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When it comes to recruiting firm anniversaries in Top Echelon Network, we like to tally up all of the placements that these firms have made in TE. When it comes to the firms celebrating anniversaries this month, that total is over 1,000!

That’s right, the total for December is 1,041 placements.

Not only that, but we also have a Charter Member firm celebrating an anniversary: ITS Technologies, which joined on December 8, 1988. (Any firm that joined during the first year of Top Echelon’s existence is recognized as a Charter Member.)

Also celebrating anniversaries this month are some of the most successful recruiters in Network history, including Gary Silver of The Shay Group and Donna Carroll, CPC of Systems Personnel. And we certainly can’t forget about long-time TE powerhouses like QCI Technical Staffing, Tri-Force, and The David Wood Company.

How many combined years have these recruiting firms been members of TE? A total of 222 years. That’s nearly as impressive as the number of placements these firms have made.

This is truly a star-studded edition of our Pinnacle series regarding recruiting firm anniversaries. These are among the “best of the best” in Top Echelon, and we’re pleased to highlight their longevity, their loyalty, and their production. Congratulations to these firms from everybody at Top Echelon!

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27-Year Anniversary

ITS Technologies in Holland, Ohio
Staff Members: Chad Felgner, CPC and Timothy R. Kalucki
Agency Join Date: December 8, 1988
Placements: 31

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23-Year Anniversary

Corporate Management Solutions, Inc.
Staff Members: Roger Miller, CPC and Thomas Havey, CPC
Agency Join Date: December 29, 1992
Placements: 85

Tri-Force in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Staff Members: John F. Hope
Agency Join Date: December 29, 1992
Placements: 115

The Shay Group in Hobe Sound, Florida
Staff Members: Gary Silver
Agency Join Date: December 30, 1992
Placements: 239

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22-Year Anniversary

Executive Connection in Copley, Ohio
Staff Members: Steven C. Brandvold
Agency Join Date: December 29, 1993
Placements: 78

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21-Year Anniversaries

The David Wood Company in Vancouver, Washington
Staff Members: David Wood, CPC
Agency Join Date: December 1, 1994
Placements: 86

QCI Technical Staffing in Mio, Michigan
Staff Members: Bill Quackenbush, CPC/CTS and Ross Causley, CTS
Agency Join Date: December 22, 1994
Placements: 192

Alternate Route in San Diego, California
Staff Members: Douglas Pajak
Agency Join Date: December 27, 1994
Placements: 46

Systems Personnel in Southwick, Massachusetts
Staff Members: Donna Carroll, CPC
Agency Join Date: December 27, 1994
Placements: 142

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15-Year Anniversary

Personnel Services Unlimited in Shelby, North Carolina
Staff Members: Tim Blackwell, CTS; Stephen Savage; and Rosalyn Thorneburg
Agency Join Date: December 20, 2000
Placements: 16

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5-Year Anniversaries

Spyglass Search, Inc. in South Bend, Indiana
Staff Members: Cynthia Strzelecki and Joe Pozsgai
Agency Join Date: December 6, 2000
Placements: 11

The day has arrived: recruiter registration for Vegas is now live!

Of course, I’m talking about the 2016 Top Echelon National Convention, scheduled for next spring in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is the first time we’ve held a full-blown National Convention in Vegas since 2004, and we’re looking forward to a great training and networking event. Below are some of the details regarding the convention:

  • The dates are Tuesday, April 19, and Wednesday, April 20.
  • The main speaker will be Greg Doersching of Bullseye Mentor.
  • The site will be the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino.
  • Our room rate for the Monte Carlo will be $58 per night!

As if the room rate for the Monte Carlo isn’t enough good news, Early Bird Registration for the National Convention is only $295 per person.

To sign up with a credit card, login to the Members’ Area and locate the convention registration links in the left-hand side of the page. Click on the appropriate links and follow the instructions to submit the correct information.

By registering now, you can include the cost of the convention on this year’s business expenses and reserve your spot for what could be one of Top Echelon’s best events ever!

If you have any questions about recruiter registration (or about any other aspects of the convention), please contact me at 330.455.1433, x156 or via email at

Okay, so we all know that Trey Cameron of the Cameron Craig Group is the top producer in Top Echelon Network. And that he won the Recruiter of the Month Award again.

But we have some other interesting faces among the top Network recruiters for the month of November. The first one is Deb North of Deb North Consulting, LLC. She recently earned Recruiter of the Week honors, so it makes sense that she would earn a stop in the top five.

Another interesting face (no literally, but figuratively . . . stay with me here) is Brenda Wylie-Biggs, CPC of KB Search Team, LLC. Wylie-Biggs has quietly enjoyed a very solid and successful tenure in the Network, as evidenced by the fact she’s made 93 placements!

She is, quite simply, a split placement machine, somebody who embraces the Network and its philosophy. While she might not win the Recruiter of the Month Award based on sheer numbers, she consistently produces at a high level—week after week, month after month, and year after year.

We recently expanded the information that we typically include with the announcement of the Recruiter of the Month Award. That information includes the following (and is included below):

  • The top five (5) recruiters in the Network for the month
  • The number of split placements those recruiters made during the month
  • The dollar amount of commission that the recruiters earned as a result of those split placements

If YOU are looking to receive a more substantial return on your investment in Top Echelon Network membership, contact Director of Network Operations Drea Codispoti, CPC/CERS at 330.455.1433, x156.

Below are the top network recruiters in Top Echelon for the month of November:

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Recruiters of the Month:

1st Place: Trey Cameron
Agency: Cameron Craig Group
Placements: 14
Commission: $87,520

2nd Place: Steve Kohn
Agency: Affinity Executive Search
Placements: 6
Commission: $62,145

3rd Place: Deb North
Agency: Deb North Consulting, LLC
Placements: 3
Commission: $29,022

4th Place: Brenda Wylie-Biggs
Agency: KB Search Team, LLC
Placements: 3
Commission: $21,173

5th Place: Robert Alexander
Agency: Systems Technology International, Inc.
Placements: 2
Commission: $28,082

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Top Echelon determines the monthly and quarterly winners of its recruiting awards based upon two criteria, which are listed below in order of importance:

1.) The number of split placements made
2.) The amount of “cash-in” dollars earned as a result of those split placements

This explains why, when multiple recruiters are tied with the same number of split placements during a given month or quarter, the recruiter with the largest “cash-in” total for their placements is deemed the winner.

Well, that was fast. The year is almost over.

And when the year is almost over, thoughts inexorably turn to . . . next year. (What did you think I was going to say?)

But thoughts of next year lead to the possibility of growth. For most recruiters, 2015 was a good year, so that begs a question—a question that we posted in the Members’Area recently:

How much growth are you forecasting for your firm next year?


The choice of answers that we provided is listed below, along with the percentage of recruiters that selected each one:

  • 25% or more — 23.0%
  • Between 10 and 25% — 16.2%
  • Between 1% and 10% — 14.9%
  • No growth — 10.8%
  • Hold on, let’s get through this year first — 35.1%


First, the good news: the majority of recruiters participating in the poll are forecasting growth for their firm in 2016.

In fact, among those doing so, 23% are forecasting growth of “25% or more.” In second place was “between 10% and 25%” at 16.2% of the vote, and “between 1% and 10%” was third with 14.9% of the votes cast.

Put all of that together, and 54.1% of the recruiters in the poll are forecasting growth of some kind for their firm next year.

Another 10.8% are forecasting “no growth,” and 35.1% said, “Hold on, let’s get through this year first.” (Well, when you think about it, you really can’t blame them for that stance on the issue.)


From these results, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that recruiters are optimistic about the future, especially the short-term future. Recruiters are a cautious bunch by nature, especially those who have been through a recession or two during their time in the profession.

Here’s another reason to be optimistic: only 10.8% of the respondents indicated that they expect no growth. While 35.1% didn’t want to commit to an answer of any kind, there’s a good chance that at least some of them believe their firm will grow in the year ahead.

So there could be a whole bunch of recruiters who are being cautious about being optimistic . . . and being cautiously optimistic has historically been the calling card of independent, third-party recruiters.

When it comes to making placements in Top Echelon Network, it’s all about talent. Specifically, it’s about finding and evaluating that talent, especially if you’re an exporter in TE.

If you’re an exporter, that means you have the candidate in a split placement situation, and you “export” the candidate to one of your trading partners, who then places that candidate with one of their client companies. The Recruiter of the Week in Top Echelon has been a top exporter for quite a few years—ever since he joined the Network in 2001.

That recruiter is Gary Elias of Elias Associates, Inc. Gary is the son of Bill Elias, a Top Echelon legend in his own right. Bill billed a tremendous amount through TE during his tenure in the Network. While Bill has retired, Gary has taken up the torch to the tune of 68 placements.

Gary has been a steady producer in TE through thick and thin. He’s made four Network placements so far in 2015, and he’s delighted his trading partners during those deals. In fact, based on the comments listed below, four characteristics of a top exporter (like Gary) include the following:

  1. Possesses great talent evaluation skills
  2. Is easy to work with
  3. Is straightforward and to the point
  4. Is knowledgeable about the split placement process (and about recruiting in general)

All four of those attributes describe Gary Elias (who, as you might have already guessed, is NOT the man in the photo at the top of this blog post). If you want to be a top exporter in this network, you could do less than follow this blueprint. It’s certainly a blueprint for success.

Congratulations to Gary Elias from everybody at Top Echelon!

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Gary Elias of Elias Associates, Inc.

Gary Elias

Jeff Ploeger of Ploeger Recruiting Services

Jeff Ploeger

“I have worked with Gary for a long time and respect his talent evaluation skills. He’s easy to work with and straightforward. I appreciate that. He knows his business. Thanks for the help!”

Submitted by Jeff Ploeger of Ploeger Recruiting Services regarding his Network split placement with Gary Elias of Elias Associates, Inc.


Fee Percentage—2o%

(Editor’s note: This is the first Network split placement that Ploeger and Elias have made together in Top Echelon.)

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Veronica Snyder of Career Professionals, Inc.

Veronica Snyder

“Thanks for sending us the great candidate, Gary! All parties are very happy!”

Submitted by Veronica Snyder of Career Professionals, Inc. regarding her Network split placement with Gary Elias of Elias Associates, Inc.


Fee Percentage—20%

(Editor’s note: This is the first Network split placement that Snyder and Elias have made together in Top Echelon.)