Topeka Business Hall of Fame: Patti Bossert
Shelley Jensen | Photographer
The company’s Infant at Work program is just one of the many employee perks that Patti has put into place at her business over the years. She has built three successful companies and is being inducted into the Topeka Business Hall of Fame, in part because this powerful business leader understands the challenges women face every day trying to juggle work and children.
“My kids all grew up in the business because I was on call 24/7,” Patti said. “I would pick them up from daycare and bring them back to the office and make more phone calls.”
Born and raised on a dairy farm in South Dakota, Patti was active in 4-H and wanted to teach home economics. After graduating from South Dakota State University, she taught for one year before moving to Nebraska, where she worked in finance, and then eventually to Topeka in 1982, where she began working for a staffing company.
When the owner later sold the business, Patti faced a difficult choice— stay where she had job security, or take the risk of going out on her own. Wanting to build something she could share with her children, she chose the risk; in 1989 Patti opened Key Staffing.
Five years later, Patti opened a satellite office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that was managed by her brother.
Five years after that, Patti founded Premier Employment Solutions to address the need for direct placement services and higher-level contract staffing. What started as a business with one client and one employee turned into three separate companies with more than 475 employees.
Her dream of creating a business that she could share with her family has become a reality.Today, all three of her children work in the business with her. Her son, Paul, moved back from Dallas in 2006 and serves as sales/operations manager. Her daughter, Jamie, joined the company five years ago and fills the role of risk manager. Her youngest child, Tracy, completed the family circle when she came on board last year. Even though it has become a family affair, the boundaries between professional and personal life remain clear.
“While I may be their mom, at work the kids treat me as the owner of the company,” Patti said. “Many times the employees don’t even realize we are related.”
No matter how successful the business becomes, Patti says family always comes first. Now that she is a grandma, she has decided to combine her workforce development efforts with early childhood development in a program she terms her “Work Force Development Early Childhood Initiative.”
She began taking a half a day off every week to spend with her grandson.
“It is not only a break for me from running three corporations, but also an opportunity to bond with my grandchild and help form his future,” Patti said.
Reflecting on being inducted into the Topeka Business Hall of Fame brings tears to Patti’s eyes.
“I always say ‘You always get back more than you give,’” Patti said. “With this honor, now I feel like I got more, so it is my turn to give again.”