25th Largest Company in Chicago: Emel Singer

Every year, Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine ranks the women-owned companies in Chicago, Illinois, based on their annual sales revenue. The list includes other indicators such as number of annual income, number of employees and annual changes compared to the year before. The only pre-condition for a company to be included in the list is to be owned –at least by 50%- by a woman.
Owned by the Turkish entrepreneur Emel Singer, Banner Personnel Services, Inc. ranked 25th on Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine’s chart. The company increased its sales revenue from $9.7 million in 2002 to $10 million in 2003 and has a total of 35 employees in five office locations. Banner Personnel is specialized in recruiting qualified personnel for its clients. In other words, the company addresses the need for employees that fit to employer’s expectations.
Emel Singer

Established in 1970, Banner Personnel experienced difficulties too. During the heydays of the American economy, it had 150 employees in 15 offices across the country. Until 1998, the company had placed 5,200 job-seekers in companies.

Emel Singer, the Chairman of Banner Personnel, says that their industry is one of the first to be affected when the economy fluctuates. She admits that they weakened in 2001 and 2002 but they started to gain momentum in 2003 as the economy gave recovery signals: “In 2000, we had 15 offices. In November 2000, we started to feel the stagnation and had to downsize. We had to go down to 35 employees and five offices. 2001 and 2002 were very difficult for us.”       

Emel Singer is not the founder of the Company. Banner Personnel was founded by her deceased husband James Singer in 1987. In a way she had to start working with her husband in 1970, because she was forced to leave her job due to her pregnancy. Since 1971, she did every imaginable task in the Company: “I am glad I worked with my husband. It helped me learn every task here.” Banner Personnel also served as the kindergarten for Ms. Singer’s two children, who were born when she was working there. Both children grew up in a room in the company.
Emel Singer, Banner Personnel Services, Inc.

Banner Personnel is keen on using state-of-the-art technology. “We had voicemail and fax systems even before many large banks did,” says Ms. Singer. She says that their biggest advantage is employees who view the company as their family. Having worked together for a long time, the team helped the company skip bankruptcy and turned it back to profitability.

At present, Banner works with approximately 400 companies. Job-seeker resumes are kept in a special database.

Born in Gaziantep as the second child of Nesrin and Resit Tuzun, Emel Singer attended Bradley University. While her mother Nesrin was the Chief Nurse of the American Hospital in Gaziantep, her father was working in the accounting department. Having worked in Paris as a nurse for a while, after her mother relocated to Istanbul, Emel, supported by friends of the family, came to America to study high school.

She ten studied at Bradley University in Peoria, where she met with her future husband James Singer. Emel Singer is the mother of Justin and Jodi. She is a two-time finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year contests organized by Inc. Magazine and Ernst & Young in 1993 and 1996. In 1993, she was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.    

(February 2004, 11th Issue)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07