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Staffing agency owner enjoys finding the right fit in life

Megg Mueller

Marie Soucie opened her company, MCSS Ltd, on April Fool’s Day.

Soucie purposely chose the date after a friend successfully opened her business on April 1. She was determined to follow suit, and three decades later, there’s no question she succeeded.

MCSS Ltd. is a full-service staffing agency that has been located in Reno since 1995. Soucie started the company in the Bay Area and has built her reputation on trust and an interest in doing more than giving someone a temporary position.

“I’m looking at putting people into careers, not jobs,” she explains. “We are not a body shop. We’re the top echelon of placement. Part of that is our standards: If I wouldn’t work there, I won’t place someone there.”

Soucie is a firm believer in the right fit.

Her agency delves into a company’s culture in order to find a perfect match; it’s about personalities and philosophies as much as it is about a set of skills. It’s a strategy that has worked so well, MCSS has clients dating back to the company’s opening.

“There is nothing more gratifying than people coming in that I placed 20 years ago, and they still are at their jobs,” Soucie says.

Her company includes a backgrounds-check division, something that’s become more important as workplace violence, theft, drug use and identity theft are on the rise. It’s all part of making sure she’s offering her clients the best candidate. But even that task has changed with the recent economy.

“Our searches now are very specific. It can be like finding the needle in the haystack. Up until two years ago we never presented more than the top two or three candidates. Now we’re presenting 12, and companies still want to see more. It’s an employers’ market. Our search time has increased so much, and I’m working for free until they hire,” she explains.

Taking care of clients is nothing new to Soucie. Her career has included working for Allstate Insurance, as the company’s first female national manager, plus owning her own nursing agency.

Born in northern Maine she knew by the time she was 5 years old that she wanted to live elsewhere Soucie has lived and worked in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Idaho, Nevada and California. She lived in the Bay Area for 18 years, but the one-hour commute to travel 14 miles took a toll.

“I love the mountains, and I’d had a place at Incline for years. Clients from the Bay Area were setting up offices in Reno and told me I should, so I did. I had bought my dream house, but I lived there just six weeks before moving to Reno.

“After four months, I sold everything in California. I knew I wouldn’t make the money I did in the Bay Area, but you never see a Brinks truck following a hearse. You can’t take it with you,” she says.

But you can enjoy it in the present.

She and her husband, Bob Donovan, are avid travelers. Soucie counts Salzburg, Austria, as one of her favorite cities, and the couple joined the Sparks Chamber of Commerce on its trip to China this year. Her affinity for travel dovetails nicely with Soucie’s ability to learn languages quickly. French is her first language (“Everyone in northern Maine speaks French,” she says), and she learned English about the age of 16. Her first trip to Germany, she translated a menu so she could order her meal, having never studied the language.

Soucie has always been up for a challenge. At 23, she started taking tae kwon do. By the time she was 26, her instructor had her in the trials for Montreal Olympics.

“I didn’t make it, but I got to the trials,” she says proudly. “I’m very persistent. I loved the discipline. You push yourself out of your comfort zone.”

These days, her comfort zone includes regular visits to Maui. Soucie has had a timeshare there for 18 years, and makes an annual visit. This year, she and her husband will be joined by three of their grandchildren when they go for Christmas.

“We’re not traveling as much as we’d like with the economy, but Hawaii is so affordable. There’s a Costco across from the airport, and when the grandkids come we go there and stock up for the trip,” she says.

For the woman whose favorite book is John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage,” braving the lines at Costco with three kids in tow is a piece of cake.

The seeker

Who: Marie Soucie

What: President,MCSS Ltd.

Family: Husband, Bob Donovan. Two sons, one stepson, one stepdaughter and nine grandchildren.

She says: “Trust is the best policy.”