by Anna Ferraro
Originally from outside Columbus, Ohio, Dan Baldrick worked for years as an Army recruiter. Three of those years, his best years, as he said, were in Jacksonville, IL. Baldrick shared, “The community itself was highly welcoming to the military. It reminded me of the smaller town I grew up in outside of Columbus – some great people put me under their wing, were very welcoming for my family, with great things to do [on off-time].” When Baldrick was given a chance to settle back into Jacksonville long-term, he jumped at it – no hesitations! Here’s the rest of his story. …
During his almost ten years of active duty in the US Army, Baldrick spent over three of those years as a recruiter here in Jacksonville (2010-2013). His main responsibility was running the Future Soldier Training Program – a program where anybody that enlists in the Army can get prepared for Basic Training as well as giving them a way to connect with people who are investing in the military. Baldrick shared, “I did workouts with my recruits, leadership training, and fundraisers to raise money for the FST program, like car washes, marching in parades, BBBS, helping out with American Legion, anything I could do to connect and invest into the community.”
Thanks to his great personality and efforts, Baldrick earned the nickname, “Mayor of Jacksonville” at his recruiting station. Why? He shared, “I’d be walking around town, and people would be coming up and shaking my hand, thanking me for my service. I was always in uniform, and always working. My community involvement and my relationships with businesses and schools led me to that nickname. As I worked here, I wanted people to know as much as they could about the US Army and wanted to commend everyone who came into my office and get them as far as they could – exploring all of their options. I always wanted everyone to walk out with a sense of direction, even if they weren’t recruited into the Army.” He got a lot done, too, in those three years of work. He covered 16 high schools including Carrollton, Winchester, Waverly, Franklin, and more, in addition to the Jacksonville high schools and colleges. Also active with the Young Professionals Network, he knew a lot of business leaders here in Jacksonville.
During his years in the Army, Baldrick met a gal, had three beautiful children, and was then forced to make some decisions. He knew he needed to move on from his military career for his family’s sake, but his wife didn’t move on with him. He levelly responded, “things happen for a reason, and some things aren’t meant to be.” Ready to make a fresh start on his life, Baldrick left the Army in 2015, and followed a suggestion from his in-laws – to check out Express Employment Professionals in Springfield, IL and see if they could help find a new job. Baldrick jumped in and did some research, leading him to discover that Express is one of the top staffing companies in the nation. He approached their application process intending for them to help him find work. To his surprise and delight, they offered him an internal position! Baldrick shared, “I love their level of community involvement, and that they are a nationwide company, but privately owned out of Springfield.” After his years of building people skills as an Army recruiter, Baldrick was the right man for this type of job. He came on with the company full-time and threw all his energies into his new company’s statement – “On a Mission to Put a Million People to Work.”
He was moved to Springfield, IL to work for three years – back to the great Midwest that he loved, and closer to the Jacksonville that he loved even more. He shares, “I heard some staff members one day talking about a management position that had opened up in Jacksonville. I asked, ‘Hey guys, can I drop my name in the hat for that?’” Although there was already a front-runner for the position, the staff let him apply, but only after asking, “you would leave Springfield for Jacksonville?” Their incredulous question evoked Baldrick’s passionate response, “Yeah, who wouldn’t?!”
Time passed, and the other front-runner disappeared. Express offered Baldrick the job of Jacksonville Area Manager, and he jumped at it! He shares, “They bumped me through the training process faster than expected, and before I knew it, I was back in Jacksonville – house hunting.” It didn’t take him too long to reconnect either, as he came back to what felt like a “hometown” and promptly joined the Rotary club.
With his new job, came full work days, but Baldrick loved all of it. He shares, “The biggest takeaways that I get from Express as we’re trying to help people find work, is trying to match everyone with their needs, and give them the right connections and ideas in our office.” He shares, “At Express, we provide companies with dependable and reliable people that increase their productivity and ultimately, their profitability. [In addition], we learn about businesses and how Express can be of benefit to them. … We can fill the most basic general labor position all the way up to CFO. We’ve filled production workers, office managers, receptionists, legal secretaries, welders, and more.” He shared a shocking statistic, saying, “The average college graduate goes through three jobs their first year after graduation.” For that reason, many businesses are hesitant to bring people onto their payroll. Baldrick chuckled, “One misconception we see from a lot of people is when they ask, ‘are you a temp agency?’ We have that, but we specialize in long-term hiring. Individuals start on our payroll, but companies’ intent is to get our people hired.” In some cases, Express can replace an HR department for a company – as they put their full-service staffing services to work. He shared, “Companies tell us what they’re looking for, and we handle everything to get that accomplished for them.”
As the area manager, Baldrick is on a mission to position Express as “premier place for companies to find good people, and for people to find good companies. We could be a stepping-stone, for seasonal work, or we could be long-term employment for them.” To that end, he is excited about developing new relationships, fostering the relationships, and “increasing our presence and being involved in the community.”
Along with him in the Jacksonville office are Tracy Garde, Heidi Zenge, and Greg Croacher. To reach out to Express office here in Jacksonville, visit their web page at www.expresspros.com/jacksonvilleil.