Brightwing Highlighted in Crain's Detroit: Uptick in engineering has Brightwing looking west - Brightwing

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Brightwing Highlighted in Crain’s Detroit: Uptick in engineering has Brightwing looking west

12/13/2011

Crain’s Detroit Business
By Sherri Welch

After watching its annual sales plunge in 2008-09, Troy-based Resource Technologies Corp. expects to come close to pre-recession revenue by year’s end, thanks to demand for engineering and IT employees.

The staffing and human resources services company, which began doing business as Brightwing in June, is planning an expansion to Denver within the next year.

The company is projecting its revenue will rise to at least $33 million to $35 million this year, up from $28 million last year.

In 2007, Brightwing posted $35 million in sales. By 2009, revenue dropped to $22 million.

“This was the first downturn in a long time,” said CEO Aaron Chernow, who owns the business with his brother David Chernow, chief marketing officer. “We felt lucky to be only down 20 percent.”

But things have turned around, he said. The market is booming right now on the engineering front for contract employee placements, he said.

And the company continues to see demand from clients like Southwest Airlines for “hard-to-fill” positions, and for technical positions from other staffing clients such as Volkswagen AG, Chrysler LLC, Texas Instruments Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Florida-based Latin American division. Brightwing is also seeing growth in its higher-level recruiting of vice presidents through C-level executives, as well as in an area it moved into three years ago: project-based recruitment.

Toward the end of 2008 and 2009, no one was hiring, Chernow said. “In the last year we’ve picked up several high-profile searches in addition to picking up Bright Automotive’s contract.”

Rochester-based Bright Automotive Inc., which has developed a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, is looking to hire 180 engineers locally, he said.

Within the last quarter, Brightwing also has signed contracts with Troy-based Delphi
Automotive PLC, Plymouth Township-based Roush CleanTech and Durr Environmental and Energy Systems in Auburn Hills to provide the companies with management training and technical training on new IT products and systems.

Brightwing continues to focus on a strategy of finding the right person for the job, and not just on filling seats, Chernow said.

Over the past year, Brightwing has added 16 new employees, bringing it to 50.

The brothers spent the summer looking at other U.S. markets, Aaron Chernow said. They settled on Denver, which will add to offices in Dallas and Fort Lauderdale.

They plan to invest $500,000 in the office over the next two years, hiring three employees initially. They’ve set a five-year goal of producing an additional $10 million in annual revenue from the office.

Denver “is a very tech-savvy area with a lot of (venture capital) coming in,” Aaron Chernow said.

And the competitive landscape for recruiting, staffing and training companies is good there, David Chernow added, because “the market is not flooded.”

Troy-based Iconma LLC, which also provides IT and engineering staffing and employee recruitment services, has a few clients in the Denver market and it’s targeting other, bigger customers, said managing member Claudine George.

“We are also seeing that Denver is a good spot for staffing, but unless we land a major … Fortune 1000 client,” there are no plans for Incoma to open an office there, she said.

“At this point we’re able to handle those clients from our West Coast offices” in Los Angeles and Santa Clara, Calif.

Sherri Welch: (313) 446-1694, swelch@crain.com. Twitter: @sherriwelch



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