CEDAR RAPIDS — Anthony Arrington, Karl Cassell, Nick Ford and Reggie Ward are four hometown guys trying to make a difference in their community.
While their careers and lives took them in different directions over the years, the four Cedar Rapids natives converged in July when they founded Top Rank Staffing, an executive job search and recruitment agency that focuses on diversity and inclusion.
Arrington, who has experience in the fields of not-for-profit fundraising and human-resources recruiting, was working for a national staffing agency when he observed the lack of diversity in the leadership ranks of the companies he supported.
“At every company I go talk to, nobody looks like me,” said Arrington, who is black. “There aren’t a lot of women, either, unless they’re in HR roles.”
Cassell, whose has spent his professional life working with underrepresented communities in Iowa and Maryland, most recently as president and CEO of Horizons in Cedar Rapids, shared similar concerns.
“One thing that always resonated with me serving on boards where I was the only African-American in the room was how to get more minorities on boards and engaged in the community,” he said. “It starts with having leadership roles in their companies.”
Last June, Arrington and Cassell discussed their shared concerns and what they could do to increase the representation of minorities and women in leadership positions. A few days later, Arrington got a call from Ford, a retired Navy officer, who said he was thinking about starting a recruiting firm.
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“I said, ‘Man, Nick, have you talked to Karl, because I just had the same conversation with him three or four days ago,’” Arrington recalled.
The men then approached Ward, who recently had returned to Iowa after working in logistics, distribution and warehouse operations positions throughout the Midwest and on the West Coast.
“He fell in love with the idea,” Arrington said.
Top Rank Staffing aims to help businesses recruit high-quality, diverse talent for professional, mid-management, senior leadership and executive roles. The primary industries it serves include construction, financial services, logistics and transportation, not-for-profits, sports management, technology services and manufacturing.
“We looked at where we, as professionals, have expertise,” Arrington said. “It makes sense to recruit in industries that we are experienced in.”
The company also assists job seekers with resume-building and matching them to companies that fit their skills and career objectives.
While the company’s focus is on expanding the candidate pool for any given position with qualified people of color, women, military veterans, individuals with disabilities and other underrepresented professionals, Top Rank Staffing is all-inclusive.
“We want to market great talent to companies,” Arrington said. “We didn’t start our business to exclude middle-aged white men. That would be anti-diversity.”
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At a Glance
l Owners: Anthony Arrington, Karl Cassell, Nick Ford, Reggie Ward
l Business: Top Rank Staffing
l Address: 2815 28th Avenue SW, P.O. Box 1241, Cedar Rapids
l Phone: (319) 533-2624
l Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
l Website: www.toprankstaffing.com