Maryland-based company, Ironsure Properties LLC works with locally-based Jamaicans Jamaican-Americans to secure short-term employment within the hospitality and staffing sector in the United States (US).
Established in 2020, Ironsure initially started out as a property acquisition development firm but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the business had to switch gears.
The company is a hospitality business that focuses on providing staffing to different entities in the United States (US). As stated by their website, it was created to “connect the hospitality industry with the best employees and bridge the gap between the on-demand workforce and quality human resources.”
“We switched gears and moved to hospitality and staffing because we realised that there is a huge need for quality workers in the US workforce. Even though with the pandemic, most people had to stay home, places like hotels, bars, and some restaurants still needed to get staffed for cleaning among other essential services,” Gary Gordon, founder and chief executive office of Ironsure Properties told Our Today in an interview.
“Our collaboration with the Jamaican employment agency, Regional Staffing Professionals, facilitated our drive to put Jamaican workers in some key locations in Maryland to start that process,” he added.
Regional Staffing Professionals, based in Little London, Westmoreland, is a full-fledged employment agency. They have shared that their mission is to provide qualified, professional staffing for companies within Jamaica and overseas. The company was initially registered in September 2015 but officially started its operations in November 2019. It is registered by the Companies Office of Jamaica and licensed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security as an international employment agency.
Gordon, who leads the company alongside his business partner, Andron Saunders-Evans highlighted that his company is a Jamaican-focused one as they generally work with staff directly from Jamaica or Jamaican-Americans. Saunders-Evans is Ironsure Property’s senior vice president (VP) of operations.
“I was born and raised in Jamaica and I have been in the US for most of my adult life. Being here for as long as I have, I’ve noticed that the workforce lacks good quality workers. So, that’s part of my reason to be in this kind of business. It’s to provide quality people and I believe that comes from Jamaica,” shared Gordon.
“I have not really seen the work ethic that I witnessed my parents demonstrate when I was growing up in Jamaica. I’ve been to quite a few places in the world and I can’t say that I’ve seen that same type of work ethic that I’ve seen in Jamaicans. I’ve really not seen anything in other cultures,” he added.
Though Ironsure Properties has seen considerable success, Gordon explained that shifting gears from property acquisition to hospitality and staffing has been a challenge. This is primarily due to he and his team having to navigate legal aspects of finding suitable workers who have shown interest, to handling documents and ensuring that everything is done appropriately.
“We have to ensure that when we recruit from Jamaica, the process is done in a correct way. We have to see to it that people who come on have attained certain qualifications and we have to ensure that the correct background checks are done,” he explained.
“Shuffling the paperwork has been the most time consuming and challenging aspect because its not a two weeks or 30-day process. It’s a process that can take anywhere between three to six months and sometimes even up to nine months before our potential workers can actually enter the US to start working,” he added.
The sub-industries within the hospitality field served by Ironsure Properties include, but are not limited to H-2B staffing which is a non-immigrant programme that permits employers to temporarily hire non-immigrants to perform non-agricultural labour or services in the United States. The areas include:
- Sales & Marketing Task Force
- Hotel Opening & Renovation Cleaning
- Warehouse & Distribution
- Call Centres
- Maintenance Tech
Dreams of Psychiatry transitioned into work with the US Army and then into business
Gordon revealed that before business became a thought, he wanted to study Psychiatry. However, that did not work out as he initially planned it.
“After leaving high school in Jamaica, I came to the US to go to school but as life would have it, things don’t go the way you want them to. However, from there, I got engaged in other activities, but I believe what led me to establishing this company was my history with previously created businesses that proved to be successful,” he said, adding that at one point, he had a job as a clinical social worker and experienced what poor mental health is and how it impacts people. However, he has separated himself from that industry for now.
“If the opportunity presented itself, I would not want to revisit the thought of psychiatry because I don’t believe that was supposed to be in my journey,” he added.
Gordon also revealed that he was in the US Army for a period of 10 years but made the decision to leave because he wanted to pay more attention to his family.
“I was initially living in Atlanta but I relocated to Maryland just over three years ago. Ironsure was actually started in Atlanta but Maryland looked like a pretty good state to do business so it was encouraging to move to there. In being here, I realised that the job market within the state really needed some quality workers, especially in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area,” he added.
Operations of Ironsure Properties
Gordon said that he believes in being present within his business so that staff and clients can see the level of commitment.
He highlighted that the Ironsure team consists of a sales and marketing team, an accounting department, recruiting team, as well as human resources and an information technology team.
“We have three operations managers. One operates out of Orlando, Florida, one out of Maryland and the other out of Tennessee. Even though they’re the primary contacts in those areas, my senior VP still makes sure that he stays in touch with the people on the ground so that they know we’re not just some executives sitting in some office. We want to make sure that people know that we represent the company, we are Jamaican, and that we have their best interests at heart,” he said.
Future of Ironsure Properties
The Ironsure Properties founder and CEO has plans to expand on his business in its fifth or sixth year.
“For the future, I see the company growing at a much quicker rate than I anticipated. We aspire to start bringing in certified nurses as well as trying to partner with local schools in Maryland and Atlanta. We hope to get specialised teachers for areas such as Math and Science into the US,” he said.
“This is not necessarily for them to build their life in the US. It is, however, for them to come and gain some experience from a different world perspective so that they can possibly take it back to Jamaica and impart that knowledge, somehow, into their communities,” he added.
The company celebrated three full years in January 2023 and so, “we’ve started out fourth year,” Gordon said giving insight.
Lessons learned in business
As with any journey, lessons are learned and can be applied to other areas of life.
Gordon shared a few lessons he has learned in business that he wishes to impart.
“Always make sure that you’re kind to everyone you meet. It is much cheaper to be kind than it is to be rude,” he said, also noting that he has learned that person-to-person connection in business “goes a much further way than just a simple phone call. People like to see your face in order to know who they’re dealing with.”
The Ironsure Founder and CEO also highlighted that it is best to practice total transparency in terms of business operations for employees and clients to give persons the opportunity to make the best decision for their personal journey as well as their journey with the business.
Lastly, Gordon said he has learned that, “I don’t know everything but I strive to find the right talent that can fill those gaps. Being in the military taught me that. ‘Whatever I don’t know, I can always find somebody who knows it better’.”
Connect with Ironsure Properties LLC via their website at ironsureproperties.com and you can connect with Regional Staffing Professionals on their website at therspros.com or on Instagram @rs.prosja.
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