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Maria Hemminger has made 78 placements as a Top Echelon Network recruiter.  Her agency, MJ Recruiters, LLC has been a Preferred Member since 2005.

Recruiter CommentsDavid M. Sgro has made 58 placements as a Top Echelon Network recruiter.  His agency, True North Consultants, Inc., has been a Preferred Member since 2006.

Brenda Wylie-Biggs has made 83 placements as a Top Echelon Network recruiter.  Her agency, KB Search Team, LLC, has been a Preferred Member since 1990.

Trey Cameron has made 179 placements as a Top Echelon Network recruiter.  His agency, the Cameron Craig Group, has been a Preferred Member since 2003.


Yes, the 2013 Fall Conference was a big success, and yes, we’re going to focus on it in this issue of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog!

That’s because the recruiters who attended made split placements with each other before, during, and after the conference—as evidenced by the recruiters and placements highlighted below.

These recruiters are regular attendees of Network events like the Fall Conference and National Convention, and doing so has led to a series of placements.  Not just one here or two there, but a series.

They make placements, they spend time with each other, they build and strengthen their relationships, and then they make more placements.

They say sometimes less is more (whoever the heck “they” are).  But with a combined total of 14 split placements represented below, in this case, MORE is more!

— — —

David M. Sgro, CPC“Yeah . . . job closed before we go to Chicago this week!  Another reason to celebrate.  This is our seventh placement with Dave in the last three years.  What a great system we have, Dave!”

Submitted by Maria Hemminger of MJ Recruiters, LLC
regarding her Network split placement with David M. Sgro, CPC of True North Consultants, Inc.


Fee Percentage—20%

(Editor’s note: This is the eighth Network split placement that Hemminger and Sgro have made together in Top Echelon.)

— — —

Network Recruiter Trey Cameron“It was so great to meet Trey at the Chicago conference!”

Submitted by Brenda Wylie-Biggs, CPC of KB Search Team, LLC regarding her Network split placement with Trey Cameron of the Cameron Craig Group


Fee Percentage—25%

(Editor’s note: This is the sixth Network split placement that Wylie-Biggs and Cameron have made together in Top Echelon.)

For many years, The Cornerstone, the newsletter of Top Echelon Contracting, was sent to the recruiters of Top Echelon Network.

Contract Split PlacementsThe Cornerstone was eventually discontinued in favor of another newsletter, Contracting Corner, which is now published once a quarter (click here to access past issues).

However, we at Top Echelon Network still run contract split placements made by Preferred Member recruiters in select issues of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog . . . and this is one of those select issues!

Below are are recent contract split placements made by Top Echelon Network recruiters and handled by Top Echelon Contracting, the recruiter’s back-office solution.

Congratulations to the recruiters involved!  We hope there are many more contract splits in your future!


Contract Split Placements Made by Preferred Member Recruiters

Multiplier Used

Agency Code

Client Recruiter

Recruiter’s Firm Name

Agency Code

Candidate Recruiter

Recruiter’s Firm Name

Job Title


1.62 AN78 David M. Sgro True North Consultants, Inc. BT16 Bob Small Carroll Technology Services Inc. EDI Systems Analyst $12.92/hr
1.65 IN73 Mike Niedbalski Integritas Search IN80 Cynthia Strzelecki Spyglass Search Accounting Manager $7.68/hr
1.54 CA49 Linda Blakemore Atlantic Pacific Group, Inc. BG88 Hani Mussa KnowPeople Inc. Contract Recruiter $11.80/hr

Many of the Top Producers in Top Echelon Network have added contract staffing to their recruiting firm’s business model.  Not only that, but they’ve also taken advantage of the services provided by Top Echelon Contracting.

For more information about contract staffing and the back-office services that Top Echelon Contracting provides, call (888) 627-3678, Ext. 2.

New Preferred Member AgenciesTop Echelon Network is pleased to welcome Systematic Business Consulting in Cary, N.C. to the ranks of our Preferred Member agencies during the month of September!

This new Preferred Member agency joined Top Echelon Network on Tuesday, September 3.

Bill Laughlin is the owner of Systematic Business Consulting, which specializes in the area of Sales & Marketing.

Network Recruiter Bill LaughlinWe encourage you to reach out to Bill and welcome him to the Network, especially if he operates within your area of specialty!

In fact, Laughlin already has two Offers Accepted with another Preferred Member recruiter: Barton Foster of the Barton Group.  The positions involved with those offers are a Quality Engineer and a Plant Manager.

Congratulations to Laughlin and Foster!  Here’s hoping those Offers turn into Completed Placements and that you make many more split placements in the future!

Remember, if you know somebody who you think would be a good fit for Network Membership, you can receive a $100 credit toward your Top Echelon invoice for referring an agency that eventually becomes a Preferred Member.

You can send your referrals to


Recently, you may have noticed a lot of the same faces in the weekly split placement feature of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog.

There’s a good reason for that: those faces—along with the recruiters to which they’re attached—keep making split placements.

However, this week we have not necessarily “new faces,” but faces that have enjoyed success making Network split placements in the past and who are enjoying that success once again.

After all, you don’t have to make 20 splits per year to make Top Echelon Network Membership worthwhile.

The cost of Network Membership for a recruiting firm is roughly $1,500 per year.  The average “cash-in” amount for an average Network split placement is $7,500 per recruiter.

So if you make just one split placement every year, that’s a 500% return on your investment in Network Membership.  That’s crazy ROI!

Below are some highlights regarding this week’s split placements:

  • Nearly half of the positions filled were Engineering positions.
  • The vast majority of the placements were caused by “Regular communication with another Top Echelon Network recruiter.”
  • All of the fees were 20% or higher.

The formula is simple.  Communicate on a regular basis with your Trading Partners.  Make a split placement.  Earn a 500% return on your Network Membership.  Repeat as necessary.


Below are the split jobs that were recently filled by Top Echelon Network recruiters.

  • Split PlacementsProduction Superintendent
  • Facilities Engineer
  • Manufacturing/Mechanical Engineer
  • CNG Business Manager
  • Air Environmental Engineer
  • Developer/DBA (SQL/.NET)

For more information about how YOU can be more successful in Top Echelon Network and make more split placements, call Membership Development Coordinator Drea Codispoti, CPC/CERS at (330) 455-1433, Ext. 156.


Susan StoneNetwork Recruiter George MancusoJob recruiter: Susan Stone of SAP Recruiters

Candidate recruiter: George Mancuso of Client Growth Consultants, Inc.


Fee percentage: 22%

Action causing split placement: Regular communication with another Top Echelon Network recruiter

— — —

Joan HarrisDan LawlorJob recruiter: Joan Harris of Apple & Associates, Inc.

Candidate recruiter: Dan Lawlor of Dan Lawlor


Fee percentage: 25%

Action causing split placement: The job order or candidate was found by searching Top Echelon Network’s split databases.

— — —

Network Recruiter Lloyd ShoemakerAmy Recker, CPCJob recruiter: Lloyd E. Shoemaker of TriVista Professional Placement Services

Candidate recruiter: Amy Recker of Bridgeway Professionals, Inc.


Fee percentage: 20%

Action causing split placement: Regular communication with another Top Echelon Network recruiter

— — —

Jim Hipskind, CPCSteve CopelandJob recruiter: Jim Hipskind of Continental Search & Outplacement, Inc.

Candidate recruiter: Steve Copeland of Albert Energy, LLC


Fee percentage: 20%

Action causing split placement: Regular communication with another Top Echelon Network recruiter

— — —

Job recruiter: Tim Hughes of Hughes & Associates

Candidate recruiter: Kevin Bautista of Joseph Michaels International


Fee percentage: 25%

Action causing split placement: Regular communication with another Top Echelon Network recruiter

— — —

Maria Hemminger of MJ Recruiters, LLC

Maria Hemminger

David M. Sgro, CPCJob recruiter: Maria Hemminger of MJ Recruiters, LLC

Candidate recruiter: David M. Sgro, CPC of True North Consultants, Inc.

Split job title: DEVELOPER/DBA (SQL/.NET)

Fee percentage: 20%

Action causing split placement: Regular communication with another Top Echelon Network recruiter


Below is an email sent by Top Echelon Network Preferred Member recruiter and 2013 Fall Conference attendee Lloyd E. Shoemaker of TriVista Professional Placement Services to Network President Mark Demaree:

I’m sitting at my desk wondering just what I can say about this year’s Fall Conference in Chicago, [which] just concluded.  What is there to say about Greg’s presentations, both informative and humorous?  How do you acknowledge Todd’s bloviating about all the advantages of Big Biller?   The organizational skills of Drea, what do we say about them?

Would the conference been the same without Debbie and Hannah . . . the icings on the cake?!  And what do you say to Mark Demaree, our gracious host?  The best thing I can think of is THANKS!  Well done!

It was great to see some of the friends I’ve made over the years in TE and it was neat to meet so many new friends who were at their first Fall Conference.  You can tell the Network is in good hands . . . now and in the future!


Hannah Laps, Lloyd Shoemaker, and Debbie Fledderjohann resized 600

Top Echelon Network Preferred Member recruiter Lloyd Shoemaker of TriVista Professional Placement Services, center, seizes a photo op, along with Training and Education Specialist Hannah Laps, left, and Top Echelon Contracting President Debbie Fledderjohann at last week’s Fall Conference in Chicago.

Click here to see more photos from the 2013 Top Echelon Network Fall Conference!

Matt DeutschA lot of things happen at events like the recent Top Echelon Network Fall Conference—training, networking, and FUN, to name just three.

One more thing that happens at these events is that we take a lot of photos.  Why?  Well, not ony do we want to document the above list of items, but we also want to show the recruiters who didn’t attend the event what they missed (in the nicest way possible, of course).

The Fall Conference was held last week at the Sheraton O’Hare Aiport Hotel in Chicago, and there were ample amounts of training, networking, and FUN to be had.

I have no doubt that split placements will directly result from the conference.  That’s because they’ve directly resulted from every single conference and convention that we’ve held since I’ve been at Top Echelon . . . and that will be 10 years next month.  (Time flies when you’re having FUN.)

As some of you know, we’ve already posted some photos on the Top Echelon Network Facebook Fan Page, and we plan to post some more in the near future.  In the meantime, I invite you to check out the pics that we’ve already posted.

Click here to visit the ‘2013 Top Echelon Network Fall Conference Photo Album.’

Okay, so what’s next?  The 2014 Top Echelon Network National Convention, that’s what?

There have been a few possible locations kicked around, places like Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Atlanta.  Where do you think we should go for the National Convention?  One of these locales . . . or someplace completely different?

Wherever we go for the National, one thing is certain: you need to go with us!  Attend the convention, network with other recruiters, and have FUN!

Oh, and make some splits, too.


Everybody’s asking the question, “Is the economy getting better?”  However, a more pertinent question for you might be, “Is the economy getting better for recruiters?”

(After all, history has proven that the answers to these two questions are not necessarily the same.)

We thought that the Top Echelon Network Preferred Membership would serve as an accurate gauge for the second of these two questions, and that’s why we posted to the question to the Membership in the form of a survey.

That question was as follows:

How does your overall “cash-in” through three quarters of 2013 compare to this point last year?


The choice of answers that were provided is listed below, along with the percentage of recruiters who selected each answer:

  • Up more than 20% — 30.4%
  • Up 1% to 20%— 20.3%
  • The same — 17.4%
  • Down 1% to 20% — 10.1%
  • Down more than 20% — 21.7%


Recruitment SurveyAs is often the case when we present a question such as this one, the results are pretty much spread out, although in this case, the most popular answer was “up more than 20%” at 30.4% of the vote.  Perhaps just as telling, though, is the fact “down more than 20%” was the second-most popular answer at 21.7%.

Overall, more of the recruiters participating in the survey (50.5%) have experienced an increase in their “cash-in” total through the first three quarters of the year than those who have experienced a decline (31.8%).

The rest (17.4%)?  Things are the same . . . which could be good or bad, depending on how much they billed last year.


How about YOU?  Is your “cash-in” total higher than at this time last year, is it lower, or is it the same?  What are the reasons?

Even with the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) delayed until 2015, companies are already looking for ways to get around the mandate. But they could find themselves in legal hot water if they adopt one of the most popular techniques – cutting employee hours.

Starting January 1, 2015, the employer mandate will require employers with 50 or more full-time or “full-time equivalent” employees to provide health coverage to its full-time employees. “Full-time” is defined as those with 30 or more hours per week. If employers don’t provide coverage, they will have to pay $2,000 per year on each full-time employee (excluding the first 30 employees) if even one employee uses federal premium tax credits to purchase insurance from the exchanges, or The Marketplace as it is now officially known. They can even incur penalties if they provide coverage, but it is not “affordable,” as defined by the law.

To avoid this complex and expensive mandate, some employers (including a Subway franchise, Forever 21, and Regal Entertainment Group) are cutting employee hours below 30 per week to ensure they don’t hit the 50-employee threshold or to reduce the number of employees that qualify. In her Forbes column, Grace-Marie Turner’s says this is creating a “part-time nation.” She points to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show only one full-time job is being created for every four new part-time jobs.

But while these employers may save money in the short-term by not having to provide benefits, they could end up paying in the long run.  Citing an often overlooked provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), The Wall Street Journal states that companies could put themselves “on the wrong side of the law” if they cut employee hours specifically to avoid providing healthcare benefits.

Section 510 of ERISA makes it illegal for employers to make employment decisions to prevent an employee from obtaining or keeping benefits. While single ERISA claims aren’t that costly, The Wall Street Journal warns of potential class-action lawsuits. Attorneys believe the employers who will be at the greatest risk will be those who take coverage away from those who previously received it.

Some attorneys feel the Section 510 provision may not be that big of a deal, especially if employers reduce the hours of employees who did not previously have coverage. But the Section 510 violation is not the only thing to fear.  Companies also need to take the demographics of their workforce into consideration, according to Human Resource Executive Online. If, for instance, a company cuts the hours of a group of older workers, they could be setting themselves up for an age discrimination lawsuit. And even if employees don’t seek legal remedies, cutting employee hours can damage a company’s employer brand, making it more difficult for them to recruit star candidates in the future.

Due to these risks, you may want to steer clients away from cutting hours to avoid the employer mandate.  Show them that there is a better way. You can provide them with contractors who are employed by a contract staffing back-office service.  That way, the back-office, not your client, is responsible for ACA compliance.  Just be sure to work with a back-office that provides ACA-compliant healthcare benefits. Whether they are provided by the company or by a third party, star candidates need and want quality benefits.

Obamacare is a huge issue for employers. As one of their most trusted employment experts, you can help them navigate this complicated law without damaging their bottom line or their reputation.