed and improved, we’ve been able to grow,” Izzo says. “We’ve noticed that a lot of competition in the market was struggling because they couldn’t make changes and adapt fast enough.”
The company is still in growth mode. At the end of last year, Amotec acquired and renovated the top floor of the Bradley Building in downtown Cleveland, nearly tripling its workspace by offering remote video training. Izzo plans to hire a new round of recruiters this spring and bring the number of employees to 30, up from 10 in 2009.
For each position, Izzo interviews eight to 10 people, looking for a good fit.
“We want someone with an entrepreneurial side,” he says. “We don’t want someone content to come to work every day and not make a contribution.”
The last question he asks every potential candidate is, “What do you do for fun?”
“It’s a stressful industry and you need an outlet,” Izzo says. “If someone says that they sit at home all day, that person isn’t the right employee.”
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