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The Progress Lakeshore business group (formerly known as the Manitowoc County Economic Development Corporation) awarded AgriStaff USA the 'Rising Star Award' at their 5th annual Excellence in Economic Development Awards Breakfast on May 3.

The 'Rising Star Award' recognizes an emerging small business that has developed their ideas, products, and services into a viable, competitive business. Co-owners Becky Schmid and Frankie Rodriguez were on hand to receive the award.

AgriStaff USA, LLC is a locally owned and operated company located in Kiel, that provides services and placements in the agricultural, manufacturing, food processing, cleaning and other industries.

Job creation includes AgriStaff USA's placing over 70 employees in the past 8 months in permanent positions. AgriStaff has also seen a 500 percent increase in clientele since opening their doors in 2015.

In addition, AgriStaff USA has also expanded into human resource management and seasonal staffing.

'It's important to be integrally involved in the communities we serve; for that reason I served as the Fox Cities Regional Director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and I currently work closely with Casa Hispana (Appleton), and Mi Pueblo Hispanic Community Center (Manitowoc),' said co-owner Frankie Rodriguez. 'My partner, Becky Schmid, serves as a board member on the Kiel Chamber of Commerce and is organizing the 2016 annual Kiel parade.'

AgriStaff USA works closely with both the Manitowoc and Sheboygan County economic development groups to help businesses fill job openings and seek employees from outside the area to fill jobs.

Special Niche

Rodriguez is bilingual; having spent much of his childhood in Puerto Rico, his first language is Spanish, so the fluency in both English and Spanish closes the chasm between employer and employees. He also has an agricultural background and also worked as a manager in a staffing agency in New York before opening his own business in Kie.

Co-owner Becky Schmid grew up in New Holstein, but went to Ohio for college in an ag-related field and always wanted to come back home to be near family. Once she graduated from college and had some experience under her belt in the ag industry, the pairing with Rodriguez to serve a niche market in Wisconsin was a natural.

AgriStaff USA not only screens and places employees, but the owners offer a variety of other services uniquely 'theirs'. For example, when there is a misunderstanding between employer and employee, Rodriguez is quick to handle the miscommunication by translating the language nuances for each party.

Rodriguez can also train Hispanic employees in their native language, lending to greater output from the 'get go'.

AgriStaff separates themselves from other employment agencies by targeting specific industries and utilizing the local Hispanic workforce along with taking a personalized approach to each job placement and recruiting for each position to ensure a good fit. With connections across the state, and country, they are able to utilize a vast network for potential employees to meet their client's needs.

AgriStaff USA even gets requests from outside the state. Schmidt is currently working with a large horse facility in Maryland to find a manager/trainer.

'With my degree in equine management, I know the type of work and personality needed to fill this kind of job . . . and I have connections in the horse world,' Schmidt said.

A division of their business, Labor One USA, serves the industrial and service business sectors. Utilizing LaborOne allows them to target a broader audience, both with clients and potential employees. LaborOne has been growing and developing their brand throughout the Fox Cities.

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