By Gary E. Shumaker
LLM Placements, LLC didn’t just happen. It came from a dream. But founder and owner Linda Malloy had to work to make the dream a reality.
She started by building her academic credentials. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs from St. Augustine’s University and a master’s degree in Human Resources Staffing Methodologies, Policies and Procedures.
Great qualifications! The only problem was, she couldn’t find a job in her native South.
So she moved to the Washington, D.C. area. It worked for her! She liked Washington, and she stayed!
Her first real job opportunity was in contract support for healthcare opportunities in the National Capital Region. “The job that my boss—the business owner—gave me provided the opportunity to do Learn recruitment for healthcare opportunities and introduced me to marketing business development, and how to do pricing for business proposals,” Linda says. She was earning money, but she was learning the business at the same time.
She worked as a business management consultant for multiple businesses. She learned by doing, especially by performing some of the less glamorous, back office tasks necessary for a successful small business, like recruiting, benefits, business development and marketing.
She also started doing more technical recruitment. She started to learn staffing business. And she learned more.
By 2005, she started her own business, her dream. But, just to be on the safe side, she continued to work her day job for another five years.
In 2010 she hung out her own shingle—LLM Placements, LLC was born!
Right away, LLM was off and walking, but walking, not running; not fast enough for Linda. In 2014, LLM Placements gained certification in the Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development program. This meant that the firm could pursue certain selected federal opportunities on a limited, or noncompetitive basis.
LLM Placements LLC became one of the most successful woman-owned small business around the beltway, in part because founder-owner Linda Malloy had a dream—building a minority- and woman-owned company to where it occupies a significant place in the government contracting industry by providing quality professional services, and at the same building a business that plays a significant role in the business the of the United States.
Diversity is a value that’s important to Linda in multiple ways; both ethnic diversity of her staff, and the diversity of her product line. LLM provides a wide range of healthcare professionals; pharmacy technicians, licensed social workers, vascular technologists, nurses, clerks, physical therapy assistants, ultrasound technicians and others
When she got her 8(a) status in April of 2014, she had about 20 employees. The value of the program to her company can be measured in terms of headcount; right now, she’s got about 160 employees. That’s about 800% growth in the last four years. LLM’s growth is also demonstrated by the diversity of its footprint: those 160 employees are spread across 40 states. Linda travels a lot to keep up with this rapidly growing empire.
With its now-nationwide presence, LLM provides quality human resources services to a wide range of clients. The award-winning company has demonstrated exceptional expertise and employee management capability. The company is fiscally responsible with solid financial resources and industry expertise: also provides 24/7 in-house administrative support.
Linda feels a deep obligation to her staff. It’s not just corporate; it’s often personal. She understands how her employees all have mortgages and car payments to make. She’s experienced something no business owner wants to go through: an employee death. When that happened, she personally took charge of many of the details to assist the family.
In growing the company, Linda hasn’t forgotten who she is, either. Linda Malloy remains active in her church “in the ‘hood” as she describes it. She’s actively involved in hospitality, and she’s a leader in the Women’s Ministry. She laments the difficulties the church has in attracting and retaining participants, particularly younger participants.
What does the future look like? She still growing her company. The 8(a) program doesn’t last forever; it runs out after nine years. The program was designed to help small, minority owned companies to get started in federal contracting in a protected environment and for Linda it’s done just that. Her 9 years runs out in 2023. After that, she has to compete head-to-head with some of the largest businesses in the world for every dollar of new business she gets. It’s not going to be easy, and she knows it.
She knows that the exceptional record that she’s already built for customer service will serve her well. She needs to continue to build that record. That’s one reason she’s hired a Chief Operating Officer in January—to take over much of the day-to-day burden and give her time to focus on those things she does best.
At the same time, she hired a full-time recruiter.
Linda also wants to build an additional specialty, this time in fulfilling needs for information technology staffing, to complement her firm’s healthcare personnel staffing ability.
Early on, Linda learned that you don’t have to do it all yourself—you can share the work and the risk by engaging subcontractors. Now, she may need be the subcontractor instead of the prime more often, exercising LLM’s core expertise to assist larger government contractors to fulfill their contract requirements and meet their own internal socio-economic goals.
Great companies come from great dreams. Linda Malloy had a great dream, and she’s still dreaming it. As long as she does, LLM Placements will continue to grow with it.
Gary E. Shumaker is the founder and senior consultant for Gary E. Shumaker, Inc., and President and CEO of C2 Solutions, Inc. He has 20 years inside the government and 30 a in the industry as an executive, business developer, chief operating officer for multiple small companies in the federal contracting market. He helps small companies develop the intellectual infrastructure to succeed in the federal marketplace. For more information, visit garyeshumaker.com.