MODESTO — Principal Service Solutions, Inc., a technical service and staffing provider that services the high-tech manufacturing industry, was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing private companies in America.
This is the second year in a row the company has made the list. Based on a three-year revenue growth rate of 542 percent, the firm ranked 728 in the top 5,000 companies on the 2016 list.
In 2015, the Modesto-based company ranked 289 and posted a whopping 1,580 percent revenue growth rate over three years.
Principal Service Solutions launched in 2010 and offers technical services and staffing solutions. The company specializes in flexible workforces, functional outsourcing, traditional staffing and principal workforce options. Its customers are large semiconductor and solar manufacturers as well as companies in adjacent industries, including makers of flat panel displays.
The company employs 200 people located in 12 states and six foreign countries. The vast majority of those workers are full-time Principal Service Solutions employees.
“We’re not like your typical staffing company that’s going to hire somebody and just provide them the bare minimum benefits,” said President and CEO Tim Wylie. “We’ve got vacation time, health, dental, vision, 401K, the full gamut.”
Wylie was born and raised in Modesto. For 15 years, he commuted to his high-tech job in the Bay Area, after returning home from military service in 1995. He planned to permanently relocate to the Bay Area, but in 1997 he met his now wife, Gina, who had recently moved to Modesto from Gustine.
Modesto was where she wanted to stay, so he ultimately chose her over a shorter commute. When he started Principal Service Solutions in 2010, it was an easy decision to put the Corporate Headquarters in Modesto.
Principal Service Solutions’ corporate office is in Modesto, but only eight employees work there. The rest of the staff live all over the country.
More than half of Principal Service Solutions’ employees are assigned to clients as flexible workers, who focus on specified projects that can last anywhere from three to 24 months.
“The large semiconductor or adjacent market customers have really adopted the flexible workforce model,” said Wylie. “So a lot of these major companies have a certain ratio of their own full-time workers to what they call contingent workers.”
An example of a flexible workforce assignment is the installation of semiconductor capital equipment at a computer chip manufacturing facility in Israel. Approximately 25 Principal Service Solutions engineers will travel to Israel. They will help the original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, install, set up, test and validate the tooling.
“At the end of the 18 months, my people will pull out, and then my customer’s people will stay there to sustain it,” said Wylie.
Principal Service Solutions engineers will then be assigned to new projects.
“We have enough business so that when a group of engineers or technicians is done with one project, we put them on another,” Wylie said.
The company also provides functional workforce staffing solutions for clients that need to outsource a specific area of expertise. About 25 percent of Principal Service Solutions employees are functional workers who provide support to those clients for indefinite periods of time.
“They’ll contract us to bring in a workforce to handle certain pieces of their contractual obligation, working side by side with their people over the long term,” Wylie said.
Employing flexible or functional workforces benefits clients within the cyclical high-tech industry and offers them cost efficiencies in labor overhead.
“The larger the company, the larger their burden,” said Wylie. “So, oftentimes it’s actually cheaper for them to get a person from me with the same skill set as opposed to hiring that person directly.”
One key area that Wylie says sets his firm apart from other staffing companies is the firm’s Principal Workforce. Roughly 15 percent of Principal Service Solutions employees operate in this category.
Principal Workforce contracts with manufacturers of large semiconductor manufacturing equipment and acts as that OEM’s service provider to its customers. Principal Service Solutions builds a team, gets the team members trained on the particular piece of equipment and then assigns them to the manufacturing site.
That team is involved through the length of the warranty, which is typically one to two years and in most cases even after the warranty has expired for an extended period of time.
“We are the face to their customer on their behalf,” Wylie said. “We fully manage every aspect of the operation from safety to operations to engineering to customer management. We call that principal workforce.”
The balance of the company’s employees provide traditional temporary staffing solutions or are involved with various projects, or providing project management services to their customers.
When searching for talent to fill its 200-member workforce, Principal Service Solutions employs a team of specialized recruiters and is able to draw upon its leadership team’s network and background. Director of Business Development Neal Landsburgh, Director of Operations Michael Dill and Wylie have decades of combined industry experience.
“Our network of people, again with varying levels of experience, different tool sets, is probably 10,000 to 15,000 people,” Wylie said.
Wylie estimates that the $360 billion semiconductor industry and related industries will experience steady and stable growth over the next two years. That translates into good news for Principal Services Solutions.
“I do expect our employee base to increase by probably 40 percent or higher over the next year,” he said.
Principal Service Solutions invests in its employees to a greater extent than the firm’s direct competitors, according to Wylie.
“They are utilizing their employees like Kelly Services, dispatch and forget,” Wylie said. “What we’re really, really proud of is our reputation in the industry amongst our customers and amongst our employees or our future employees. We gained the reputation as being the company the employees want to work for.”