New HR consulting firm tackles workforce issues

An Ohio-based recruiting and human resources firm is expanding to a new location in Dayton, and its leadership team is collaborating with local businesses to address skilled workforce issues in the region.

CMax, located at 54 E. Whittier St. in Columbus, is a full-service recruiting firm for accounting, finance, sales, marketing and advertising clients. The company purchased a property located on Fifth Street in St. Anne's Hill earlier this month, according to county property records, and the company will add additional employees in the area over the next two years.

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Bryan Gillum, the company founder and managing director, said the decision to add a second location in Dayton was driven by the its close proximity to Columbus and the business relationships he had in the city.

“It made a lot of sense,” he said.

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The company purchased the three-story building, which previously housed a violin shop, and has applied for historic tax credits. The property will be renovated in the summer, and the office is expected to open in August.

Phil Parker, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said CMax expanded to the market in 2015 with just a single employee, and immediately became an active member in the business community.

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“We’re thankful for CMax’s decision to invest in the Miami Valley and for the opportunity to help introduce this Columbus-based business to the Dayton region,” Parker said. “We’re excited to know CMax found success so quickly and is able to invest further in our community.”

The company currently has about 20 employees based in Columbus, and another five employees currently working out of the Nucleus CoShare in the Oregon District, said a company spokeswoman. The company also has a handful of interns.

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The company, which works with clients across the country, doesn’t focus on just one industry or type of business. Their representatives work with industries like manufacturing, higher education, retail, restaurants, healthcare and technology.

CMax offers full-service recruiting for everything from executive searches to placing contract staff or fulfilling short-term needs. It offers human resource consulting for acquisitions or even businesses trying to determine future workforce needs, and also provides HR outsourcing support.

What sets them apart from other, larger recruiting and advising firms? The company tries to provide company with one-on-one, personalized service for their unique needs, Gillum said. In Dayton, there’s a need to address skilled workforce shortage issues and cater to a new demographic — the millennials.

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Gillum, who spends about two to three days each week in the Miami Valley, said Dayton has different workforce issues compared to Columbus. While Columbus companies seem to be “in a war” for the best talent in industries like tech and healthcare, Dayton companies are still trying to manage filling jobs for businesses expanding quickly.

“Dayton has a lot of potential,” Gillum said. “There’s the opportunity to be more creative with fostering growth and shifting mindsets.”

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Local companies, like CareSource and Fuyao Glass America, have announced they’re hiring in hoards as their businesses grow at a rapid pace. City and business officials have tried to promote open positions through events like National Manufacturing Day earlier in the fall. That industry supports more than 18.5 million jobs across the country.

“We survey companies and not being able to find skilled workers is the top issue every single year,” said Zannah Staggs, program manager for the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association.

Part of addressing workforce issues will be enticing a new generation of millennial workers, Gillum said. Its a generation of a new kind of worker who wants flexible hours, more recognition at work, and desire to make a difference in their positions.

“They’re a lot more purpose-focused,” he said. “It’s a sell, it’s a different sell.”

Gillum envisions a future for Dayton that looks past workforce issues — he’s sees it as an “up-and-coming” city full of resiliency. But he said people he talks to often make negative comments about Dayton’s weather or downtown’s vitality, and doubt its possibility moving forward.

“I don’t have the history of this place. I come from a fresh perspective,” he said. “I would love people to look at the cool things happening here and communicate that with others.”


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