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Pam Cole launches Trace Staffing Solutions

The name may be new, but the experience and expertise are already in place.

In fact, when Pam Cole started her career as a receptionist with Snelling & Snelling, she was typing on a manual typewriter and making a whopping $1.65 an hour.

Fast-forward 42 years and Cole — who moved from the front desk to employment counselor to manager to multiple-franchise owner — has left the Snelling brand to form her own company.

With eleven offices across four states, Savannah-based Trace Staffing Solutions offers strategic temporary and full-time employment solutions for companies throughout the area.

“We’ve been part of the Savannah business community for more than 40 years,” Cole said. “We excel at identifying and matching talent to employers and finding cost-effective workforce solutions for our clients. We’re committed to our clients’ success on every level.

“So, in that sense, nothing has changed.”

As company president and CEO, however, Cole plans to push Trace to raise the bar for professional staffing and human resources services customized to each client’s needs. Her management team includes local employment industry professionals Scott Roth, Lori Pitt, Karen Payne and Michael Brown.

“There is no way I would have even considered taking a huge step like this without this talented group,” she said. “They are the backbone of everything we do. They are my succession plan.”

Among the services Trace offers are temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire in a wide range of fields. The company’s recruiting specialties include administrative, medical, legal, accounting, light industrial, skilled trade, engineering, sales and transportation/logistics positions.

“We have the industry expertise and the relationships to help companies successfully hire the best talent for any position,” Cole said. “Using a strategic, efficient system, we partner with area companies to take the guesswork out of the hiring process.”

A journey of many steps

Cole is convinced this was her calling from the beginning, although she didn’t recognize it at first.

“I was going to be a doctor — I had been accepted to Emory’s pre-med program. Then I fell in love and didn’t want to leave Savannah,” she said, laughing.

“I went to Snelling looking for work, and they had an opening in their office for a receptionist. After I had been there a while, one of the employment counselors left and I was recommended for the job.

“My boss, playing devil’s advocate, asked me if I was sure I wanted to leave my salaried position for a production-oriented job that was straight commission,” she said. “It was a little scary, but my husband and I talked it over and I decided to give it a try.”

That it turned out to be a good fit might be something of an understatement.

“I loved it and, because I loved it, I kept moving up,” she said.

Cole was named manager in 1981.

“At the time, we had one office, on the corner of Drayton and Bull downtown. In 1986, I bought the franchise and, because parking had become such a problem, started looking around for a different location.”

In 1987, Cole leased a building on Hodgson Memorial Drive on the city’s southside, later buying a building around the corner on Waters Avenue. She moved to larger quarters on Mall Boulevard in 2007.

Physical space wasn’t the only thing Cole was growing at Snelling. She opened a new office in Statesboro, eventually growing to as many as 14 franchise locations.

“My franchise agreement with Snelling expired in 2012, but I agreed to stay on through 2013 while they made the adjustments they needed to make,” she said. “It also gave me the time to plan and get my team in place.

Trace Staffing Solutions begins its first year with a combined 100-plus years of employment staffing experience and eleven locations — from Ashville, N.C. to Jacksonville, Fla.

“But Savannah will always be the mother ship,” Cole said. “And that represents a very positive change for us. Our headquarters are no longer in Dallas. They are right here.”

With nearly 2,000 employees, Trace provides a pool of high quality temporary personnel, while offering permanent placement services that range from entry-level positions to executive-level headhunting, Cole said.

“We identify qualified candidates who are ready to work and committed to success,” she said. “Our job is to match each employer’s specific goals with the candidate’s qualifications and career objectives.”



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