IRVINE — Thomas Services, operator of the Thomas Temporaries chain of temporary personnel agencies, has nabbed former ChemLawn Corp. operations chief Gene C. Wilson to serve as president, the company said Wednesday.
Wilson, 46, replaces longtime Thomas President Bonnie R. Nash, who has joined the executive staff of the Lee Hecht Harrison Inc. outplacement firm in its Irvine office. Lee Hecht Harrison is one of the nation's largest companies involved in outplacement--employment counseling and job placement for workers who are losing their jobs.
Thomas Temporaries, with 34 offices throughout the state, is a major regional employment service specializing in clerical, word processing and secretarial help. The company also operates two offices specializing in permanent job placement. Both are in Los Angeles under the Thomas Careers name.
While Wilson has no previous experience in the employment agency industry, he said he brings to Thomas "a common set of business skills (that are) transferable among most businesses. Leadership, managerial, sales, service and people skills are the same whether you are peddling pizzas or placing people" in jobs.
Wilson worked with Pizza Hut Inc. for eight years before joining ChemLawn. At Pizza Hut, he was responsible for corporate and franchise management of the more than 2,800 restaurants east of the Mississippi River and then, as vice president of operations, was involved in establishing Pizza Hut's home-delivery service nationwide.
At ChemLawn, a residential and commercial lawn-care firm, Wilson was vice president of operations.
In both prior posts, he was deeply involved in franchising operations, but he said Wednesday that there are no plans to launch a franchising effort at Thomas. Wilson also said that any expansion of the company into other states is "only a long-term item."
Commenting on the slowdown that has hit most employment services in the current recession, Wilson said his top priority at Thomas is to "sharpen up our operating and service systems to take best advantage of things when the recession ends."
A former resident of Columbus, Ohio, Wilson said he and his family are in the process of moving into the gated community of Coto de Caza.