Hey, this is Ralph Lary, CEO of ATR. I wanted to take a second to thank you for taking the time to visit our site and learn a little more about us! About 15 years ago, I decided after a wild string of events (and luck I suppose) to get the band back together. If the back story doesn’t interest you then just skip the next paragraph.
After growing the first iteration of ATR (founded in 1985) to the largest IT Staffing company in the DC Metro Area, we sold our business to a National administrative staffing company in 1996, under the guise of being a platform technology staffing offering to roll out to a combination of company-owned and franchise offices throughout the US. To make a long story short, it didn’t exactly work out the way I thought it would. Let’s just say that the powers that be didn’t feel that providing technology staff in the manner we did, (on demand and on a time and material basis), was as lucrative as becoming a “Solutions” provider. The problem I had with this was that most, if not all, of our clients were “Solutions” providers. After five years of bickering and resisting this change, a period over which our business tripled, I was summarily asked to either get on the train or get out of the way. Being perhaps too much of an idealist, I took an exit package. The company immediately decimated our operations, shutting systems down, firing staff, and generally taking the steps needed to affect the change they’d wanted previously. I was a little surprised when they called a year later saying they had excess furniture, displays, & computers they needed to sell so they could consolidate the office space, but hey I’m always open to a good deal. What I ended up with was a whopper! They actually sold me the servers we’d used for the last decade (I have the receipt) for next to nothing, discounted heavily only because they had no way of knowing whether they even worked (as they’d been shut down as soon as the door hit my bum a year before). It wasn’t until later, when I started getting buyers remorse on buying perhaps an expensive paper weight, that I tried turning it on. It whirled up and booted, so the operating system was still good. I thought about how wild it would be if they’d left all our candidate and client data on the system too, and when I checked they had! All I needed was people to work the system, so I started making calls and ATR was reborn.
A little Q&A with our CEO Ralph Lary...
Why is it easy to come to work everyday as the CEO of ATR?
Coming to work every morning is easy because I think we all genuinely really like what we do, and we like it partly because we all actively participate in the development of the processes and tools available for anyone to be successful, but mostly because we have a team of people that trust each other. For any of you out there who may have played in a team sport, I can only liken it to my days playing football at Maryland. The majority of the time it’s not how you look, where you went to school, or any accolades you may have been awarded previously that counts. It’s what you do on a daily basis to accelerate your contribution to the overall objective that’s most important, and when you get your chance to play you have to make the most of it. So on a daily basis, we may not be the best dressed, best educated, or most politically correct environment in Rockville, MD, because that’s not critical to our mission. However, when we’re called to action we rise to the occasion because we’re focused on what needs to be done, rather than keeping up appearances.
What made you want to re-create ATR?
Opportunity! I never really had an intent to re-create ATR, however, the opportunity fell into my lap. When I got the call about the database and additional data available, I knew then there wasn't any compelling reason not to re-create ATR. When opportunity knocks, you should be prepared to listen. Looking back, this was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
What makes ATR different from the other 1000 staffing companies?
I’d like to think we are different here at ATR because while we’re in business to make money, it’s not the main motivation for what we do. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with money, it’s just we’d rather make money by providing a lot of people rather than thru exorbitant fees we’d never pay ourselves. We have a deep respect for the work our consultants do for our customers, and an even greater respect for how hard it is to locate, recruit, and secure these personnel. While we have little control over the cost of dependable, talented personnel, (after all the market dictates this more than anything), the more efficiently we can provide people, the lower our costs will be.
What will you do as the leader of ATR to take the company into the next generation of our industry?
I see ATR as a very well established company in 10 years, both by continuing to provide staffing-related services for short and longer-term opportunities, and as a Service Level Agreement provider of talent. The key will be in our ability to retain and develop our staff as partners in our business, and to continue to provide real opportunities for these staff to manage their own books of business within the framework of our company. Everyone wants to be proud of what they do, or it’s just a job. My hope is that our ability to develop good business men and women will continue to provide both the opportunity for people to have input on what affects their careers, and most importantly, share in the rewards for success. Whether you are looking for a job or trying to land top talent you can always count on, these are the commitments we can make to you when working with a staff member at ATR.
What does a candidate or client need to know when considering or creating a relationship with an ATR staff member?
Work is a large part of everyone’s life, so if we all have to work then my goal is to make it as fun as possible. Whether you’re an internal employee, assigned consultant, or a company hiring manager, you should be doing business with people that are competent in what they do, and people you like to work with. I feel strongly that our staff make up some of the brightest and most fun people in the industry. If I were you, I’d give us a try. What have you got to lose?