In difficult economic times with a high unemployment rate plaguing the country, the work for Johnsonburg native Julie Lindgren Wainner never ends.
As vice president for Whitman Associates, Inc., a staffing agency in Washington, D.C., Wainner plays an integral role in placing qualified candidates in administrative roles through the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
The daughter of Bruce and Dolores Lindgren, who reside in Johnsonburg, the 1980 Johnsonburg Area High School graduate remembers her hometown as a place full of inspiration.
" Everyone inspired me in one or another-- my aunts and uncles, teachers, friends, business owners, my job at The Market Basket while in high school, but I would have to say my mother and father most of all," Wainner said. "My father was a very hard worker. He never missed a day of work in 42 years. That was incredible to me.
"I couldn’t believe anyone could have that kind of track record. I remember him saying to me, 'If you don’t do the job to the best of your ability, there are 10 others behind you just waiting for that same job.'"
Wainner never forgot her father's wise words and still thinks that way today.
"My mother was the one building my confidence and convincing me that the world was mine if only I stepped out," Wainner said. "She told me that I could do anything I wanted; I could be anything I wanted to be. She gave me a tremendous amount of confidence.
"Between my father’s work ethic and my mother’s confidence in me, I felt strong and encouraged and so I moved to D.C. with my brother."
Following high school graduation, Wainner attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications in 1983. She would later attain Certified Personnel Consultant status in 1987. Wainner started with Whitman Associates in 1984 in the permanent business and started a temporary division in 1997.
Whitman Associates, Inc., established in 1972, serves as a permanent placement agency.
"In 1997, I started up the temporary division of the company while maintaining a strong presence in permanent staffing," Wainner said. "I manage all aspects of the temporary division of Whitman Associates.This division places qualified candidates in administrative roles throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area."
For Wainner, it is the most gratifying job she's ever had, especially when considering the current economic market.
"Fortunately, Washington, D.C. is still hiring and it is a wonderful city to work in," Wainner said. "This is a fantastic place to live. There is so much culture, art and diversity.
"Sometimes the work can be challenging in that I am working with so many different personalities and situations and constantly putting out fires. The temporary industry is like putting a puzzle together-- lots of little pieces that need to fit just right. Personally, I love the fast paced environment and enjoy the problem solving side of the industry."
Through working in the staffing industry, Wainner said she is unsure how her love for that particular business started.
"I can’t say that I was inspired to be in the staffing industry because of my hometown because I didn’t know such a business existed," Wainner said. "Being from northwestern Pennsylvania, no one would ever pay a company to hire someone. It was unheard of. The jobs were hard to find and the people applying were plentiful.
"Once I discovered what a staffing agency did, then I appreciated what a wonderful business staffing was."
Wainner recalls loving the work from her first day on the job and to this day, she still loves it.
"There is no better feeling than putting someone to work that really wants to work," Wainner said. "I remember how hard it was for me to find work and how fantastic I felt when I was offered a job. I’ve never forgotten that feeling.
"I love the work that I do. I believe in this type of business and I feel it is important to keep people working so they feel a sense of accomplishment and worth, even if it isn’t exactly what they want to do."
Looking back to Johnsonburg, Wainner said she appreciates her small-town upbringing and various lessons learned, particularly the "necessity of respecting others, the value of hard work and to appreciate all that is given or earned."
Wainner says "we cannot expect things to happen-- we need to make things happen for ourselves."
Unfortunately, throughout her years in Washington, D.C., Wainner has missed just about every hometown celebration, reunion, wedding, birthdays, and the like.
"My mom is from a family of 11; my dad is from a family of four and one of his sisters had 11 children, so I had many family functions that I could have attended, but was not able to," Wainner said. "That has been the hardest part."
The Johnsonburg native recently got married to "a wonderful man," Scott Wainner, Distinguished Systems Engineer at Network Engineer with Cisco Systems in Herndon, Va.
"Also, I am the proud stepmother of four beautiful children, Craig, Brett, Natalie and Caroline Wainner," Wainner said.
Craig is a sophomore at Virginia Tech, Brett is a senior at Dominion High School, Natalie is a freshman and Caroline is in seventh grade.
"I am enjoying my new married life and motherhood," Wainner said. "Scott and the kids are truly a blessing and gift in my life."
Wainner also serves as a Religious Education teacher at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Sterling, Va., as well as a Eucharistic Minister and Lector.
"In addition, I coordinate our church’s Holiday County Coalition Christmas gift drive with Loudoun County in providing gifts for the less fortunate in the community," Wainner said.