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Staffing agencies merge, creating $10 million, bistate firm

Two former competitors, Staffing Solutions Inc. and Keystone Partnership, have merged to create a $10 million locally owned staffing and talent agency.

The merger was effective Jan. 1. The firms, founded respectively by Bonny Filandrinos (left) and Pat Queensen (right) in 1992, have joined forces to create Keystone Staffing & Talent Solutions, LLC. Terms of the merger were not disclosed.

The 21-member firm retains offices in Creve Coeur, Mo., and Fairview Heights.

Keystone Staffing & Talent Solutions will be led by Queensen as president and CEO. Filandrinos will serve as vice president and principal, focused on executive and professional searches, marketing, and consulting services for recruitment and talent support.

The merger was initiated by Filandrinos, who envisioned a growth strategy for two locally owned, entrepreneurial businesses with shared values to broaden services lines, deepen staff expertise and expand their pool of well-screened candidates. Discussions began in late 2019 then were placed on hold as the COVID-19 pandemic caused contingent hiring to fall 56 percent nationally in the first half of 2020. Discussions resumed as talent searches and hiring started rising this fall.

In making their announcement, the agencies said they have been recognized for functioning as talent and career management firms that go beyond simply screening candidates, a reputation reflected in their GlassDoor rankings of 4.9 and 4.8, respectively.

“We provide skills testing and training, career coaching, interview preparation, resumé development and other personalized services to candidates so our clients are far more likely to obtain a high-quality match for their needs,” Filandrinos said. “Since the 2001 recession when managers largely became working supervisors, on-the-job coaching was pinched by staff cuts. That caused demand for career coaching and transition assistance to skyrocket among our candidates. We fill a big void with a novel, people-first approach.”

The new firm’s footprint spans the St. Louis region, extending from southwestern Illinois to mid-Missouri. Its combined service lines for direct hire, temp-to-hire and temporary/contract staffing include executive and professional search services; corporate support staffing; event staffing for sports and entertainment events; and professional staffing with a focus on the accounting, finance, human resources, legal, marketing and supply chain sectors.

In addition, the firm provides recruitment and human resources consulting services, including recruitment process outsourcing, employee assessment and benchmarking studies, and HR-on-demand services.

“The trend among our clients is toward increased contingent hiring,” Queensen said. “Clients who slowed new full-time hiring are finding a viable, flexible option in temporary staffing. That places our candidates seeking full-time careers in first position for permanent positions as economic recovery boosts hiring confidence.”

New and recent college graduates looking to join the workforce also benefit from such opportunities, noted Filandrinos.

Both Filandrinos and Queensen began their careers in the staffing industry during the 1980s, working with national and independent agencies. In 1992, each launched an agency during a recession. Both specialized in commercial/business staffing and Keystone Partnership created an additional niche in sports and entertainment event staffing, starting in the mid-1990s. They survived the 2001 recession, the great recession of 2008 and the pandemic/recession of 2020 through constant adaptation. As friendly competitors, they often referred clients and candidates to each other when one was better positioned to serve the need.

Queensen formerly served as president of the Missouri Association of Personnel Consultants (now known as the Missouri & Kansas Search and Staffing Association) and won the organization’s A.G. “Bert” Hayes Memorial Award for Distinguished Service. He previously served as a committee member for the St. Charles County Economic Development Council.

Filandrinos has been a longtime advocate for small business, including testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She has served on the St. Louis Science Center advisory board and the boards of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation and Habitat for Humanity St. Louis, among others.

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