When Ginni Matern Mastin graduated From Ferrum College in 2004, she faced a question her mother and grandmother faced before her: What do I want to do with my life?

She didn’t have job experience and was having a hard time finding employment.

So Mastin went to work for her mother at At Once Staffing, and while she went on to work as a respiratory therapist and a pharmaceutical representative, she recently found her way back to the agency, helping locals with job placement.

Mastin took over ownership of the family business on Jan. 1, buying her siblings out, and changed its name to Matern Staffing to honor her family’s legacy there.

“We’re all passionate about helping people,” she said.

Like Mastin, her grandmother and mother—who founded and led the business, respectively—started in health care careers but opted to leave for the staffing industry.

The company now has 150 employees from Manassas to Caroline County working for 30 clients. That number has grown 20 percent in the last year, she said, as the economy picked up.

The entire industry is expanding. According to the American Staffing Association’s annual report for 2016, the post-Great-Recessionstaffing sector has experienced a period of expansion 40 percent longer than the average of growth periods since World War II.

And in Virginia in 2015, the most recent year data was available, staffing agencies employed 284,961 workers.

Mastin expects Matern Staffing to grow in 2017 thanks to a concerted sales and marketing push.

“We provide everything from light industrial to clerical jobs,” she said, and Mastin wants to add medical staffing for its clients.

That’s not the only update she’s making. Mastin renovated the company offices recently, painting her motto “Work Hard. Be Kind. Be Humble.” in the lobby.

She is also implementing online systems that would give people another option to filling out paper applications by hand.

The company was founded in Richmond, where Mastin’s grandmother, Ann Duffer, worked as a nurse and in pharmaceutical sales before entering the personnel business in 1962. In 1967, she opened Ann Duffer Personnel in downtown Richmond.

She expanded to Fredericksburg in 1993, when Stat Temps, a subsidiary of her business, opened in the Westwood Office Park.

Her daughter, Cindy Matern, was vice president of the subsidiary, which was also known as Stat Employment.

Matern then founded At Once Staffing in 2006. She passed away in 2015, leaving the company to her children.

Mastin said that with the new phase of the business, she will build on the foundation her mother and grandmother built.

Staff member Michelle Jones has worked there for eight years.

“I’m exciting about Ginni’s vision,” Jones said.

Teresa West, who has worked at Matern for 15 years, said the industry outlook is bright. She moved here from Atlanta for the job.

“I call them—the Materns—my Virginia family,” she said. “I saw [Ginni] grow up. It’s been remarkable having her back in the business.”

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Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com @flslindley

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