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Major Area Staffing Firm Names New CEO, Plans to Double Size

By: Rich Kirchen, Milwaukee Business Journal

QPS Employment Group, which is one of metro Milwaukee’s largest staffing firms, plans to double in size over the next five years under its new CEO Ryan Festerling, who is a former Kohl’s Corp. executive.

Festerling, 48, joined Brookfield-based QPS four years ago as president and chief operating officer. He held numerous leadership roles at Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) including executive vice president and head of human resources.

Festerling’s promotion represents a shift to a new generation of leadership at QPS, which has 400 employees and 57 offices in nine states. The company posted revenue of over $300 million in 2022, Festerling said.

This month, Festerling succeeded Dan McNulty, 60, as CEO at QPS Employment. McNulty is a longtime QPS employee who was CEO for about five years and will serve on the company’s board. Chairman and founder Scott Mayer will serve as executive chair of the board. Mayer, 58, founded the company in 1985 in his family’s suburban Franklin basement at age 19.

A third longtime leader of QPS was chief sales officer Mark Immekus, who died five years ago. “Mark — our beloved partner — taught us a lesson,” Mayer said. “He died suddenly of a heart attack on April 26 of 2018 and taught us that we’re not going to be here forever so we better plan accordingly and do the right things.”

QPS launched an employee stock ownership program in 2021. The company’s board hired Festerling in 2019 and before that chief financial officer Keith Jochims in 2018 as part of a leadership transition plan, Mayer said.

Festerling said he appreciates Mayer and McNulty mentoring him and their approach to succession planning with the QPS board. “We’re in heavy planning to double the company in the next five years or so through both organic (growth) and through acquisitions,” Festerling said.

QPS has invested heavily the past 18 months in its systems and is ready to build out its business, Festerling said. The company is looking to grow at a time when the staffing industry has retracted a bit due to economic concerns, he said. “It’s going to be a lot of work,” Festerling said, “(but) our strategy is our strategy.”

QPS has offices in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The company also operates Accelerate Professional Talent solutions, which is the company’s professional services division.

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