Carol Fenske remembers when she was junior or senior in high school and was tasked with creating a resume and a future business plan and not really having any sort of clue what she would be doing few decades down the road.
A few things she did know.
“I knew that I wanted to manage a successful business and one day own my own business,” Fenske said during a Tuesday interview with the Tribune. “So although my timeline is off by about a decade, I have done those things.”
On Friday evening, Fenske, president and founder of Premier Staffing, was honored by the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce during its 138th Awards Banquet by having her company named Fremont’s Small Business of the Year.
Joined at Fremont Golf Club by her two employees, Office Manager Dawn Siems and Account Manager Amy Swanson, Fenske accepted the award which was presented to a company with fewer than 25 employees. D & T Shirtified, LLC, was also nominated for the award, said Tara Lea, executive director of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Usually at the banquet the winner is already announced, and this year it wasn’t so that was really, really cool,” Fenske said. “Even with the other two categories (Workforce Game Changer of the Year and Large Business of the Year) I had no idea who was going to win them. And every single finalist was very deserving, so this is a huge honor.”
Don Peterson & Associates was named Large Business of the Year and RTG Medical was named Workforce Game Changer of the Year.
Fenske has been involved in the staffing world since joining the first-ever Fremont staffing company in 1998. Serving as business manager, Fenske played a pivotal role in moving the company in the right direction, helping to employ upward of 175 staff members at 40 companies.
For 13 years the company was her baby, she said, but there was an itch that simply couldn’t be satisfied, and that itch was to own and operate her own staffing company.
“I started thinking that I sure would like to have my own business one day, and thinking, ‘what if I open my own staffing business someday?’” she said. “One day I woke up and I thought that I would ‘what if?’ myself to death unless I just did it.”
In May 2009, Fenske left the staffing company and after taking a two-year hiatus from the industry — required under the terms of her previous employer — opened Premier Staffing in September 2011.
Leaving her previous company was tough. She had so much invested in it.
When she first left, there was the initial fear and hesitation.
“I remember walking out that door, and really truly, when it shut I thought, ‘What the heck did I just do?’” she said.
But it’s worked in her favor.
Fenske is happier than ever, and working with Siems and Swanson, has been able to consistently staff more people with more companies every year since opening Premier staffing.
In 2017, Fenske said Premier Staffing paid 112 employees and billed 42 companies weekly, a number she anticipates rising this year.
“Each of the businesses we nominated (this year) are huge assets to the community, but Premier Staffing has gone above and beyond in terms of their community involvement; whether it be at John C. Fremont Days, Chamber involvement, volunteering at the Salvation Army and much more,” Lea said. “But their business also does so much for the community because they are finding jobs for those who might not be able to find them on their own. They are also helping businesses out who are struggling to find the workforce they require.”
The ultimate goal is for the people Fenske and her co-workers staff to find full-time employment at jobs they genuinely want and enjoy.
“When you have an employee who is in a temporary position and they get a full-time job offer, the day they come and pick up that last paycheck from us they are so grateful, and so appreciative,” she said.