Launching a new business venture can be terrifying, which is why it’s lucky for Dustin Kellow that he’s never been afraid of taking risks. He’s earned job offers by picking up the phone and calling CEOs directly and even packed up his life to move to Melbourne, Australia for a few years. As a 2001 graduate of the Business Administration – Marketing program at Durham College (DC), Dustin has spent the better part of his career working in marketing. So when he decided to leave the marketing world in 2017 to launch Durham Recruiting, it was yet another leap of faith and change that he knew needed to happen.
“I used to leave work running to the GO Train, then rush across Oshawa and into Port Perry to get home in time to read our daughter a bedtime story,” says Dustin, recalling the long commute he used to take into Toronto for work. “It was during one of those evenings that I overheard [my wife] Diane, who was working at Randstad at the time, speaking to a candidate who was so grateful for Diane helping her get her dream job. That was our aha moment! So we moved our mortgage, got a small line of credit and went all in with no plan B and started Durham Recruiting together.”
The gamble of going all in has already paid off for Dustin and Diane. Maclean’s and Canadian Business magazines recently ranked Durham Recruiting as the 15th fastest growing company in Canada. The company also won ClearlyRated’s 2019 Best of Staffing Client and Talent awards. For Dustin, the risk of entrepreneurship is no match for its rewards including a shorter commute and the satisfaction of discovering his talent in professional matchmaking.
“I love everything about my job,” he says. “I work with an amazing team of dedicated individuals, and we have the opportunity to hear not only the stories of all the incredible businesses that exist here in Durham, but the stories of job seekers, too. There is nothing more gratifying than matching someone with a local company and knowing that both parties benefit.”
Dustin also places a high value on being a part of the community. Both he and his wife are active members with all five boards of trade and chambers of commerce throughout Durham as well as the Business Advisory Centre Durham, where they provide free workshops and sit on the human resources expert panel that provides advice to entrepreneurs. They also volunteer for community events like the Communities with Brooms clean-up initiative and the holiday family gift sponsorship for Their Opportunity, a nonprofit based in Oshawa. Durham Recruiting also recently received an Eco-Business designation from the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade for their sustainable business practices.
If you ask Dustin and Diane what comes next, expect exciting goals and, of course, a few more risks. They recently announced the fall launch of their new Human Resources division.
“We’ve helped our partners acquire top talent for their companies and now with our new HR division we can partner with them to help with retention strategies and other HR-related functions that are critical for the growth and success of companies,” explains Dustin.
Durham Recruiting is also working with DC’s Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions to develop a powerful tool that will use artificial intelligence to better match job seekers with businesses by going beyond the traditional resumé. Differing from other AI recruitment tools, the prototype will include key factors in its matchmaking process such as psycho-metric data, work environment, culture fit and more. The innovative business tool is expected to launch in mid-2020.
As Dustin reflects on the past busy, but fulfilling, few years, he is confident that his decision to take a chance on entrepreneurship was the right one.
“Starting Durham Recruiting has given me the best of both worlds. I still get to interview and hear people’s stories like I did when I was in marketing, but now I get to place them into a full-time job and I can take all my business and marketing knowledge and apply it to my own company. I’m very lucky!”