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Greg Palmer: Building for the Future

Originally published in Staffing Success Magazine (Sept-Oct 2003)

By Luanne Crayton

Staffing World 2003 is right around the corner, and Greg Palmer is ready to go.

“There’s no better place than Las Vegas to have a convention,” says the president and CEO of RemedyTemp Inc., based in Aliso Viejo, CA. “The city offers something for everybody.”

Rolling into Vegas at the end of October is the ASA convention and expo. Palmer, a member of the ASA board of directors, chairs this year’s convention committee. “We’re excited about the program for this year’s convention. Staffing World offers an extremely strong education section,” he says. “Of particular interest is the executive learning track, which we enhanced this year at the request of attendees who asked for more workshops targeted to owners and operators.”

Palmer cites as another convention highlight the opening keynote, with best-selling author Michael Treacy. “Treacy has done a lot of research on our industry,” Palmer says, “and he’ll deliver a powerful message on how staffing firms can achieve double-digit growth in what I would call blocking and tackling fashion.

“In planning the convention, the heavy lifting is done by the extremely competent team at ASA,” Palmer says. “Members of the convention committee act as sounding boards and guiding voices to craft a message that speaks to the present and future of our industry.

“It’s been fun to serve in that role, and I look forward to sharing the fruits of our efforts with fellow staffing professionals,” he adds.

Eye on the Horizon

Palmer says he stumbled into the staffing industry nearly 20 years ago by answering a newspaper ad placed by a large national company looking for a branch manager.
“I knew nothing about the industry,” he says, “but I decided to give it a try.”

He stayed with that company for 13 years, eventually overseeing 50 percent of U.S. operations, and has been in the business ever since.

“I love that the staffing industry is a reflection of the workforce in the United States,” he says. “From doctors and nurses to information technology specialists to chefs to lawyers to people who work in manufacturing—as an industry, we do everything.”

Palmer focuses a lot of attention on building for the future. Every week, he reviews Remedy’s performance with key managers, and they plan next steps—where to take the company, new divisions to develop, areas of expansion, and the like.

He believes a successful future for Remedy hinges on a top-notch workforce. “We spend a good bit of time carefully recruiting colleagues and licensees,” he says. Once they’ve been recruited, he aims to keep them, placing a priority on recognizing performance.

“I’ve known Greg as a boss, peer, and friend,” says Ron Malone, CEO of Gentiva Health Services, headquartered in Melville, NY. “He has a great eye for talent, and he is remarkably consistent in his focus and his ability to attract committed people.”

Remedy has an awards program to honor top performers that “generates friendly competition among various groups,” Palmer says.

And “lunch with the CEO” helps Palmer recognize the members of the Remedy team. Senior managers nominate peak performers, and Palmer takes them to lunch. “I try to do one a week with a different department at the corporate office or in the field,” he says.

Recognition doesn’t have to be elaborate, Palmer notes. Sometimes all it takes is a “simple thank-you or phone call when you see something well done.”

“When I worked for Greg many years ago, he would always acknowledge accomplishments,” says Malone, “sometimes with a thank-you, a note, or a special gift.”

The reward for Palmer comes from “watching people grow and excel and do things beyond their wildest expectations,” he says.

While strong operations and an effective recognition program are critical to Remedy’s success, Palmer and his team try to set aside some time for fun. Recently, Palmer and the rest of the executive team volunteered to be targets in a pie-throwing contest, which raised almost $15,000 for the United Way.

“I’m very proud of the team we’ve assembled at Remedy,” Palmer says.

Swing Through Augusta

Chipping, pitching, and putting make up Palmer’s favorite pastime. “I love to play golf,” says the former college champion.
“Greg Palmer is one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met in my 28 years as a golf coach,” says Rex Chaney of Kentucky’s Morehead State University. Thanks to Palmer, Chaney says, Morehead won the conference championship his senior year.

A dream come true for Palmer would be playing a round at the storied Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, home of the Masters Tournament. And if he were related to a certain famous golfer also named Palmer—Augusta member Arnold, that is—an invitation might come readily.

“It’s an exclusive club,” says Palmer, “And it’s difficult to be invited to play there.” For now, Palmer is content to be club champion at his home course in Orange County, CA, but he’d still love to get on the green at Augusta.

“If you’re a golfer, that’s the one place you want to play before you die,” he says. “It’s probably the most beautiful golf course in the world.”

Adds Chaney, “For anyone who has a passion for golf, Augusta is the ultimate. Playing there is one of the greatest desires of most golfers. And I think that one of these days Greg will be afforded that opportunity.”

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