After graduating with a business degree from Baker College, Charles Kuta struggled to find work. This led him to work for a close friend’s mother at Summerfield Personnel Staffing Company.

“She said, ‘Come work for me while you’re looking for a job,’” says Kuta. “She trained me, and I learned the business. After she passed away, her daughters and I started our own staffing company. And the rest is history.”

In 2015, Kuta branched off on his own and created Ashlor Staffing. Although he didn’t intend to work in staffing, now with a company employing over 400 individuals, Kuta is glad for the turn his life took.

“I worked my way from answering phones to building personal relationships with clients,” says Kuta. “But really, what it comes down to is the satisfaction of being able to help people get a job, feed their families and pay their rent.”

What is your proudest moment so far?

When we hit our goal of employing over 400 people through our company. It is a goal I strived toward for a long time. I have been in the game for so long. Here I was, just a kid from Flushing, Michigan, with no human resources degree, grinding it out and working hard to reach that goal. We finally hit it in 2016 and have been moving forward from there.

What is a challenge that you have encountered?

In the last few years, we have seen a lack of skilled trades training in the younger generation. There is work out there, but not enough workers.

How has the skilled trade labor shortage impacted your business?

Why did you decide to stay in Flint?

I was raised here. My father worked for General Motors for over 30 years, and Flint was always what I knew. Ashlor recently branched off to Owosso, Troy and Southfield, but Flint has always been our go-to place. Flint is also our biggest office, we are putting a lot of people to work in Genesee County.

How would you describe the area to an outsider?

I get that question a lot when I talk to people in the Detroit area. People will say ‘Oh, you’re from Flint. You’ve gone through so much.” And I tell them that we have had our challenges, but the people here are upbeat and strong. It’s a lively city. There is a lot to do. There is still a lot of business and money in Flint. We have great Museums, Colleges, Eateries and Hospitals. It’s thriving.

Tell us about a mistake you’ve made and how you learned from it

My biggest mistake early on was not setting goals and not giving more responsibilities to my management. It was only when I was able to learn from those mistakes that the company grew to where we are today.

What advice would you offer to other business owners or future entrepreneurs?

Just set goals, work hard and follow up. You have to be passionate about whatever you choose to do.

To learn more about Ashlor Staffing, visit www.ashlorstaffing.com.