Dale Driedger doing his part to give back to the community that gave him so much.
November 25th, 2001. Even though it was just over 15 years ago, it’s still a date that’s fresh in many Winnipeggers minds. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the best team in the CFL that season, were in the Grey Cup against the Calgary Stampeders – a team who had just snuck into the post-season with a win in the final week of the regular season against , ironically, the Bombers. Surely we were going to win. It was our year. We were supposed to win. We didn’t.
That week is etched in many a Bomber fan’s mind – and is one they’d like to forget – but for Dale Driedger and Wade Miller, it turned into a week to remember because it was the beginning of a business partnership that has grown into what we know today as Pinnacle.
Pinnacle is Winnipeg’s largest recruitment firm located in the heart of downtown on the second floor of 394 Graham Avenue.
Driedger and Miller were both University of Manitoba graduates and Bison football alumni. In 1990, Driedger became the President of the Bison Football Alumni. Miller was a player with the Bisons in the late 1990’s and the two got to know each other and struck up a friendship. Miller went on to suit up for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and was a part of that Grey Cup defeat in 2001 in Montreal.
The Manitoba Bisons were also putting up a season for the ages at that time, and found themselves at the 37th Vanier Cup that year in Toronto. So Driedger planned an alumni trip to support the Bisons, and Miller, joined in the festivities once his season with the Bombers came to an end.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” recalls Driedger. We were in Hamilton waiting to catch our flight back home, sitting on the baggage carousel; and after a brief discussion about the staffing business, I said ‘let’s start our own staffing company,’ and Wade said he was in, and that was it.”
Miller had been working in the staffing business in the off-season, while Driedger was Vice President of operations for a security company in Winnipeg. Dale knew that with Wade’s expertise in staffing, and his own expertise on the operations side, they had the experience to make this work.
After four months of planning and preparations, the doors to Pinnacle opened on April 22nd, 2002. The first office space was a 1500 square foot main floor office inside the Boyd Medical Building. They had the space, they had the idea; all they needed now were clients. So Driedger and Miller proceeded to go out and find clients.
“Wade and I are grinders, and we come to work, and just work” Driedger adds. “We literally were going door-to-door, business-to-business, letting them know what we can provide and how we can help them,” says Dreidger.
During the early days, Pinnacle began sending people out to work just for the day fulfilling a need for their clients, as well as the candidates looking for work. The system was working, but Driedger and Miller knew there was more to offer.
“We improved that process by making sure the candidate we’d send to a workplace for the day was more than simply available, but the right fit for the role, so our candidate and client would be successful,” adds Driedger. “Once we began this process the companies started hiring our candidates full-time instead of just for the day.”
Over the past 15 years Pinnacle has continued to grow with the demands. There are now 25 recruiters at Pinnacle, each with an industry specialized focus; who are matching people with top Manitoba companies through two key areas: Executive & Professional Search and Staffing & Recruiting. With the growth of our city on the rise, Driedger says it’s a very exciting time to live in Winnipeg.
“The opportunities that have presented themselves in the city are very exciting because of how much the economy has grown.” explains Driedger. “Businesses downtown that people don’t even know about are doing work all over the world, and we are helping supply opportunities for our clients and candidates so these businesses can continue to grow, and that’s very exciting.”
Giving back to the community.
There are more than a few recruitment agencies in Winnipeg, and the competition has always been around, but Pinnacle has approached their business with a strong commitment to community.
“We knew from the start we were going to raise our families here, put down roots, and knew many people in the community.” Driedger says. “Every decision we make is for the benefit of the community, for Pinnacle, and all the people of Winnipeg.”
Driedger, who was born and raised in Fort Richmond and graduated from Fort Richmond Collegiate, says giving back to the community starts with the youth.
“Anything we do goes directly to the grass roots to help the youth because we believe that’s where the change will really happen,” says Driedger.
As time has moved on and Pinnacle has become more successful, they wanted to give back in the form of scholarships. Here’s a list of scholarships Pinnacle offers:
• University of Winnipeg 2 x $1000 Pinnacle Staffing Opportunity Scholarships per year over the next 5 years. The scholarships are for education support of recent immigrants or refugees, Aboriginal students or inner-city students.
• The Broadway Neighbourhood Centre: $5,000 pledge of $1,000.00 education scholarships per year over 5 years – In support of students from Inner City Neighbourhoods.
• University of Winnipeg Collegiate, Model School program: $10,000 pledge of 2 x $1000 bursaries per year over 5 years – To support a Model School graduate who is attending The University of Winnipeg.
It’s been 15 years since the doors opened at Pinnacle, with the company set to celebrate their 15 year anniversary on April 22nd. The everyday challenges they face to keep Pinnacle as the largest recruiting firm in Winnipeg are definitely exciting, but Driedger admits the pride he takes in giving back to the people in Winnipeg is a big part of what drives him as well.
“Our mantra at Pinnacle is ‘Success is best when shared’, Driedger adds. “Being able to give back to the people of Winnipeg through scholarships, charities; and different employment opportunities brings me a great deal of pride and it’s definitely one of my biggest motivations at this point.”