About

Each day, United Personnel connects more than 700 people with great jobs throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond. From temporary and contract work to direct hire placement, we provide clients with staffing solutions in a variety of industries and fields, including:

  • administrative
  • professional
  • accounting
  • light industrial
  • manufacturing
  • medical office
  • hospitality

For more than 30 years, United Personnel has developed a deep knowledge of the local employment market. Our close partnerships with some of the area’s largest employers, as well as smaller local businesses, result in great matches for employers and candidates alike.

History

In 1984, Mary Ellen Scott and her late husband, Jay Canavan, launched United Personnel, a staffing company with deep roots in the Pioneer Valley. The company was soon recognized as a source of staffing and employment solutions for scores of local companies and thousands of employees.

Thirty years after its founding, Mary Ellen and Jay Canavan’s daughter Tricia leads the company as president, while her sister Andrea retains a position on the company’s board. Mary Ellen continues to serve as chairman emerita.

Realizing that excellence means different things to different people, it is always our objective to:

  • Provide great opportunities to all of our candidates, matching their skills, aspirations, and cultural and scheduling preferences with jobs they’ll love.  
  • Partner with clients to improve all aspects of human resource management, including training, retention, compliance, and efficiency
  • Identify and place highly skilled candidates with the area’s top employers

Headquartered in downtown Springfield, United Personnel also offers staffing support services throughout Western MA and CT, with additional offices in New Haven, CT, Northampton and Pittsfield, MA.

Staff

Tricia Canavan

president

As company president, Tricia provides United Personnel with strategic direction, staff leadership, and guides our community involvement. Beyond her lifetime association with United Personnel, Tricia has extensive recruitment experience working with national staffing agencies.

In addition to her responsibilities as company president, Tricia serves on several nonprofit boards, including the Baystate Health Foundation, the Springfield Public Forum, the Springfield and Northampton Chambers of Commerce and the UMass Fine Arts Center.

Daphne Phalon

chief operating officer

As Chief Operating Officer, Daphne is involved in all aspects of the business including operational strategy, recruitment processes and compliance and serves on United’s executive team.  She has more than 15 years in the staffing industry and provides expertise in human resources, workers’ compensation and safety.  Daphne holds various certifications including her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources), CSP (Certified Staffing Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional).  Daphne is an active member of the America Staffing Associations Safety Committee, ASA/OSHA Alliance Taskforce, and Worker’s Compensation Committees.  Daphne also serves as an Officer on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Staffing Association.

Robin Olejarz

chief financial officer

Robin, a Certified Public Accountant, serves as United’s Chief Financial Officer. In this role, she oversees all fiscal operations and reporting, as well as overall company strategy as a member of United’s executive management team. Robin has extensive experience in a broad range of industries including  public accounting, distribution/logistics and not-for- profit. Robin has also served on the Boards of Directors for various local organizations including Springfield Public Forum, the Zoo at Forest Park , Habitat for Humanity and River Valley Counseling Center. Currently she is the Board Chair for the Mental Health Association and the Treasurer for Springfield Prep Charter School.

Jennifer Atwater

vice president of operations

In addition to overseeing operations for our Easthampton and Pittsfield offices, Jennifer is United Personnel’s liaison to key clients in this market. She supervises staffing and recruitment activities for both branches and is responsible for all large project management within these markets. Jennifer brings to the United Personnel team experience recruiting great talent nation wide.

She has served as a member of the Easthampton Chamber Board of Directors, the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and several other local civic organizations.

Jennifer Brown

assistant vice president of operations

Jennifer manages all operational aspects of our Springfield office, which serves Hampden County, parts of Hampshire County, and northern Connecticut. In this role, Jennifer supervises candidate recruitment, client relations, staffing support, and quality assurance. While she serves all industries, her area of focus is in administrative and professional placements.

Jennifer is a member of the Human Resource Management Association and the Human Resource roundtable with the Employers Association of the NorthEast. She is also a Certified Staffing Professional through the American Staffing Association and is a member of the Dress for Success Board of Directors.  

EJ Catala

vice president of operations, Connecticut

As Vice President of Operations in Connecticut, EJ manages all operations for United Personnel’s Southern Connecticut Region, including recruitment, placement, quality assurance,  business development and community relations. EJ has extensive experience in the staffing industry including positions in management, operations, sales and both contract and direct hire placement. His past recruiting experience encompasses IT, accounting and finance, professional, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. In addition to his responsibilities as Vice President of Operations in Connecticut , EJ is an active member of various community organizations, including the New Haven Chamber of Commerce, Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce, New Haven Manufacturers Association, and the United Way New Haven Development Committee.

Mim Zayas

director of talent acquisition

As Director of Talent Acquisition, Mim manages recruitment strategy and operations throughout United’s service areas.  Mim began working in the staffing industry in 1995 and has had the opportunity to recruit for both Temporary and Direct Hire employment positions.  Throughout her career, Mim has overseen both light industrial and professional recruitment and placement services as well as vendor managed services programs in various sectors, domestically and internationally.  She is knowledgeable about applicant tracking systems including VMS applications.  During a brief break from the staffing industry to raise her children, Mim has had the opportunity to work with students on the Autism Spectrum and remains committed to their academic and social success.  Mim is also a member of the Chicopee, MA Chamber Board of Directors.

Awards

Over the past 30 years, United Personnel and its leadership have received a number of honors, including:

Businesswoman of Distinction Award, Mary Ellen Scott, Pioneer Valley Girl Scouts
Inner City 100 List, Inc. Magazine
List of 500 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in America, Inc. Magazine
Small Business of the Year, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Super 60 / Fabulous 50 Award, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Top 100 Woman-Led Businesses in Massachusetts, Babson College / Commonwealth Institute