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In the C-Suite: Integrity Staffing Solutions CEO Todd Bavol

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NEWARK – Growing up in a small Michigan town, Todd Bavol dreamed of one day becoming a detective.

“I loved to investigate things and find the story behind the story,” he recalled.

As the founder and CEO of Delaware’s largest staffing company, Integrity Staffing Solutions, Bavol in many ways never gave up on that original dream. Today, he helps clients identify strengths they may not have initially considered and seeks out corporate partners with the right needs for them.

Todd Bavol | PHOTO COURTESY OF INTEGRITY STAFFING SOLUTIONS

Like many great entrepreneurs though, his career path started with unexpected circumstances.

After graduating from the University of Florida and seeking work, he took a job with a Philadelphia company that organized motivational and communication seminars. After a short while there and not enjoying the work, Bavol did the one thing he tells clients never to do: quit without another job lined up.

“I was young and impulsive, and there I was sitting with bills to pay in a city, and I heard about this thing called temping,” he said.

Bavol would join Today’s Staffing, a temp agency, and find positions across Philadelphia at places like Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and CoreStates Bank.

“What I started realizing was how much I enjoyed learning about the different types of businesses, and I started talking to the agency and they said, ‘You know, you sound like you’d be a great fit to work in-house for us,’” he recalled.

Over a nine-year career with Today’s Staffing, Bavol would work his way up from a client pre-screener to a recruiter, a salesman to a branch manager, and then eventually into a leadership role. After the company was bought out, he began thinking about the future.

“I decided to make a change and this time I had a plan: I was going to open my own staffing company,” he said, noting that he chose Delaware as his market because it was outside of a non-compete area in his contract.

The decision to start his own company was not one without precedent in the Bavol family.

Bavol’s father worked in equipment leasing until he struck out on his own and formed his own company, and that entrepreneurial streak also included Bavol’s grandfather. He said that his Dad’s self-assuredness in his enterprise was an inspiration to take the same risk.

“My Dad really dedicated himself to the work that he did, and you could see that he was really passionate about the work,” he said.

When Bavol asked his father his thoughts about setting out on his own though, he advised his son to be cautious.

“My Dad said, ‘Todd, you’re building yourself a great career. Get a few more years under your belt and do it later.’ I said, ‘Dad, no, I’m going to take the plunge. I’m going to do it now.’ I just felt that the industry was on an upward trajectory,” he recalled.

It turns out that Bavol’s instinct was right.

Compared to the Philadelphia market that was Today’s Staffing’s primary focus, Bavol said that Delaware was smaller but with great potential. In the mid-1990s, the banking industry was booming in the Wilmington area, customer service and data processing offices dotted the area, and light industrial and distribution parks were just starting to expand.

With a $25,000 investment of his own money, Bavol leased office space, gathered resources and hired a recruiter who made the leap from Today’s Staffing with him. Integrity Staffing Solutions started with a focus on putting the worker’s needs first.

“Our vision at Integrity is that our clients succeed when our associates succeed,” he explained. “We made sure that we’re aligning folks with that right fit and surrounding them with the resources necessary to really elevate them.”

They quickly began creating new relationships and building out a recruiting network, soon setting the first big goal.

“My husband Shawn and I were in a grocery store one day, when I saw this Inc. magazine with an Inc. 500 list. So I grabbed it and checked it out,” Bavol recalled of the annual list of the fastest growing private American companies. “I said to Shawn, ‘We have a goal. In five years, we have to be in the Top 10 of the Inc. 500.’”

In 2002, it made the list at No. 2, and proceeded to make the larger Inc. 5000 list 11 more times.

Bavol said that some choose temporary work as a career because it suits their lives, others are seeking out specific experiences to break into an industry and some are using it as a bridge between career points.

“By understanding how the person wants to utilize our services, it really helps us make that match to fuel not only their growth but also the organizations that are looking for the talent,” he said.

To that end, Integrity has also instituted programs like Next Step U, which provides free educational resources including English language courses, blueprint reading, or management training. The power of those resources only becomes more apparent during times of crisis, including the current pandemic as well as the Great Recession.

In that prior economic crash, with the state’s unemployment topping 9% in 2010, Integrity began outreach and free career coaching services for those looking for work with few opportunities for placement materializing. It hosted a hiring and job education event at the Chase Center for more than 1,000 people.

“When COVID hit, there were a lot of organizations that were relying on us to provide them with essential workers. We had to pivot quickly to figure out how to do that and make our offices and client environments safe,” he said.

As the pandemic subsides, Integrity is looking ahead to the future of its services, especially by leveraging technology. It’s preparing to roll out a service that would allow a worker to immediately connect with a tele-interviewer using a QR code.

It also wants to become the top-shop for all employment needs, from direct hiring to gig workers and those looking for associates capable of transitioning from temporary to full-time work.

“We want to really bring that total talent management concept together for our clients and our associates and really help innovate through the use of technology,” he said.

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