Keara Johnson didn’t see herself working at a staffing firm. She graduated from Virginia State University with a sociology major and social work minor, prepared to work for a school…
Terry Kemick holds fond childhood memories of trolling for bluefish at Rudee Inlet.
His grandfather and father, both avid anglers, schooled him in how to cut bait, tie knots and eventually, drive the boat. Kemick soaked it up, proud “every time I caught something,” he says, particularly stoked the afternoon they brought home a king Mackerel.
While on their way back to Sandbridge a giant fish launched out of the ocean. “We didn’t know what it was,” Kemick says.
Quickly, his dad turned the boat around.
“I don’t know if you could say I caught it, but it was on the rod I was watching,” says Kemick, Business Development Manager out of The Lee Group’s Chesapeake office. “I got the start, and my grandfather took it from me. It was something fierce. That was pretty cool.”
These days Kemick enjoys fishing at the family’s river house in Mathews County, where his youngest son, Oliver, will wake everyone up at 5 a.m., for a race to the dock to drop crab pots. As much as Kemick delights in teaching the 6-year-old how to fish, he remains a student himself, often picking the brain of his friend the surf angler, who needs to be prodded to share his tricks.
Kemick continues to experiment with which rigs and hooks work best along with whether to use weights and if so, which ones. He targets certain species these days, including bass, bull drum and cobia, but the tuna remains elusive. He’s never caught one.
“One day, I hope,” he says.
The attention to detail and investment in learning that fuel him to be the best angler he can be drives him professionally. At The Lee Group, Kemick doesn’t just want to be good at his job. He wants to be great, working closely with clients to understand their needs and developing new relationships to grow the business.
When he started with the staffing firm nearly three years ago, it was after a decade-long career with Pepsi, where he worked with established contacts distributing the product. He immersed himself in the new position that was far from his comfort zone. By doing so, he gained a fresh perspective.
Learning the inner workings of manufacturing opened his eyes to the value of temp-to-hire relationships, an idea he once dismissed.
“I didn’t realize that many of the top guys in the warehouse came from temp agencies,” he says. “If I had realized that as a kid, I would have gone that route.”
Discovering all the services The Lee Group provides surprised him, too.
“I didn’t know everything this company offers clients, which is phenomenal for what we ask in return,” he says. “What we do, the recruiting, the on-boarding — we mirror everything to a company’s specs. We basically turn into their HR department and try to get people full-time careers and not just jobs.”
When The Lee Group brings a new client aboard, Kemick does a thorough dive into its culture and processes. It’s an education process he enjoys, because just like fishing, there’s so much to learn to achieve the optimal results.
Recently on behalf of a client, he familiarized himself about welding, a trade, he admittedly knew very little about.
“Now I know the different weld positions, MIG welding, stick welding, flux core welds,” he says. “When I speak about a company, I want to be able to speak confidently about what they do. Knowing what they do helps me show them all the resources that The Lee Group can offer.”