By Jessica LaGrossa
At just 23 years of age, Denver Zoo’s Kipele is the park’s oldest giraffe. Add to that the use of birth control, and you could say that her keepers were more than a little doubtful when the possibility of Kipele being pregnant came to light. So the zoo turned to its trusted partner, E.I. Medical Imaging, producers of state-of-the-art, real-time ultrasound scanners serving veterinarians and livestock producers world-wide. Within one hour of receiving E.I.’s latest ultrasound technology, EVO™, zoo keepers had the portable scanner out of the box and in Kipele’s enclosure where the giraffe’s familiar handlers were able to scan the large animal. Nearby veterinarians, safely outside of the anxious giraffe’s cage, were able to view the wirelessly streamed scans and confirm that Kipele was indeed expecting. Denver quietly welcomed baby Dobby on February 28 while the rest of the country sat glued to their screens watching viral streaming video, waiting on Animal Adventure Park Zoo’s own giraffe, April, to deliver her calf. (He finally arrived on April 15.)
It’s these type of successful stories that make Chas Maloy, president of E. I. Medical Imaging, reflect on why he acquired the company in 2005. “I was tired of working for large companies and wanted something different,” he explained. “I wanted to move from service to manufacturing.”
It took him about two years to find the right small manufacturing company, but when Maloy found E.I. he knew he had stumbled upon something worthwhile. “I didn’t know anything about ultrasound, electronics, or the veterinary industry…other than my own dogs,” he joked. “But I was intrigued by the technology, by what they were doing, and by the potential of what they could do.”
Today, Maloy and the entire E.I. team is proud to be the only manufacturer of portable ultrasound systems engineered and developed in the United States specifically for the animal industry. Their technology is used on everything from dogs and cats up to elephants and giraffes as well as aquatic and marine species. “Our EVO is featured on Shark Week!,” Maloy boasted.
But while acquiring and building E.I. has come easy for Maloy, he’s quick to admit that the acquisition of employees proves more challenging. “When you are a small, rapidly growing company, hiring and searching for employees is one of the most difficult things you do as a company and as an executive,” he explained. “It’s time consuming and we just don’t have that time to devote to the process.”
So Maloy turned to Employment Solutions and their specialized skilled manufacturing division. “We have very specialized skill requirements for the type of work that we do and Employment Solutions quickly grasped the nature of the skills sets we need and our company culture, which is very important to us,” said Maloy. “Skills sets are one thing, but since we are a small company, the company culture and ensuring a cultural fit is equally if not more important.”
In order to truly get a feel for the E.I. culture and the company’s needs, Employment Solutions representatives traveled to E.I. to spend time on location. “They were very forward and took an interest in what we are doing,” shared Maloy.
E.I. is unique in that it is an engineering, manufacturing, and service support company as well as a sales company. “We do every aspect of the product life cycle,” Maloy explained. Therefore, E.I. needs strong candidates on the technical service and support side of operations, highly skilled in electronics and software, as well as manufacturing prospects. “These are very precise instruments and require a very high level of attention to detail in the manufacturing process,” said Maloy.
The benefits of working with Employment Solutions’ specialized division materialized rather quickly, which Maloy credits to the division’s first-hand understanding of his company’s needs and environment. Additionally, working with the division’s senior recruiter, Sarah Nelson, over the past couple of years has built a trust in such a way that Maloy knows that when Nelson presents a candidate, it is someone who is going to be a good fit. “They aren’t just throwing candidates that look like a potential fit on paper at us,” he said. “They take the time to interview each individual person, do thorough background checks, and ultimately take a lot of the legwork out of the process for us.”
Once candidates are identified and hired, it’s also important for Maloy to maintain them. “Ultrasound is a very esoteric technology,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to find a workforce right off of the street that will have a good grasp of the technology from day one.” While there are some core fundamental technical skills that are required, according to Maloy, it is the application of those skills that can take three to six months for an employee to be productive. “So we certainly can’t afford to bring someone on—with the time and cost associated with training—and get that person up to speed and then lose them three to four months down the road,” he explained. “It’s a large investment to get them to a productive point for us.”
Employment Solutions has made that investment worthwhile—every single prospective employee that they have brought to E.I. over the past two years as a temp-to hire has successfully converted to full time. “The people they bring to us are a spot on fit,” Maloy confirmed. “They are quick and responsive, which is very beneficial to us so that we can keep moving forward.”