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Sinead Carr, 26

Staffing agency co-founder undated by pandemic — or making 20 in person cold-calls a day.


  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 5:00 p.m. October 12, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Sinead Carr with her mentor and mom, Josephine Carr.
Sinead Carr with her mentor and mom, Josephine Carr.
Photo by Mark Wemple
  • Class of 2023
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Sinead Carr’s first task when she helped start a Sarasota employment agency about three years ago would have scared off many people. The task? Make contact, in person whenever possible, with up to 20 companies a day. “We just went around town pulling on doors,” says Carr, referring to herself and close friend and fellow startup colleague Krystal Karahalios. “We were building, building, building.”

That build effort is the cornerstone of Express Employment. Carr and her mom, Josephine Carr, opened the franchise location of Express Employment in December 2020. The pair was undaunted by the uncertainty of the pandemic, reasoning the job market would make a comeback and businesses would soon seek people to hire. And it helps that Sinead says one of the key lessons she’s learned from her mom and mentor is resilience and an ability to overcome failures and setbacks.  

One of about 850 worldwide Express franchises, the Sarasota office focuses on finding employees for companies in administrative, light industrial, skilled trades and professional positions. The one segment it doesn’t handle is certified nursing assistants. 

The cold-entry door pulls around Christmas 2020 has paid major dividends for Express. The franchise now has a database of some 5,000 potential clients/companies, Carr says. The office has seven employees, and does about $5.5 million a year in revenue. And one metric that means a lot to Carr is the nearly 1,000 people she and her Express team have helped find work. “I love how what we do here every day can change people’s lives,” she says. “People come to us sometimes as a last resort.”  

Carr says this coming off the job she held right before Express, where she worked in worker’s compensation claims. “I wasn’t feeling fulfilled,” she says. “I wasn’t making an impact.”   

In addition to finding, and following, her passion, a theme of Carr’s young professional career is a relentless work ethic. A lot of that comes from her parents, Alan and Josephine Carr. The Carr family, in which Sinead is the youngest of three siblings, moved from Ireland to Tampa when Sinead was 8 weeks old. (The family moved back to Ireland when she was a young girl for a bit, then back to Tampa.) 

The family of five all lived in a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment, in New Tampa. Her parents worked in commercial cleaning, and her dad for a while was a janitor at Tampa International Airport. That rubbed off on Sinead, who held jobs as a teenager from hostess at a Buffalo Wild Wings to dog handler at a doggie day care to medical transcribing. “Everyone worked just to survive,” she says. 

 

author

Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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