American Employment Agency: benefiting employers and job-seekers of Tallahassee
By: Lauren Novo
In 1972, a time when few women owned their own businesses, Edna Folmar opened American Employment Agency with just 1000 dollars. The organization has been serving employers and job seekers of Tallahassee and the surrounding area since. Although Edna is now retired, the business remains in the family, under the ownership of her daughter, Debbie Spitler.
When her mother started the agency, Debbie was just out of high school and wanted to live and experience an area other than her hometown, Tallahassee. Debbie transferred to a community college in North Carolina and met her husband shortly thereafter. She married at 21 years old and had two sons; at that time, she put school on the backburner to enjoy life as a stay at home mother. In 1981, Debbie realized she missed her hometown and family and wanted her children to know their grandparents, so her family moved to Tallahassee.
Feeling that no career could be better than one where she could work with her mother, Debbie joined American Employment Agency. She and her mother were fortunate enough to have chemistry in the workplace. Debbie was able to take time off work when her kids were sick or when she wanted to take them on field trips; her mother was more understanding of these situations than an unrelated boss would have been, and Debbie always appreciated that. At the agency, Debbie started part time as a receptionist and then eventually became an employment counselor. When her third son was born, she took some time off work. Upon returning to the business, she became office manager and slowly evolved from there. Originally, Debbie, her parents, and her two siblings all had 20 percent of the company; as time passed, though, Debbie’s family slowly gave her their shares. When her mother retired in 2000, Debbie took over the family business.
American Employment Agency has two main functions: help employers find quality employees and help qualified candidates find jobs. Employers most appreciate the agency’s efforts to save them time and energy. Essentially, the agency screens for employers’ needs and then sends qualified candidates in for interviews with those employers. Job-seekers also find the services useful as they are provided an avenue to a new job. Debbie doesn’t make any promises about getting the candidate a job, as the hiring decisions are ultimately the employer’s, but she can at least get qualified individuals into an interview and give them helpful, encouraging suggestions along the way. The agency specializes in clerical, administrative, bookkeeping, customer service, and sales, but can locate jobs outside those fields as well; also, the business has always offered direct-hire services, but in 2001, Debbie branched out to include temporary hire services in addition.
Debbie loves living back in Tallahassee, running the agency and spending free time with her family. She has now been married 35 years and has three grown sons; her parents and siblings still live in the area, so she feels blessed to be so near to them as well. Debbie also uses free time to stay involved in the community. She is a member of the Chamber of Commerce Leads Group 6. In addition, she is the vice president of Zonta Club’s local chapter in Tallahassee; her chapter is part of the international organization and is focused on improving the lives of women and children. Her local chapter helps the Refuge house and Pace center for girls, among other things.
Debbie, a native of Tallahassee, can honestly say she cares about the community. She is proud to own a business that serves those in the area, and looks forward to seeing Tallahassee continue to grow in the future.Submitted by