Add Staff staff says thanks to founder in a big way

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Some coworkers simply say thank you. Others get creative.

The staff at Add Staff Inc. in Colorado Springs showed their appreciation for founder and President Cari Shaffer by doing the latter, designing a billboard in her honor. The billboard went up during the second week of June, and was on view for the city to see for about two weeks.

“We had a lot of fun with it, we really did,” said Joe Swanson, an Add Staff employee. Shaffer did not see her billboard until Swanson drove her to the site just north of Dublin and Academy. Her coworkers wanted to make the element of surprise a top priority and did not share the project with her husband, who also works at Add Staff. Swanson wanted to make sure Shaffer would see the billboard, so he told his fellow employees, “When you see Cari come into the parking lot, let me know.”

Swanson and Shaffer set off in Swanson’s car and stopped under the billboard. “I said ‘hey, look up’ and she did, and you could see little tears in her eyes,” Swanson said.

“Looking up for me is trying to look over the dashboard because I’m so short,” Shaffer said. And she was not exaggerating – Shaffer is 4 feet 6 inches tall. Seventeen of her coworkers added their signatures to the billboard. “I recognized every single signature, and that’s when the tears started,” Shaffer said. “So many people called to tell me they’d seen it. That’s the power of outdoor advertising.”

Add Staff, which was started on June 24, 1984, by Shaffer and one other woman, is an independent staffing company that specializes in technical, administrative, professional and accounting positions. The company provides assistance in contract work, temp-to-hire positions and direct hire services. Shaffer and her coworkers celebrated the company’s 20th anniversary on June 28 with a cake featuring a picture of the billboard. “Some people sang ‘happy birthday Add Staff’ to me – some in less-than-melodious voices,” Shaffer said.

Shaffer started the business as a way to channel one of her interests. “I’ve always enjoyed matchmaking and making connections,” she said. Shaffer said, the company has employed more than 30,000 people in its 20 years. “It’s probably closer to 34,000. I should count again.”

Shaffer also said she had no idea her company would ever grow to be so large. She believes the people at Add Staff work to enhance lives – they help companies find individuals, and in turn, help individuals find employment. “We make three times as many permanent placements as we do temp assignments,” Shaffer said.

Add Staff was named Business of the Year in 1989 by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry. Shaffer was a founding chairwoman of the Pikes Peak Coalition of Chambers and is a past chairwoman of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. She currently sits on the boards of Pikes Peak Mental Health Centers, Goodwill Industries and the metro board of the YMCA.

“Cari is very active in so many different services in the community,” Swanson said. “She treats everybody, the staff and everyone in the community, the same.”

- Stephanie.Cline@csbj.com