Stan Grandfield: Triad Temporary Services Owner Cultivates a Fruitful Life

April 6, 2010  
Filed under Business

By Phyl Newbeck

His firm handshake belies the fact that Stan Grandfield will turn 84 in less than three months. So does the fact that he is still working several days a week as President of Triad Temporary Services of Williston, a business he started in 1988. Grandfield concedes he might eventually retire; he has been cutting back on his hours to spend time with his wife, Ethel, who has a medical condition. However, he isn’t quite ready to leave the working world just yet.

Born in Barre and currently residing in Montpelier, Grandfield is a lifelong Vermonter. Aside from a two-year stint in the Naval Air Corps, he has spent his entire life in the state. Grandfield enjoyed his military career and the opportunity it gave him to travel, but upon his discharge, he returned to Vermont and got a degree in accounting from UVM thanks to the GI bill. After graduation, Grandfield taught math at Vergennes High School for two years but decided he had to make a choice between eating and teaching, “and I’d been eating a lot longer.” He took a job in accounting at General Electric, but after two years decided the large corporation wasn’t for him. Grandfield enjoyed the work but disliked being rushed to complete jobs that turned out not to be necessary. “That takes the life out of people,” he said.

Through an old family friend, Grandfield got a job as a teller at a bank in Barre. From there he moved to a bank in St. Johnsbury where he was Executive Vice President, and then back home to Montpelier where he took over operations of the Montpelier Savings Bank, which later became part of the Howard Bank. Pleased with a successful career, Grandfield retired in June of 1988. By December he was bored, and with a partner, purchased a company called Triad Design Services. Since that company thrived on temporary help, they opened a companion business called Triad Temporary Services. The businesses were originally in Essex Junction, but the duo bought the building in Williston where both operations continue to be housed.

Eventually, the partners split up with Grandfield retaining control of the temp business while his former partner held on to the design business.

But Grandfield isn’t all business. He plays golf, he fishes, and he has a hunting camp in Lewis although he concedes he isn’t the avid deer hunter he was in his youth. But Grandfield’s passion is apples. He owns a large chunk of land in Worcester, part open and part forested, where he tends the 60-tree orchard one of his daughter’s named DunBanken in tribute to his first retirement. Grandfield does all the pruning, spraying and picking, but his favorite thing is experimenting with grafting different species. He remembers the first time he tasted Honey Crisp apples, immediately requesting some scions he could graft onto his own trees. Grandfield used to take some of his feral apples to be pressed into cider, but now is content to pick his better apples and bring them to friends and neighbors.

Despite his love for the orchard and for the outdoors, Grandfield makes the trek several times a week from his Montpelier home to his Williston office. “I always enjoyed being occupied,” he said, “so when the opportunity presented itself here, I took it. I enjoy being around people and working with people and there is nothing more people oriented than temporary help.”

The only time Grandfield betrays his age is his concern that the younger generation doesn’t have the same work ethic that his generation did. “We try to encourage them to do a good job,” he said, “so perhaps the company will hire them permanently.”

Grandfield began working while he was in high school. His first job was washing stones at a quarry in Barre. He followed that up with a short retail stint at the meat department of a grocery store, and described both jobs as “a great learning experience.”

These were the early days of Social Security, prior to the existence of unemployment insurance, and Grandfield thinks this helped push youngsters like himself into the work world earlier than today’s youth.
Grandfield said his business was negatively affected by the declining economy, but the setback wasn’t severe. Triad has established relationships with a number of larger companies in the area which continue to need temporary help. Although Triad centers its operations in central and northwestern Vermont, they have worked with businesses as far north as Newport. Triad specializes in supplying clerical and manufacturing help. “The important thing,” said Grandfield “is finding people with the skills and the desire to do a good job.”  The business has always had ups and downs based on the economy, but Grandfield concedes the current situation has been harder than some previous economic declines. “It’s been an interesting and challenging time,” he said, “but we’re right about the same place we were before the downturn.”

“I enjoy working,” said Grandfield, “but I have all the confidence in the world in the people I work with.”  This allows him the flexibility to accompany his wife to her doctor’s appointments and take care of her well-being. “I think I can manage to be away a good deal of the time and the business will go on,” he said. Grandfield and his wife have four children and five grandchildren. One daughter lives in Vermont, but the others are scattered in Massachusetts, New York City, and California. Two followed their father into financial fields and one followed his first love of teaching. “I suspect that someday I’ll retire and spend more time with my grandchildren,” he said, “but I still like to keep busy.”

One thing for sure is Grandfield’s retirement will not take him out of state. He loves being close to his land in Worcester with its orchard and berry bushes, although he concedes that the birds do most of the berry harvesting. He marvels at the flocks of birds he can see from the land and the variety of wildlife, including one chipmunk which obligingly climbed onto his hand, up his arm and nestled for awhile on his shoulder before returning to his burrow. “Vermont is a wonderful place with fabulous people,” he said. “I grew up here, I went to school here, and I’m still here.”


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