We couldn’t get through the ledger of our team features without the story of our fearless leader, the sizzle-man himself, Dave Bacon. Bringing unparalleled enthusiasm, creativity, and authority to the world of technical recruiting and solutions, you will never leave an interaction with BWB’s founder and CEO without a smile on your face.
Whether he's taking clients skiing in the mountains or passing out bacon (yes, real bacon) at a legendary BWB shindig, there's no shortage of fun in knowing and getting to work with Dave. We spent some time asking what inspired him to start BWBacon Group back in 2001, and how that journey has led to who he is today.
Having built a profitable and highly successful practice implementing ERP and supply chain solutions at a well-known consulting firm with a team of fifty consultants, salespeople, recruiters, project managers and coordinators, Bacon explains that one of the only things his team did not do was direct hire recruiting for their clients. He wanted to do both, and felt that's what his best clients ultimately wanted.
When asked what drove him to pursue technical recruiting along with solutions, Bacon responds by describing how he aimed to fill a gap in the market for growing tech companies, “many of our clients needed to build their own teams, which appealed to me because that need was not only very strong, but it was an opportunity to be part of connecting people in a greater, more intimate way."
"Recruiting was a strong path towards making those connections and, dare I say, building great teams,” he jests, adding that when his current company was not interested in adopting staffing as part of their business model, he began to consider opening his own firm.
In true Bacon fashion, the final catalyst for starting a uniquely positioned staffing agency was found deep in the mountains in the midst of a challenging time for many Americans. After 9/11, the events surrounding the terrorist attacks put things into perspective for many, including Bacon. He shares, “I went up to a little-known mountain range called the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming with my dog, Grizzly. After I spent some time up there reflecting, I decided when I came back, I was going to start something new. That was a period of America's history where the future was very uncertain, and it just felt like the right time.”
If one thing was certain to Bacon then, it was that connecting people was, and still is, undeniably a part of his DNA. So, in the fall of 2001, he officially launched his own recruiting agency. Seeing as ‘Makin’ Bacon’ was already trade-marked, Better With Bacon just felt, well, right!
Now, over 22 years later, BWBacon Group is an award-winning recruitment partner offering a breadth of technology solutions, undeniable deliverability to clients, and a top-notch candidate experience. While the team has always been a small but mighty force, we ask Bacon what has inspired or motivated him to keep going during stormy waters or hard economic times?
He chuckles whole-heartedly before responding, “happy candidates really fuel me. Receiving gratitude from people who know we’ve played a key role in helping them find their next step truly fills my cup. It makes me feel like we are a part of something bigger where we can be a catalyst towards changing people's lives.”
Digging deeper to reference other times of true struggle like the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, Bacon says, “particularly during the pandemic lockdown, I almost felt manic. Every hour of the day, I felt this incredible need to rise to the occasion for our team, for my family, and for the deeply connected community of people that we have supported and helped for so many years. I was waking up at three in the morning thinking of all the ways we could help during that time.”
Noting that a lot of that manic energy came down to giving people comfort that ‘this too shall pass,’ he emphasizes that investing in relationships was a meaningful strategy and path towards recovery then, and still is now. Regardless of what’s going on in the world, Bacon feels that “being vulnerable and letting people know that we're there to help them has allowed us to level the playing field and provide that space for people to feel that this too shall pass, whatever this may be.”
Our team is always discussing re-writing narratives and breaking down barriers, whether they be logistic barriers, assumptive barriers about how we work, or even barriers to hiring like internalized bias. We asked Bacon what he would say to those who have a misconception of what we do and the ways we help companies grow?
He does not hesitate before stating, “we are wired a certain way where we genuinely want to help companies grow and genuinely want to find the right fit for our candidates. There's a matchmaking piece of our DNA that's true to our innate nature. In this, we can be active, persuasive, sincere, genuine, assertive, even aggressive, in finding that talent.”
He adds on, “we're a small army that goes out there and acts on our clients and our candidates’ behalf to advocate them to each other. In the absence of a broker or a voice, people can get lost in the shuffle. We push so that good people rise to the top and get attention, making sure the nuances and different qualities that aren't always obvious on a resume can shine through.”
This year, the tech industry has undoubtedly struggled with maintaining headcount, and hiring for both big and small companies has slowed considerably. This had led to an uptick in tech layoffs that have left many without work in 2023, increasing stress and tension for those on the market. We asked Bacon his advice on the best way to approach getting hired in 2023, and his answer is expected, “I would advise them to invest in old and new relationships in many of the same ways that we do; reaching out to your recruiter is a part of investing in relationships, right?!”
“I would suggest that those open to work should structure their job search like it is a job in and of itself, where they implement their own KPIs and track progress against certain markers. For instance, commit to making twenty connections with people you know in one week, per week, hold yourself accountable for doing that, and make sure to set follow-up meetings," Bacon says encouragingly.
He continues, "go beyond sending emails and try to meet with people over zoom or for coffee or for a walk. It sounds a bit cliché that looking for a job is a job in and of itself, but if job seekers can put some level of accountability to own up to certain goals like outreach, more so than just the amount of applications they send in, then I have no doubt that they will begin to make meaningful traction.”
We could not conclude our interview without asking Bacon what BWBacon value he feels best represents him in this moment, and he replies with enthusiasm, “love life!” Having created the foundational set of values we all share with an older iteration of the BWB team nearly 15 years ago, Bacon adds that while he feels each and every value still applies to his daily life, "in this moment, accepting that challenges are actually opportunities that are going to make me a better person, a better leader, a better teammate, and a better husband and father, that is loving life.
Remarking that this year has had no shortages of challenges, Bacon says, “in loving life, you have to appreciate that it's going to throw curveballs and challenges your way, but none of those are insurmountable. You know, we’ve got one shot on this big spinning rock, and it's not always easy, but that's one of the reasons I that I'm particularly drawn to that value right here, right now.”
In balancing the work and play of life and accepting inevitable challenges, a quote by author James Michener represents the sentiment Bacon describes and encompasses the BWBacon philosophy as a whole,
the master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.”
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in across the US. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!