OMAHA, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — It’s been 15 years since a couple of Nebraska guys launched a four-person health care staffing business in an Omaha office about the size of a pickleball court.
Today, those same founders of Triage Staffing are preparing to move nearly 350 local workers (225 others are in the Cincinnati area) into a newly purchased, 100,000-square-foot headquarters along the busy West Dodge Road corridor.
That’s more than triple the existing space the company moved into just five years ago and expanded three years later.
Triage’s bigger digs, poised to undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation at 13609 California St., will be its sixth home since that first roughly 1,000-square-foot starter spot. The planned move in early 2023 signals explosive growth of a hometown business in a medical staffing industry that also has boomed since the pandemic struck, says co-founder and chief executive John Maaske.
No slowdown anticipated
“We’ve experienced incredible, rapid growth,” Maaske said. “And we don’t anticipate the growth in health care staffing to slow anytime soon.”
Founded in 2006, the Triage model has recruiters and sales people matching traveling health care professionals — in nursing, radiology, cardiopulmonary, rehabilitation therapy and laboratory careers — with medical facilities across the country that need their services.
This year marked the sixth that Triage made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing U.S. privately held companies, reaching its best ranking yet, No. 2,282, and hitting 186% year-over-year revenue growth in 2021. This year Triage Staffing also ranked in the top 100 (No. 93) of the Inc. 5000 Regionals, for the Midwest area.
Maaske said Triage expects to hit $1 billion in revenue in 2022. Within five years, the business anticipates employing about 900 workers, two-thirds of them in Omaha.
We really doubled down and got this new office space for the future of our business.
– John Maaske, Triage Staffing chief executive and co-founder
While the company supports hybrid scheduling that allows remote working, he said Triage is “bullish” on face-to-face culture-building. Between $12 million and $16 million is being invested to create the kind of modern, welcome, alluring environment where employees want to spend their workday.
“We really doubled down and got this new office space for the future of our business,” Maaske said.
He and co-founder Tyler Pieper are part of an investor group that paid about $20 million for the five-story building, which spans nearly six acres in the Commercial Federal business park.
At first, Triage will occupy about 80,000 square feet of the 15-year-old structure, which previously was the headquarters for a different medical staffing agency. The remaining space will be rehabbed later when a lease expires for an existing tenant.
Maaske said the company from the onset had an emphasis on creating a “fantastic experience” for workers, be they corporate staff or travelers who typically sign up for 13-week work stints at various health care centers.
At the new headquarters, a modernization plan led by Omaha’s Leo A Daly architecture and interior design team will build upon current Triage amenities such as nap pods, retro high school bleachers and a beloved beer fridge the company says all honor its laid-back roots.
The renovated space will reflect responses of employee surveys and carry over the worker-friendly spirit, Maaske said, with features such as a fitness area, a bar lounge, a game area with ping-pong, foosball and simulated golf games, and a sizable cafeteria. Food trucks will come, along with guests such as the Pancake Man.
Pets welcome (well, most of them)
It’ll also be pet-friendly, within reason. “You can’t bring your iguana to work, but we are dog friendly,” says Maaske, who was named No. 20 on Glassdoor’s list of top CEOs in the small to medium category.
Maaske said the state’s low unemployment rate has presented a challenge to hiring, but he still expects the company’s Omaha workforce, made up of recruiting and sales positions as well as financing and other corporate support roles, to nearly double within about five years.
Like the medical staffing industry overall, Maaske said, Triage swelled as COVID-19 cases spiked and health care facilities needed workers to fill voids and increased demands.
In some cases, Maaske said, health care professionals got burned out and left traditional full-time jobs. Many elected to take on a temporary traveler position that comes with a housing and living stipend in a city they may appreciate learning about.
Generally today, Maaske said, a traveler might earn 20% to 25% more than in their previous traditional job, though that varies depending on supply and demand.
“We’ve been through unprecedented times in our country as it relates to our health care crisis,” Maaske said. “That’s created certain spikes in pay for these travelers that won’t exist once things kind of normalize.”
Triage has a 10-year lease on the new building, and Maaske foresees the possibility of filling the space, even with remote working, before the decade is up. “That’s a good problem to have,” he said, adding that the next step would be to rent or build a second local spot.
He said Triage leadership hasn’t entertained moving its headquarters away from Omaha, though it grew in 2020 by acquiring the former TaleMed of Loveland, Ohio. He cited Omaha’s business environment and workforce as pluses.
“Omaha is home,” Maaske said. “We’re certainly committed to Omaha, to all of our employees and to making investments toward our long-term vision for growth.”
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