Brad Stevens is President & CEO of Level-C Solutions, which he founded in 2009. Brad is a strategic thought leader and executive with a history of helping companies build top-line sales revenues, design and implement cost-effective Third-Party Staffing Solutions, and improve their bottom-line profits.
In defining success, Brad believes you should measure success from your point of view vs. someone else’s. So, whether you want to be a baseball player, musician, teacher, IT businessperson, CIO, CEO, husband, or wife – focus on being the best you can be by giving 100% of your time and effort to reach your goals.
“For business – find a career that is worthy of your time and talents, where you can enjoy your work on a long-term basis as a career rather than moving from job to job too often looking for the next thing,” he says. Most of the time, the money will follow if you put everything you have into doing an excellent job (in your own eyes). There is a message Brad says he picked up long ago that has worked for him: “Find out what you do best and do more of it!”
Brad’s leadership and the growth of Level-C Solutions
Level-C Solutions, branded initially as Staffing Alliances, was born out of survival vs. design after the 9/11 disaster in 2001, when they had to shut down their operations at Staffing Services, Inc.
Since Brad grew up in Dallas and knew many of the other recruiting and staffing owners, the opportunities to earn income were driven by representing their firms in bringing new clients to them.
A pivotal moment in 2003 when he redesigned the business model and started growing by representing multiple firms to handle a client’s people needs. Then in 2009, Staffing Alliances re-branded as Level-C Solutions, which turned out to be a strategic success in a big way by primarily focusing their efforts on working with business owners and those leaders with P&L responsibilities to solve their talent needs and people problems. “Re-branding to Level-C Solutions is when things changed in how our services are viewed from our client’s perspective,” Brad says.
Overcoming challenges gives you the confidence to do more
From a business perspective, Brad shares some lessons he has learned:
- Cash is King – especially when you must meet weekly payroll which is critical in the staffing industry.
- People do things for their reasons, not yours. The key lesson here is to spend time understanding the other person’s motivators if you want them to complete the things you think they will.
- Take care of your employees and service providers, and they will take care of you and your customers. Typically, your company’s customers are treated the same way you, as the owner/leader/manager, treat your employees. But unfortunately, this simple concept escapes most leaders and managers.
- Honesty is always the best policy –you do not have to remember what you said. As a result, you always get the same answer when asked repeated questions.
- Treat others like you want to be treated. In essence, what goes around comes around.
The beginning and growth of Brad’s career
Brad’s career in the recruiting industry began when Norrell, a national firm providing temporary help to its clients, recruited him to join the company. They wanted someone from outside of the industry to bring in some fresh ideas. In his final interview with the Sr. VP of HR, he told Brad that from what he had seen, if you can draw out a situation and solution on paper – you can make it work. “After ten years in the printing business, I knew how to draw solutions out on paper. This simple thought has proven to be 100% true through the years. Fortunately for me, Norrell had some of the best training in the industry for sales and service, which gave me a great foundation to build my career,” he explains.
During Brad’s time with Norrell, he also had the opportunity to pioneer a pro-active staffing model as an innovative approach to solving staffing issues compared to the traditional re-active temporary help services provided at that time. With the help of a talented team, they took the first Staffing branch from start-up to number one in the division in 18 months. “With this accomplishment, I received the EAGLE Award for leading the effort. This was one of the best awards I ever received and was given as part of the national recognitions at our annual meeting – quite an honor,” says Brad.
Responsibilities as President & CEO at Level-C Solutions
Brad, who defines himself as a ‘Strategic’ person, states that his responsibilities at Level-C Solutions include everything you would expect as a business owner. From setting the strategy for driving revenues to making sales presentations and writing proposals to financing the business operations and finding the right team to make the business work successfully.
Life before Level-C Solutions
During 2007 and 2008, Brad served as the Chief Operating Officer of Paragon Innovations – an outsourced embedded engineering firm specializing in new product development with medical applications, wireless features, and video capabilities. He learned how engineers think – from concept design to software development to creating a product to take to market from someone’s idea.
Before starting his firm (Staffing Services, Inc.) Brad worked for two national temporary service companies. He held a Regional Director management position with one of the multi-national staffing companies. He led the turnaround of the DFW market – bringing ten years of losses to profitability in about two years.
Before being recruited into the staffing industry, Brad was in printing for ten years, which he states were delightful. “My first job in printing was with the Burroughs Corporation. During this time, I was lucky enough to win a national sales contest as #1 in the country. Another printing company I worked with was the TJM Corporation, a total forms management company. There I served as the youngest District Manager in the history of the company and was responsible for the DFW market – my first exposure to P&L responsibilities,” he says.
Personal & Business achievements
“I have a great wife who has kept me around for 36 years,” says Brad. They have three daughters who they are immensely proud of and who are successful in their own lives. “We have also been blessed with five grandchildren. All totalled a great family!” he exclaims. From a personal standpoint, Brad states that he was fortunate to earn a bachelor’s degree in business from Texas Tech University and an MBA from the University of Dallas. Being in DFW for most of his career, Brad enjoys a vast network of friends and business associates with whom he gets the pleasure of working with and serving.
From a business perspective – he says he has enjoyed a genuinely nice career in the recruiting and staffing industry for over 30 years. “Having my own business since 1991, when I founded Staffing Services, Inc., has been quite a roller coaster ride. The biggest success is when we were able to take the business from the kitchen table to reach the Top 25 in the DFW market in 2000,” he states. At their peak, they had over five hundred employees out on assignment day in and day out.
Plans for the future of Level-C Solutions
Brad plans to work for the next 10 to 15 years, continuing to grow Level-C Solutions to help business owners solve their people problems – especially the challenging ones. Through the years, this unique service approach has successfully survived and adjusted by being flexible to meet the ever-changing market conditions.
“As you will find, I look at everything we do from the client’s side of the table. In our business model with Level-C Solutions, we work with and represent multiple strategic alliances to serve business owners by solving their people problems from top to bottom. Our solutions are customized to the problem. Here are a couple of ways we help: search services, including finding leadership talent like CIO, CTO, CFO or even Board members, staff augmentation solutions and application development needs where teams are pulled together to write the code for software, to IT Security and Cybersecurity talent to deal with the challenges we all constantly face in today’s world,” Brad explains.
Building trusted relationships helps keep work-life balance in check
Brad strongly believes in family and in connecting. “If I stray too far to one side or the other, I have my wife or my amazing network of real friends that can bring me back to the path,” he states. Many of his beliefs are built around Servant Leadership.
From a business perspective, the core of this mindset developed from his involvement with the Business Navigators Organization (formerly CEO Netweavers). There, Brad belongs to a Forum consisting of other business owners who meet monthly to discuss the status of any issues in the following areas of life: Personal, Mental, Physical, Spiritual, Business, Family, and Financial. “These are the seven key areas of life in total. I have found that you will be successful if you pay attention to each area and surround yourself with trusted friends and peers that can help maintain a healthy balance between your personal and professional life. But it is a constant battle and requires you to work at it consistently,” he says.
Brad believes he stays motivated by the desire to provide for his family and to help others. He always wants to be the best, no matter the challenge or competition, in closing a deal, delivering a solution for a client, or being the best husband, father and Papa.
His team is motivated because he takes the time to learn their reason for working and to understand their goals for the near future and help manage to that. He has learned many times over that people do things for their reasons, not yours. “In my opinion, it is much more effective and productive if we build a position that fits their goals and aligns with the company goals rather than trying to fit someone in a job spec that may not be right for them,” states Brad.
To aspiring entrepreneurs, Brad’s message is – make sure you want to be a Business Owner before you jump off the edge into the deep waters and understand these three things:
- You will need more Cash than you think
- Know that you get to work any 80 hours per week you want
- Never Give Up! Most business owners quit right before they break through.
If you need to talk to someone who has been there and can help you solve the challenges you face as a business owner, give Level-C Solutions a call.
Brad’s contact information is: