-Cody Lagana, Team Lead at Storr Office Environments
In 1914, Storr Office Environments opened its doors in Raleigh, North Carolina. But it wasn’t until 25 years ago that businessman Tom Vande Guchte and his wife Mary, bought the then-struggling company. They immediately went to work restructuring Storr to get it back on its feet while, concurrently, incorporating their faith and values.
Since then, Storr has grown into a vibrant business. Beyond office furniture, they boast a variety of services from design and space planning, to commercial moving, to refurbishment—making them a “one-stop shop” for local businesses.
Vice President of Operations Greg Hawkins is a company veteran. He has spent the past 19 years growing and developing individuals, and is no stranger to the challenges of the industry. On any given day, Storr hires 40-80 contractors to service their broad client base—no small feat for any company, especially when excellence is of utmost importance.
In March of this year, Greg and his team of managers found themselves at a tipping point. Finding workers who would a.) show up on time and dressed appropriately; b.) work hard; and c.) execute the specialty installations had become next to impossible.
“We’ve been down this path for a long time, and I got so tired of hearing about the problems and challenges with our contractors. We were staying in the same rut,” said Greg.
Frustrated, and longing for consistency, they knew it was time to deal with the problem head on.
About that time, Greg was put in touch with managing director Tucker Stevens, of Amplio Recruiting, about the potential of hiring refugees. It seemed like a good fit for the company and its philanthropic values—but could hiring refugees actually help relieve their problems? To Greg, it seemed worth a shot.
“I thought okay, this is a different approach. Maybe we can build on this. We can help [the refugee] community out, and they can help us out too,” he shares.
Storr has since brought on a total of nine Amplio employees—now, it’s seeing that vision brought to life.
“We’re a couple months in, now. We’re encouraged by what’s going on,” Greg says.
About half of the guys are doing general labor work, while the other four are learning the installation side of the industry.
Cody Lagana, a field team lead for Storr, couldn’t be happier with the change.
“I’ve been having a ball working with them. They’re not only the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life—they’re so willing to help, and so willing to learn.”
The biggest difference, he shares, is their dependability.
“When Tucker says there’s going to be five guys ready at 7:30am, there they are. They not only show up on time, they’re there early. Their willingness to help is what really shines over every other staffing company. They’re willing to stay late, while keeping a big smile.”
But Abdul, Firas, Othman and the others aren’t the only ones going above and beyond—Storr has stepped in and stepped up to help the partnership succeed.
“One thing we’re doing is partnering with Wake Tech,” Greg explains. “We’re giving them a 12-week English training course. We’ve paid to bring in an instructor so they can learn to understand us better and we can understand them better. It will benefit them greatly in the long-run as they continue to grow and prosper here in the United States.”
The “icing on the cake” is that each employee will has the potential to go to full-time with the company after they’ve completed 500 hours of on-the-job training—a huge opportunity for the guys.
“Hard work translates in any language,” Cody raves about his team. “Abdul has pretty much become an installer. He’s picking up on so much stuff it’s amazing. Firas outworks anyone I know. The crazy thing is I have contractors I’ve worked with for the past two years who haven’t been able to save up for a car or get a license—despite the challenges, they’re doing all that.”
This powerful partnership has checked all the boxes on Storr’s list, and then some. Their Refugee Workforce has allowed the company the ability to live out their philanthropic values while giving them the dependable, motivated, and capable workers they’ve been longing for.
We are grateful for companies like Storr Office Environments who are helping refugees regain dignity through work and re-establish their lives here in the United States.
“Storr has set the bar for the way employers should treat their employees,” says Amplio Raleigh Managing Director, Tucker Stephens. “They have volunteered extra efforts and initiatives that we usually have to fight for, and offered to do it all for free– to better our refugee neighbors and build a stronger company. Storr’s attitude and example should be a hallmark for other businesses.”
Abdul, Firas and Othman are just a few of the hundreds of motivated and talented employees we’ve placed in companies across the U.S. At Amplio Recruiting, we believe in the benefits of hiring the Refugee Workforce—for both businesses and refugees alike.
If you’re tired of high turnover and unmotivated employees, or are simply looking for ways to leverage your business for social good, visit our website to learn more about hiring refugees at your company at www.ampliorecruiting.com