When Bob Funk graduated from college, he had his heart set on buying the dairy farm where he’d worked for 12 years. But his cousin who owned it told him to go find a job, come back in two years and then he’d consider selling it.
Despite the fact that Funk discovered his dream job in the staffing business, he still couldn’t shake his love of tending livestock. “I said, ‘I’m going to have my farm,’ so I bought some cows right away and 20 acres,” Funk says. “But then I had too many cows and needed more acreage. And then I had too many acres and bought some more cows — and things have been going like that ever since.”
Which might explain why his company, Express Ranches, sprawls some 20,000 acres in Oklahoma. And his herd? It’s up to about 6,000 head of Angus.
As an FFA member from 1954 to 1958, Funk developed an unyielding ambition that served him well — and does to this day. In 1983, he cofounded Oklahoma-based Express Employment Professionals. With more than 800 franchises, the operation currently boasts more than $3.5 billion in sales annually and has put more than 6.5 million folks to work worldwide. President and vice chairman of the board, Funk takes pride in a business that helps people find jobs.
Funk knows what creates winners in the workforce. His support of FFA helps build the talent pipeline that is needed in the industry.
“Industry is crying for people who have a good work ethic and good values, and that’s what FFA does for young people,” he says. “That’s why Express has been so heavily involved in FFA for several years.” For the past five, Express has supported National FFA Officer Scholarships and the Oklahoma FFA (through scholarships).
“FFA kids are the ones with the integrity and work ethics, the ones determined to get ahead,” Funk says. “FFA teaches young people the soft skills they’re not getting elsewhere…those are so important. Leaders, of course, lead people; they don’t push people. Great leaders have to have good soft skills.”