Edward McKersie has built a career around helping others find theirs.
His recruiting firm, Pro Search, Inc., has had virtually zero turnover since 1994, allowing McKersie and his staff to build lasting, real partnerships with Maine’s small business community. These established partnerships have given rise to his newest venture, LiveandWorkinMaine.com, a project that brings talent from far away to thriving Maine companies.
And, if not for his chance career decision decades ago, it is hard to say what Maine’s current recruiting landscape would look like.
In 1989, McKersie was working as a recruiter for Robert Half International in Massachusetts when he was given the opportunity to move a bit further north and head up the opening of their new office in Maine.
His time there was short-lived. McKersie was recruited by a competitor to join their national recruitment and business development team, with the goal of opening and expanding new markets around the country. But in 1993, his new employer announced the company would be relocating — to Florida.
He now faced a major decision: Head for the beaches and beautiful weather of Florida, or stay in his adopted home state?
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McKersie went on to establish Pro Search, Inc. in 1994. But why launch his company in Maine and not his home state of Massachusetts or a larger city elsewhere?
“I had a young family and loved the quality of life in Maine, so there was really no question [that] I would stay here,” he explains.
Maine’s business community quickly embraced his locally focused approach to recruitment, making Pro Search an immediate player in the employment services market. Credit that to McKersie’s relentless drive to see the firm succeed.
“There was certainly pressure to deliver. I had small children and not much in savings other than my retirement account, so making the leap from a steady paycheck that paid the mortgage to not knowing when I might be able to generate enough revenue to pay myself was motivating.”
When the dot-com boom hit in the 1990s, McKersie wasn’t content to just sit back and rest on the success of Pro Search. With an eye toward the future, he helped launch JobsinME.com as a co-founder and investor. Before selling his shares in 2005, the company had became one of the largest job sites in the region.
Speaking with management teams over the years, one theme stood out as a constant to McKersie. Employers were concerned that their location in Maine hurt their ability to recruit talented staff. To change that perception, McKersie recently started Live and Work in Maine to share the success stories of those “from away” who have discovered what Maine truly has to offer.
“Maine’s quality of life should be marketed as a competitive advantage,” says McKersie. He’s clearly not alone in this belief, as he already has well over 200 employers committed to the initiative.
McKersie’s dedication to building Maine’s workforce and promoting the state’s business community hasn’t stopped at his own business ventures. He’s also active in a number of organizations, including serving as President of the Human Resources Association of Southern Maine.
McKersie has also served on the Maine Society of Human Resources Management Council, where he helped establish the Best Places to Work in Maine program. Now in its tenth year, the program has proven to be a valuable tool for promoting businesses that adhere to best practices when it comes to employee relations and human resource issues.
For his work on this program, and his overall dedication to human resources in Maine, McKersie was inducted into the Society for Human Resource Management’s Hall of Fame in 2012. That same year, he received a gubernatorial appointment to the State Workforce Investment Board. He’s also served as Board Chair of the Maine Center for Enterprise Development, as Chair of the University of Southern Maine (USM) Corporate Partners. He is currently Chair of the USM Foundation Board, and also sits on the USM Board of Visitors.
His contributions to the economic growth of the state are vital, but equally, if not more, important is his commitment to giving back. McKersie finances prospective Maine businesses, primarily in the technology sector, through the Maine Angels. And, true to his beliefs, McKersie sees to it that each of his businesses make charitable contributions. As an example, Pro Search donates 5 cents for each hour its temporary and contract employees work for their clients.
It’s safe to say, McKersie made the right decision staying in Maine.
By showcasing what drew him here, Maine’s quality of life, Ed McKersie fills the needs of Maine companies. He not only attracts new talent for the state’s emerging industries, he invests in them, too. Most importantly, he believes in Maine. That’s why he is a Maine Icon.