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Mergers Drive Change At N.Y. Staffing Firms

New York's two major staffing resource firms for the fashion industry, Project Solvers and 24 Seven, are undergoing changes on the home front.

New York’s two major staffing resource firms for the fashion industry, Project Solvers and 24 Seven, are undergoing changes on the home front.

Project Solvers, which was founded in 1988, has a new corporate parent. It merged in 2006 with Resolve Staffing, which last month was bought by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Select Staffing.

Project Solvers co-founder and president Anne Maxfield worked as a fashion designer before launching the freelance and full-time personnel firm for the fashion, apparel and design-related industries.

Maxfield, who recently left the firm, said the niche market has grown to more than a $20 million a year industry.

“It’s been a wonderful experience, great to see careers develop, and now it’s time to move on. I always laughed when people used to talk about serial entrepreneurs, but now I know exactly what they meant,” said Maxfield, who is taking some time off to plan her next venture.

She noted the two big changes in the past 20 years have involved computers and technical designers. “The computers existed 20 years ago, but have come so far since then, and technical designers didn’t exist until about 15 years ago,” she noted.

Richard Walsh, who joined Project Solvers in November 2007, succeeds Maxfield. Walsh was a managing partner at Gromwell Group Inc.

Gromwell, meanwhile, has entered into an asset purchase agreement to be acquired by creative talent staffing giant 24 Seven Inc. The deal is subject to the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

As reported, Gromwell has been embroiled in a legal battle with 24 Seven. According to Stuart Kagel, a partner at 24 Seven, the dispute with Gromwell centered on theft of trade secrets and employment contract violations law. A $742,000 award was won by 24 Seven against Gromwell from a New York state court in Manhattan. Gromwell said in January that it filed for bankruptcy court protection to bar 24 Seven from trying to seize assets to satisfy the court award.

“The effective merging of these two premier staffing firms, both servicing the fashion and creative marketplace, will provide superior resources and strategic benefits to the industries they serve,” said 24 Seven.

Celeste Gudas and Sheila Hogan of 24 Seven both formerly worked at Project Solvers. The two, along with Kagel, founded 24 Seven in 2000. The talent staffing company in August 2006 acquired C-Suite Inc., an executive search firm.