By Jennifer Walter: The Following Article Originally Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In the early days of COVID, airlines felt the pressure of lost revenue as flights were canceled all over the world. STS Technical Services, a staffing company that serves clients in the aviation industry, had a front-row seat as the disaster unfolded.
“The commercial aviation industry was crushed in 2020. Nobody was flying anywhere,” said Bryan Shaw, the company’s marketing director. Regular clients began to put projects on hold as the need for aircraft mechanics and other service personnel dwindled.
As company leaders watched other staffing companies lay off parts of their workforce, the STS team didn’t panic, Shaw said. Instead, they took things one step at a time and transitioned their staffing team to remote work, while shifting to meet the needs of clients outside the commercial aviation sector.
The flexibility resulted in new successes. During 2020, Oshkosh Defense awarded STS a contract to provide workforce services to build a fleet of Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLVTs) that will replace U.S. military Humvees.
Shaw describes the contract as “a huge win for us while staring COVID in the face.”
This is the company’s first year on the Top Workplaces list, ranking fourth out of all midsize companies. Employees describe an environment that is rewarding, independent and supportive.
“I can see that what I’m doing matters,” one employee said. “I’m able to help people further their career and I’m given the support and tools I need to succeed.”
Founded in 1986, STS Technical Services began in Reno, Nevada. It started as a staffing company for aviation alone, but acquisitions and partnerships over the decades brought it into other sectors such as aerospace and industrial manufacturing.
The staffing team recruits for hundreds of technical, trade and engineering jobs, hiring skilled workers who can provide labor for a variety of clients all over the world. Today, STS is headquartered in Brookfield and has several offices around the United States.
Despite the international focus, STS serves a number of Wisconsin companies, including Harley-Davidson and Oshkosh Defense.
Nearly 90% of the staffing team works remotely, Shaw said.
“I think STS has been able to handle that transition really, really well,” he said. “They implemented a lot of tools that allow the team to stay connected.”
One of those tools is a bonus system to reward employees. Shaw said he thinks it is important that hard work is recognized and rewarded within the company, whose mission is “to promote the growth and well-being of our employees by investing in a cultural atmosphere that emphasizes our values and strives towards excellence through collaboration and fostering a sense of PRIDE in workmanship, reliability, innovation, generosity and spirit.”
The company’s PRIDE initiative, which stands for professionalism, respect, integrity, dependability and enthusiasm, seeks to reward those who go above and beyond.
The five attributes represent the qualities that team members strive for. When someone excels in one of these categories, they receive a token that can be exchanged for a monetary reward once they’ve collected all five.
And outside the workday, employees also meet up for virtual happy hours to connect and chat.
“Although I am fully remote, my managers at STS have always worked to make me feel included and valued,” one employee said.
Remote work will remain a facet for the company going forward. Future plans include the continuation of projects in various sectors and securing new clients and contracts.
“Our team is slated to grow,” Shaw said. By the end of 2022, he said the company’s revenue is expected to expand 15% to 20% from pre-pandemic levels.
“I think that’s a huge testament to what we’ve been able to accomplish, the hurdles we’ve been able to overcome, and some of the big, new client signings and projects that we have coming up in the pipeline.”