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DOWNEY – Quiet but spunky John Quagliani, who built the Downey employment firm Buzy Bodies, Inc. fifteen years ago from, in his words, “nothing,” has transformed it into a thriving multimillion dollar business today.
I thought he used the word ‘nothing’ loosely, but then he mentioned the word a second time. “I had nothing,” he said. “All I had was a dream, an idea.”
The idea, which was simple enough and not exactly original, was to help good, qualified people find jobs that matched their qualifications in companies that needed their services.
Everywhere he looked, of course, there were industries of all types and all sizes. There was a large market out there for this kind of service, he thought.
So he dug in and waited for jobseekers. But there would be disappointment and a little headscratching at first. John recalls that when he first set up shop (Buzy Bodies first had its offices in Commerce in 1998, and moved to South Gate two years later. After seven more years, it moved to its present location at the corner of Firestone Blvd. and Old River School Road), a would-be job seeker “would seek us out, walk in, read the words “employment agency,” and would promptly walk out the door.”
He figured out why before long. “The idea of paying us a percentage of their earnings, as was the traditional practice then, scared them away,” he says. “So we started calling ourselves an ‘offsite human resources’ firm. We made sure we told jobseekers upfront that the service to them would be free of charge. They started coming.”
Indeed, the companies who hired them paid Buzy Bodies for screening (IQ/personality profile tests, drug-testing, background checks, etc.), training, coaching, and keeping them on our payroll.
“In effect,” John continues, “the jobseekers-now jobholders in companies out there, our hiring clients–remain Buzy Bodies employees, meaning we were responsible for their deductions, workmen’s comp and such.”
‘Then it was up to me to keep my client happy and my employees happy,” he says.
Oh yes, to jumpstart the operation, John took out an SBA loan of $100,000 in his second year of operation. He says he didn’t like the idea of being in debt for a long time, so he tried his darndest to repay the loan in three years, which he did.
Born of an Italian U.S. Navy man father and a German mother, John was born in New Orleans, LA, reared and schooled in Ft. Lee, New Jersey, and over the succeeding years lived in an ambit that included Cerritos, Bellflower, Norwalk, and finally Anaheim, where he and second wife, Mary, today reside.
After graduating in 1965 from high school in New Jersey, where he set five school records in the mile, John served four years in Vietnam as a member of a Navy Air crew which operated from an aircraft carrier. Settling down in Cerritos after his tour of duty, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and got a BA in finance and marketing in 1974 from UC-Fullerton. He would obtain an MBA in marketing in 1984 from National University.
In between all this, up to the time he formed Buzy Bodies in 1998, John worked for several large companies with a heavy emphasis in sales, marketing and sales management: starting out as a field salesman for Burroughs Corp. covering Orange County, after a while he spent more than five years as a field salesman, later promoted to sales manager, covering L.A. County for Pitney-Bowes, then as district sales manager for the West Coast for the St. Louis, MO-based Creative Data Services, followed by a stint as a field salesman (again) for Fujitsu selling digital networks systems, then yet another stint with Ericksson selling large systems for hospitals and other large corporations in Orange County, then finally serving as national sales manager for Tele King, manufacturer of fiber optic-and-copper boxes, overseeing its distribution network.
John says his firm Buzy Bodies’ pool of hirable people ranges from the factory worker level to that of general manager. His employment operations extend to industries found across the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino: accounting and auditing services, advertising and PR Services, Aerospace and Defense, Agriculture/Forestry/Fishing, Automotive and Parts Manufacturing, Automotive Sales and Repair Services, Banking, Biotechnology/Pharmaceuticals, Broadcasting, Music and Film, Clothing and Textile Manufacturing, Computer/IT Services, Construction, Consumer Packaged Goods Manufacturing, Education, Entertainment Venues and Theaters, Food and Beverage Production, Healthcare Services, Hotels and Lodging, Manufacturing, Nonprofit Charitable Organizations, Performing and Fine Arts, Personal and Household Services, Printing and Publishing, Real Estate/Property Management, Retail Services, Restaurant/Food Services, Travel/Transportation and Tourism, Waste Management, and Wholesale Trade/Import-Export.
John says the firm, which only needs three scrappy female aides to help him with operations, placed some 249 workers last year.
After joining the American Legion Downey Post 270 two years ago, John was elected its commander last year by the 120-roster membership (of which he says about 27 are active).
A member of the Downey Chamber of Commerce, he joined the Downey Rotary more than two years ago.
He has six grandkids-four live in Elgin, Texas, and two live in Indiana. He looks forward to visiting both sets of grandkids three times a year.
Besides tending to his garden (raising tomatoes, etc.), he has an absorbing hobby-selling items on eBay. The items include such things as: T-shirts, hats, coffee cups, posters, and bumper stickers.
He says this (on which he spends about 4-5 hours a week) relaxes him. Besides, he makes a little extra pocket money on the side. He says in the past three weeks alone, he grossed some $1,500.
An unemployed person today looking for a nice job would be foolish not to check out such an employment service as Buzy Bodies provides.
Published: March 7, 2013 – Volume 11 – Issue 47