Longtime Express Employment Professionals Owner Retiring as New Owners Continue the Legacy

  • Longtime Express Employment Professionals Owner Retiring as New Owners Continue the Legacy

    BEND, Ore. - January 28, 2021


    When Connie Worrell-Druliner and Stephanie Miller, owners of Express Employment Professionals in Bend, decided the time had come to pass the baton of their business along to new owners, they faced a challenging goal. "The only way I could sell and retire was to know that this community and our clients are being left in a better place, and to know that the future is bright," says Worrell-Druliner, who purchased the franchise and opened the Central Oregon office of Express back in 1984. "I put my head on a pillow of gratefulness every night knowing we have achieved this. I feel like we are family passing to family."

    The Founding Owners of our Staffing Agency in Bend, Oregon
    (A 2018 photo of (L to R) Bob Funk, Stephanie Miller, Connie Worrell-Druliner and Bill Stoller)

    The local Express office is indeed a family affair: Miller is Worrell-Druliner's daughter, and the two have been partners and co-owners in the business since 2015. But Miller, who is married and has two children, has worked side by side in the business with her mom since 1997. "I came home from college in 1997 to help with my stepfather, who had cancer, and since then, I have sat at every desk in the office," she says. Now, the two women have decided to move on from the business simultaneously, and it can be said that the office is coming full circle.

    The business has been purchased by Bill Stoller, founder, CEO and chairman of the board of Express Employment Professionals International, which has 860 offices in the United States, Canada and South Africa. Worrell-Druliner met Stoller while working at Acme Personnel Services in the 1970s, when Stoller and partner Bob Funk were also working for Acme. In 1983, Stoller and Funk purchased some of the Acme franchises, dissolved Acme and began Express Employment Professionals. Worrell-Druliner was serving as office manager of Acme in Bend, and went on to purchase the Bend franchise of Express in 1984. The Bend office is the 29th franchise Stoller now personally owns, so Worrell-Druliner and Miller are confident they are leaving their business in good hands. "The Stoller group owns much of the rest of the franchises in Oregon, Arizona, Colorado and Washington, which helps to make it a seamless transition," says Worrell-Druliner.

    "To see that this company has come from two founders who took it to a $3 billion business is very exciting to watch. It only has an up direction to go," says Worrell-Druliner. "I started the Bend office with a desk, a phone and me. This office was the 20th to sign on as an Express franchise. It's been an amazing run." Miller adds, "We employ more than 130 employees per week from this office. The goal of Express as a whole is to put a million people to work. Central Oregon is a piece of that."

    Joining Stoller - who is a native Oregonian - in the acquisition of the Bend office is fellow Oregonian Jenny McCallum, president, developer and franchise partner. "Jenny and I are honored and humbled to carry on the legacy that veteran Express franchisees Connie and Stephanie have each instilled within the Bend and Redmond communities," Stoller says. "This special opportunity to blend two Oregon family legacies and further the Express mission to create sustainable employment opportunities in our community is a dream come true." Joining the Bend team as franchise manager is Chris Petty, who has worked in the Hillsboro Express franchise location for four years, and rounding out the team is Karen Turner, a 23-year staffing veteran and managing director and professional recruiter for the Bend office, which has eight employees.

    "Express is founded on the principle of helping people succeed," McCallum said. "Connie and Stephanie are the embodiment of that principle and we're excited to expand on the framework they created in Bend as we advance our core company values of Integrity, Teamwork, People and Build to Last."

    McCallum credits Worrell-Druliner and Miller for helping shape her own career journey, noting Worrell-Druliner's mentorship as a key pillar of her success. "On top of being an iconic business leader, Connie is the kind of mother and grandmother I aspire to be. Her mentorship has been a true gamechanger in my professional life," McCallum says. "Thankfully, I've also had the opportunity to grow up with Stephanie in this business, working alongside her for the last 23 years. These relationships further cement the honor it is for us to continue the success and legacy of helping people find jobs in Bend."

    In creating such a successful employment agency, Miller says Express has diversified its services, offering a variety of employment lines ranging from light industrial to administrative and professional niches. They have also learned how to adapt to the changing needs of Central Oregon: The building where Express is currently housed was formerly a bank building, and the women say the drive-up window has been a huge help during this time of COVID, allowing clients to conduct needed business from their vehicles. "That window has been our saving grace! Who'd have thought?" says Worrell-Druliner with a laugh. 

    Though she is excited to retire, Worrell-Druliner says this new direction in life is bittersweet for her. "We've served employers and found good people for them, and we have helped to place people. It's all about the people whose lives we've touched. It is with a grateful heart that I can retire. We wanted to make sure it's a seamless pass off, and it is. When you look back on your life, you hope you've made a difference. Both Steph and I want to look back and feel like we've done that." She adds, "We want to convey how meaningful this community has been. Thank you to Central Oregon for 42 years in business."

    Worrell-Druliner says she and Miller are also thankful for having had the opportunity to work together for so many years. "We have been so grateful at how well we've worked together," she says. Miller says working beside Worrell-Druliner has created in her a profound respect for her mother. "What an incredible woman, leader and business professional she is. I received mentorship from the best in the business. She has demonstrated who I wish to become and shown me the grit required to get there. We have had a unique and gratifying opportunity to share the highs and the lows together, creating a bond of mother/daughter, business partners, confidants and friends that far outweigh any other business successes." She adds, "Our goals in selling the franchise were that we wanted Connie to be able to retire, we wanted our team to be in good hands and to flourish and I wanted the opportunity to pursue a new career path."

    In retirement, Worrell-Druliner says she plans to spend time with her grandchildren. She has lived in Central Oregon since the 1970s, and is married to husband Jerry. Between them, their family consists of seven children, seven spouses of children and 15 grandchildren aged 9 to 26. "My grandkids are my other favorite thing in life," she says. "We love adventure." These adventures together, she says, can range from getting manicures to planting flowers, creating pottery, making jewelry, going on scavenger hunts or taking cooking lessons. "You name it, we've done it!" 

    Miller adds, "My kids love to do stuff with Connie. She's a very interactive grandma. She's always taking them on dates and spoiling them rotten," she says with a laugh.

    Worrell-Druliner adds, "It is bittersweet saying goodbye to people. Some of them I placed in entry-level positions and now they are managers. I have worked with most of these employers for 42 years. It's hard to say goodbye because we love people so much. But the sweet part of it is that I'm 72 years old, and it's time to retire."

    The Bend Express Employment Professionals office is located at 61379 South Highway 97, and local businesses and job seekers are encouraged to stop by the office or call 541-389-1505.