RANCHO CUCAMONGA and SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – After having an informal working arrangement for the last few years, Career Connections Inc., an affiliate of the California Credit Union League, and the human resource division of O’Rourke Consulting, a wholly-owned subsidiary of O’Rourke, Sacher & Moulton, CPAs have made their working relationship official. In a move designed to provide credit unions nationwide with enhanced executive search and staffing services, Career Connections and the human resource division of O’Rourke Consulting, are combining to form a new human resources company called O’Rourke Career Connections LLC. The new company will provide a full range of human resource-related services to CUs including executive recruiting, direct placement, component recruiting and temporary and temp-to-hire services. Executive recruiting and component recruiting services will be offered nationally. Direct placement and temporary services will focus initially on the California market, with offices in northern and southern California. Future expansion will be rolled out as conditions warrant, with possible locations outside California to include Las Vegas, Seattle, and Portland, Wash. Jim Hansen, presently the chief operating officer for the human resource division of O’Rourke Consulting will become president/CEO of O’Rourke Career Connections. Susan Lang, currently the president/CEO of Career Connections, will serve as chief operating officer of the new venture. Peggy McCauley, currently an executive search manager with O’Rourke, will become director of executive search for the new business. O’Rourke Career Connections will be equally owned by the California Credit Union League and O’Rourke Sacher & Moulton. The board of directors will include: David Chatfield, president/CEO, California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues; Gene O’Rourke, managing director, O’Rourke Sacher & Moulton; Matt Davidson, CCUL executive vice president; Mike Sacher, partner, O’Rourke Sacher & Moulton; and Ron McDaniel, CEO, Point Mugu FCU and chairman of Career Connections Inc. An advisory committee including the former board of directors of Career Connections, will be created and invited to provide insights The coming together of the two organizations into one business has been in the making since the beginning of the year, said Hansen, but in actuality Career Connections and the human resource division of O’Rourke Sacher & Moulton predates the announcement. When Career Connections opened its doors for business in 1999, its initial focus was on the temp-to-hire market in southern California. Within the first two months, explained Lang, the company was receiving requests from credit unions for CEO replacement searches. So as Career Connections’ business evolved, it was often requested to compete in the executive search arena, as well as the temp-to-hire and mid-level, direct placement markets. Meanwhile, in northern California, the human resource division of O’Rourke Sacher & Moulton had already been in the executive search business for about 25 years. With credit unions’ HR needs evolving, the company saw a need to begin working down into the mid-level management positions. “Career Connections was coming up from the opposite direction,” said Hansen. “Very often they came to us with referrals because of our expertise with executive searches, and we often went to them with referrals on temp-to-hire and mid-level positions. So we’ve had a working relationship. “We’ve both been serving credit unions and culturally we’re very similar, so strategically this was a good fit,” Hansen said. Unlike other executive search and human resource companies which he described as “resume pushers,” Hansen emphasized O’Rourke Career Connections’ approach is different. “We’ve all been working with credit unions on a day-to-day basis and have been working shoulder-to-shoulder with credit unions. Susan, Peggy and I have all come up from the credit union ranks ourselves, so we’re not your typical headhunters. We have a good understanding of credit unions’ human resource needs.” Before the creation of Career Connections, Lang was the vice president of member services for CCUL, and she has also been the CEO of a small, full-service credit union. Prior to working with O’Rourke, McCauley served as CEO of a mid-sized CU, auditor for a public accounting firm, comptroller for another CU, and an instructor for the D.C. Credit Union League. Hansen was chief operating officer for Southeast Corporate FCU before joining O’Rourke. With so many years experience under his belt helping CUs meet their HR needs, Hansen is keenly aware of the difficulty credit unions are having attracting and retaining quality personnel. “This is not a unique problem for credit unions but one that’s shared by a number of industries,” he said. “It’s not a short-term phenomena either. Even now, with the economy slowing down, we still have fewer people entering the workforce. “This is a complicated business. If credit unions don’t hire and have the right people on staff, they could be facing major problems,” Hansen continued. “Even if a credit union hires the right people, it can still have problems because of the fast rate of technology and regulatory changes. Regulatory pressure is a constant for credit unions, and this makes it even more urgent for credit unions to find quality people.” With credit unions clamoring for HR placement assistance, Hansen thinks other announcements about the formation of nationwide CU human resource companies, such as the one recently announced by CUNA Mutual Corp. and five leagues (CU Times, July 18) will be good for CUs because it means they’ll have more resources to use. It will also be good for the companies. “Competition is good for the industry,” he said. O’Rourke Career Connections LLC anticipates combined initial annual sales by the end of 2001 of approximately $2 million. -

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