THE BBJ INTERVIEW

David Harris
'We provide first-rate staffing for corporate America'

Special to The Black Business Journal


BBJ: Will you tell us what your approach to hiring and managing human resources will be as we inch into the 21st century?

DH: Well, I think that technology will continue to bring unique opportunities for businesses in the new millennium. We have to make sure that we change with technology. What I mean by that is that, traditionally, staffing firms have used paper as a number one informational tool for hiring. Usually when someone applies for a job, they fill out an application form. This application gets reviewed, then we interview the person. But today, with technology, the person does not physically have to be in our facility anymore. For example, an applicant can visit our web site at beststaffinc.com and fill out the application, electronically. This is a cost effective, efficient way of processing applicants in a timely manner.

BBJ: During our exploratory meeting for this report in the summer of 1998, you mentioned to me that Martin Luther King life and message serve as one of your sources of inspiration. Tell us what Dr. King will mean for a business person, for a community such as ours, and just for any individual, black or white.

DH: Martin Luther King by far represents the best of America. The best of what America can produce. His leadership should inspire any business person. Dr. King was always facing overwhelming odds and adversity. Just as it is a business environment, you must persevere. You look at his leadership. Which identifies with the fact that you will have diversity. You should have diversity. You must have diversity. You're going to have some issues, you're going to have some adversity. But if you remain focused, and believe that you're the appointed person at this appointed time to get to get the job done, you'll accomplish your goal. This one man changed America, changed each of our lives individually. He was able to understand that we can and should make a difference. Martin Luther King message to me is that I must be involved in my community. I must be involved in my church community. I must be involved in my governmental community. I must be involved in the business community. For me to give back, I think that's what each of us must do is give; just as forefathers did before us. Martin Luther King taught me that I can do that, even here in Houston, Texas. By providing jobs for people of color, and all qualified applicants, I'm giving back. BestStaff is providing opportunities for applicants in this new economy; not just jobs but career opportunities for individuals to feed their families, purchase homes, which contribute to building this robust economy. We have helped build the city of Houston, the fourth largest city in the country. We all helped build it, and we take pride in it. Martin Luther King took pride in America in saying that we have all helped built America. I still believe in that philosophy, that has not changed. We've helped build this city, we should be proud of it.

BBJ: In some sense, I think your organization makes corporate America look like America through diversification of opportunities. What other goals would your team pursue in 1999?

DH: From a business perspective, one is to increase our bottom line profit. We have to stay true to the ownership of the firm. Two, to increase our visibility into the business community, as well as the community at large. Three, to add two branch offices, one in Houston, and another in Orlando, Florida. I've got several additional goals, but we have to increase our bottom line to remain profitable.

BBJ: I relate very well with the concept of broom. You know it reminds me of home.

DH: Yeah, yeah. Well it's very plain. We want to help, but have to be in a position to help. And by strengthening our firm, by producing a stronger profit line, by expanding our base to be able to offer more opportunities to the community, we help the community as well as our firm.

BBJ: What is the outlook for business and our community?

DH: Well, I think that when you look at Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas and elsewhere, you find African American businesses are quite prosperous. For example, the city of Houston has a $4.5 billion budget. Currently, millions of dollars are being spent in the downtown business district. In the Medical center, the Port of Houston, the oil engineering services sector of our economy, computer technologies, in fact, space exploration, the livestock business, and many other spheres, African Americans are intertwined in the distinctions of business and entrepreneurial excellence of the entire tapestry of this city. Unfortunately, many of such remarkable persons and stories are yet to be reported. That's why I want to personally thank you, Chido Nwangwu, as the founder and publisher of The Black Business Journal. We commend you especially for creating a unique, quality business newspaper and an informative webfront at www.bbjonline.com. Your professional effort to showcase individuals and businesses whose stories are left untold by the dominant media is a significant contribution to African Americans and the U.S economy. Yes, we need to be responsibly and accurately informed about how our folks are doing regarding billions of dollars spent in downtown Houston. We need to be informed about housing sales which for this city is at the highest its ever been in the history. That the crime is low. Houston is the number one city in the country for acquisition and mergers. It's not New York, and it's not Chicago. Houston is the number one city for Wall Street, for acquisitions, for mergers. And you ask yourself, who in our community are involved in making those great things happen. All the reader or the person who asks that question has to do is each month, every two weeks, is to pick up a copy of The Black Business Journal.

BBJ: That's very kind of you, David. Thank you very much.