|By Walker C. Wooding, Jr.
Houston Business Journal
Amid stacks of resumes and constantly ringing
phones, Gladney, Will and Dick Darroh have found a way to meet the challenges of running a
successful personnel consulting business while also answering the demands of family and
The three brothers are partners in Piper-Morgan Associates Personnel
Consultants. Will Darroh earned HAAPC's Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award
and Gladney B. Darroh was named HAAPC's Top Producer for 1997 in the
Technical/Professional Division - the first time the association has given its top awards
to brothers. Gladney also won Top Producer for 1997 in the Technical/Professional Division
statewide through TAPC.
The key to their success, the Darroh brothers say, is
flexibility."We learned a long time ago that you can agree to disagree," says
Will. "The partners have to be flexible in a lot of ways for our business and family
life to flourish."
The Darroh brothers say that, for them, success isn't simply
about building an extensive client list.It's all about building relationships - both in
and out of the office. Their family-owned business has provided them with the flexibility
to focus on both areas.
Thus, when Gladney, single father of two, has to take time from
work to be the best dad he can be, no questions are asked.
"Throughout our history as a business, we've never lost
sight of the responsibilities that we feel very strongly about - strong commitment to
family and community - perspectives that we also apply to our business," says
Gladney. " We want to keep the three things in balance togeather."
After a divorce and ensuing court battles in the late 1980's,
Gladney won full custody of his two young children - daughter Ashley, now an all honors
freshman at Memorial High School, and Steven, a straight-A seventh grader at Memorial
The support of his brothers allowed him to devote his energies
to his young children when they needed him most, he says. And, recently, with the children
older, he was able to take advantage of the booming personnel placement industry and
achieve top producer status.
"I'm very fortunate to have bright and healthy kids who
understand that their dad can't always be there all the time," he says."Its the
nature of a single-parent household."
Keeping the firm's focus on community service alive is the
Darroh brothers' mother, Peggy Darroh. Several years ago the brothers invited their mom to
join them as the company's full-time ambassador to the community.She represents the
corporation through devoting 100% of her time to various charities and was honored as
Museum of Fine Arts Volunteeer of the year in 1997.
Will, who received his HAAPC award for his many personal and
corporate contributions to the community, says the flexibility of the family business has
allowed his community service, as well as permitting him time with his son, Matthew, a
sophomore at the University of Texas, and daughter, Rebekah, a senior at Stratford High
"Some dads have to travel a lot and may only spend about 50
percent of the year with their families," says Will. "We've been fortunate that
our business doesn't require that.
What their business has required is a certain amount of
tenacity. The company, founded in 1977, bears the last names of a Scotsman and Englishman
Gladney met some 30 years ago in a mining town in Nicaragua. The names, Gladney thought,
had a nice ring.
Starting out, Gladney, who had experience
in the technical career training field, and Will, worked out of a small space in an office
on temporary loan by their CPA. Dick joined them six months later.
It was in this office that the firm's first
client was served. When Gladney got to their borrowed office on opening day, a young woman
was working away at the typewriter. He thought she was the CPA's secretary.In fact, she
was the secretary's sister, using the typewriter to work on a resume. She became the
firm's first candidate.
Having no established client list, Gladney worked the telephone
directory, making cold-calls to prospects to introduce the firm. Down to the letter
"P" he made a call to Pennzoil Co. that resulted in a job for the yound woman
and eventually, other work with Pennzoil.
The company has gone on to represent many Fortune 500 companies
with both domestic and international operations, serving as a professional search firm
specializing in meeting the staffing needs of the upstream and downstream energy
In 1991, the brothers established an affiliated company,
Administrative Exchange Inc. Professional Temporaries, to supply the growing need of its
clients for long-term contract employees.
This is a sector of the business where Dick spends most of his
time in while catching some of the overlap of business from the Piper-Morgan side. Like
Piper-Morgan, the company has domestic as well as international aspects to it. However,
its focus is on project-based work. AEI's services benefit companies with various
considerations such as downsizing, recovering, facing uncertain market conditions, and
Dick says he understands the benefits of being self-employed and
the flexibility factor that it provides. "When one of us takes off, that person isn't
earning any money," says Dick."Thats why we make sure that the time taken off is
quality time and very meaningful.
Dick's quality time comes in the way of serving his church as a
mentor. Also, like his brothers, spending time with his family, including his son Dorian,
a graduate student at the University of North Texas, and daughter, Lisa, a senior at Texas
Although Dick doesn't mind putting in the long hours it takes to
serve clients and assist candidates with their respective job searches, he says he
cherishes his role as dad even more.
"Children are an unusual group of people,"says Dick.
"As parents, we all have the challenge and responsibility of establishing what is
right and what is wrong, and how to make the best decisions. If children have that
foundation, if they learn how and why to make the best decisions, then despite the
mistakes they will inevitably make, they'll come back to using good judgement and mature
into responsible adults.