On March 2, 1988 Dave McDowell founded Austin Nichols Technical Search, Inc. (ANTS) in a small, windowless room with only a borrowed metal desk, a trash bin, and two $10 chairs. Austin Nichols began as a one-man show, the culmination of McDowell’s longtime dream of owning his own company. After leaving the recruiting firm he had been working for to strike out on his own, he found himself bound by a non-compete contract that precluded him from recruiting anywhere within a 50-mile radius of downtown Kansas City, so Austin Nichols started out in small office in St. Joseph, Missouri, exactly 52 miles from the KC metro area.

After a year of commuting back and forth, his non-compete expired and he moved Austin Nichols Technical Search to City Center Square in downtown KC, where he spent twelve years before moving the company to a new office in Crown Center overlooking the Mayor’s Christmas Tree—the same office we still occupy today.

Prior to that move, though, McDowell made another big move, founding a sister recruiting company called Austin Nichols Technical Temporaries, Inc. (ANTT). Focused on contract and contract-to-hire placement of manufacturing and engineering specialists, Austin Nichols Technical Temporaries quickly grew into a multi-million dollar business, and shortly thereafter McDowell sold ANTT to a publicly traded company based out of New Jersey. Unfortunately for them, the new owners didn’t experience the same level of success with the business, and in 2001 McDowell bought back the rights to the Austin Nichols name, the database, and existing non-compete contracts.

Once both companies were back together, McDowell merged them into a single entity, called simply Austin Nichols Technical. Having survived—and thrived—through two major manufacturing and economic downturns, Austin Nichols Technical continues to do more engineering, construction, and manufacturing placement work than anyone else in Kansas City. Over the years Austin Nichols has accumulated a lot of accolades, including being nominated five times for Kansas City Small Business of the Year, but what matters most to us is providing staffing solutions that promote long-term business relationships, and we’re proud to say that we’ve had numerous clients who’ve worked with us for many years, including one dating all the way back to that very first year in 1988.