AHEAD Human Resources
Celebrates Silver Anniversary
AHEAD Human Resources began life 25 years ago, in March, 1995, as a temporary staffing agency. The business was started by entrepreneur Bill Bellis, and his wife Andrea. Bellis had previously owned and operated several successful businesses, including a large Coca-Cola Syrup Distributorship. He and Andrea came out of semi-retirement to establish the new company with a commercial, and somewhat humanitarian, goal of matching up employers and people looking for work. In fact, “We’re the people … people” is one of the company’s registered service marks.
In January, 1996, AHEAD expanded into the then new field of employee leasing, becoming one of the first Professional Employer Organizations, “PEO,” in the state. The firm continues to offer PEO services, and has evolved into offering outsourced Human Resource Services to small and mid-size businesses, basically becoming their offsite HR department. Three years later, in 1999, the company began offering franchises for both the Staffing, and PEO businesses.
Bellis could not have been more prophetic about the company’s future when he remarked in a 1996 Business First article that “Our No. 1 asset is our experience,” as AHEAD’s management team has an average of 21 years with the company. Kristi Hagan-Mullins, President, started in 1996, and leads the Human Resource Services division; Karen Jones, CFO, started in 1998; Michelle Jessee Vincent, VP, started in 2005, and leads the Staffing/Recruiting division; and Kyle Smith, CEO and Counsel, has been associated with the company since 1997. Additionally, the Bellises still own, and remain involved with, AHEAD by serving on its Board of Directors.
AHEAD’s continued success is based on differentiating itself from its competitors by building strong working consultative relationships with clients. For example, HR Services customers are not required to utilize a complicated software program, as many larger HR outsourcing companies require. If a client wants a new HR policy or form, they need only call their dedicated HR representative at AHEAD. Staffing clients have a dedicated recruiter who actually tours each client’s business in order to have a complete understanding of the work assignments that recruited employees will be engaged in.
AHEAD’s commitment to client relationships is evidenced by this comment from a recently acquired Human Resource Services client, “The transition was seamless in all phases, and the level of expertise and competency continues to impress us. AHEAD is truly a hands-on Human Resource services provider.”