BY Chris Chaney

Editor, PEO Insider

March 2024


Frank W. Crum, Jr. has seen and experienced quite a bit over his business career; he’s learned many lessons and met many people. He’s a humble man who eschews the spotlight, preferring to heap praise on others. The hard work, dedication, intelligence, and passion of his employees has led to his success, he says. Over the last 40 years or so, Frank has quietly helped pioneer the PEO industry. Today his company employs about 500 people and serves clients in nearly every state.

FrankCrum is a family business that began in 1981 when Frank opened a staffing company with his father. Today, the company operates four lines of business: a PEO, a staffing company, an insurance agency, and an insurance carrier. A third generation of family leadership is also in place with Haley Crum and Matt Crum who serve as co-presidents of the PEO. Haley also runs the company’s staffing division while Matt leads their insurance operations.

Despite being a successful business leader and industry pioneer, Frank remains grounded and focused on what really matters in life. His family is his passion, he says. Animals rank a close second. He and his wife Brenda own an Alpaca ranch and horse barn. Haley jokes with new employees that her father is more likely to talk to them about football and animals than business issues.

The values and virtues he learned as a child from Boy Scout leaders and baseball coaches still underpin his business philosophy and leadership style. There’s no substitute for hard work, he insists. Don’t make excuses, and don’t take shortcuts. If you do the right thing, play by the rules, treat others with respect, and maintain humility, success just may follow.


Starting or leading a business never seemed like a goal for Frank Crum, Jr. His father ran a successful manufacturing company which employed 500 seamstresses, so Frank was exposed to the business world, but a different vocation called to him: the ministry. To this day, Frank’s faith remains an essential part of this life, even though he has long since stepped down from the pulpit.

“I was really good at it and liked it a lot,” Frank recalls, “but I didn’t like the politics of the church leadership; it hampered the ministry.”

Needing a job to support himself and his family, Frank paid a visit to Olsten Temporary Services. Within 10 minutes he had secured a job managing the company’s Orlando area office. Despite knowing nothing about the job, he excelled. The office flourished and grew immensely under Frank’s leadership.

His father also took note of the success Frank experienced in the staffing industry.

“My dad sold his company, and said he wanted to start his own staffing company and that he wanted me to run it with him,” Frank says.

Frank cautioned that competing against established brands would be tough. He had doubts about securing enough cash flow since he knew it would take 45-60 days to collect any revenue, and that’s if they had clients. But Frank knew what he had to do.

“That’s how I got into business; I loved my dad and wanted to protect him and his investments,” Frank explains.

Frank’s experience in the staffing industry and his father’s experience running a business proved a fruitful combination. Success ensued and the company began to grow. For many clients, the company offered a payroll transfer plan.

“Companies paid us to do payroll to cover workers’ comp., SUTA, etc.” Frank says.

Sound familiar?

Around this time, Frank read about a similar concept in California expect it had a different name: employee leasing.

When appeal and interest from clients in the payroll transfer concept kept growing, Frank and his dad decided to put together a more robust offering around it. On January 1, 1986, Frank left the staffing company to launch a new business: an employee leasing company named Ameristaff (later to be re-branded FrankCrum).


In 1986, the nascent PEO industry (then called employee leasing) had few guidelines, regulations, or well-established best practices. Frank was indeed part of the pioneer class of PEO leaders. Make no mistake, it is hard to start a PEO in 2024, but today’s new operators have decades of history and experience to draw on. Licensing and regulatory schemes exist in nearly every state. The industry is well organized; veteran PEO leaders support and mentor new ones.

Frank had none of that. He had an idea, and one employee. Sales were hard to come by.

“I’d schedule appointments, but it was very, very difficult convincing people the idea was all above board,” Frank remembers.

He faced skeptics. People wondered; how could this really work? It sounds illegal, will I get arrested, they would ask. Frank really had to demonstrate the value of the concept, not only the services he offered but how the arrangement would save these businesses time and money.

Frank drew on his background in ministry. If he had learned anything, he had learned how to communicate well. He understood how to connect with people; how to discern their needs and assuage their fears. He focused on forging relationships.

“I sold by sharing stories and building a bond. Most of my sales calls were getting to know people,” Frank says.

It paid off. He attracted more and more clients and hired more and more people. The company grew.

Other PEOs sprang up, too. The industry really took hold in Florida. Unfortunately, not all behaved well. Bad actors disregarded basic business principles and ethics. Something had to change. Frank and a few others played key roles in developing rules, regulations, and laws PEOs would have to follow. They built the regulatory framework that established guardrails and set the rules of the road.

The enactment of regulations played a key role in spurring growth and legitimizing the industry in the eyes of many. In Florida, Frank recalls a seminal event: the creation of the Board of Employee Leasing Companies in 1991.

This oversight body did not immediately clean up bad actors, but it certainly helped.

“You had to meet financial standards, insurance standards, carry workers’ comp. coverage, etc.” Frank explains, “It really codified the industry.”

Frank served as the head of the Board’s probable cause panel for several years. When companies faced complaints of wrongdoing or failed to comply with requirements, the probable cause panel heard the complaint and sought to remedy the situation. Maybe it was his faith and ministry background again, but Frank resisted doling out immediate punishment. He gave people a chance to correct their mistakes. He’d offer insight and guidance on how to improve and operate the right way. If that didn’t work, then his hand was forced, but at least people always had a chance to make things right.


“I’m not a smart guy,” Frank jokes, “I have one gift, I think, and that’s to recognize talent.”

That’s how Frank explains his successful business philosophy: hire people smarter than yourself, let them do their jobs, and inspect what you expect.

“My success is just that, hiring good people. I would rather have a very good person who is a team player, than the smartest guy in the room who is not a team player,” Frank says.

Two of those people Frank has hired over the years are his two children: Haley Crum and Matt Crum. They both have held many roles in the company, working their ways up to the C-suite. Haley leads the company’s staffing division and Matt leads the insurance operations while they both serve as co-presidents of the PEO. Franks serves as the company chairman, but he considers Haley and Matt as drivers of the company’s success.

“When I want to make a business decision like purchasing new software, adding a new department, or something else, I have to pray about it,” Frank says, “I don’t move until I get an answer.”

“It’s good to have Matt and Haley here because they move us forward in spite of me, they’ve made the company better and make a great team. I believe with Haley and Matt at the helm, the company will grow faster and will be under better leadership than myself,” Frank continues.

A chef by trade, the PEO industry didn’t initially appeal to Haley. When her grandfather became ill; however, she and father spoke and decided it was a good time for her to join the family business, too.

“I think it was really smart that he [Frank] put me in a customer service role,” Haley says.

She had to quickly learn the business in order to effectively engage with customers. Over the years, she took on increasing responsibilities and oversaw more and more departments. This March she celebrates 17 years with the company.

“I’m eternally grateful to my dad for giving me the opportunity,” she says.

For Matt, joining the family business was always something on the radar, but not a decision he really settled on until after college.

“I grew up around the company, I have fond memories of playing with toys in my grandfather’s office,” he recalls, “Over summers in high school I would do different jobs from moving furniture to administrate work.”

Matt was also a hockey player, so he left home to play hockey in the Northeast at boarding school and in college. He would still come home each summer and do various internships with the company.

“At one point I thought I wanted to be an attorney, but then realized I didn’t love reading contracts,” Matt laughs.

However, his internship with the company’s insurance carrier was a great experience. He loved the work and the challenge. Sadly, his grandfather passed away not long before he graduated college. Frank encouraged his son to think about joining the company full time.

“He didn’t push, but it was clear he would really like for me to come on board,” Matt explains, “I felt the call to come home and help him out.”

Haley and Matt’s addition to the leadership team represents a new phase of the company’s story which has grown and evolved quite a bit since January of 1986. A significant evolution point occurred in 2003 when Frank decided to start his own insurance carrier. At the time, many PEOs encountered trouble attempting to secure workers’ compensation coverage. Frank had a connection to David Yon who had recently stepped down as the lead counsel of Florida’s state insurance division. The two met and discussed the state of the market. Yon advised Frank to start his own insurance carrier. He noted how unusual this recommendation was as he typically cautioned people against jumping into the insurance business.

“It took six months, but we got our license to be a workers’ comp. carrier,” Frank recalls, “It has transformed our company, now we can serve more types of businesses.”

Frank Winston Crum Insurance is a licensed carrier in 45 states and soon expects to officially add New York and California to that total. It represents a significant investment of time, resources, and planning. It’s a milestone that Frank expects to accelerate growth and attract more clients across the entire country.

The creation of the insurance carrier also led to the creation of an insurance agency which Matt spearheaded.

Clients began asking for help with numerous lines of insurance like general liability, liquor liability, and property insurance. A PEO does not provide these coverages, so FrankCrum would simply refer clients out to insurance agencies.

Eventually though, it became clear to Frank that this presented an opportunity to enhance the client’s service offering.

“My dad teaches by throwing you into the deep end,” Matt says, “He looked at me at said, ‘go start an insurance agency’.”

The process demanded a lot of research and hard work, but in 2008 the insurance agency began operations. Matt would take over as president of the insurance carrier in 2013.

Apart from just hiring good people, the company’s growth has been fueled by a straightforward plan.

“My strategy has been to live for the day and walk by faith, never to have partners, and never buy other PEOs,” Frank explains.

Matt and Haley of course are business partners now, so Frank made an exception to keep the family business legacy alive and well. Frank focuses on keeping the business profitable and providing quality service to every client. He never aspires to become the largest PEO. He runs his business by the values, truths, and virtues that he’s held nearly his entire life. He tries to stay humble and remember what matters most.


With nearly 500 internal employees across three divisions, many of whom work in a hybrid environment, maintaining the close-knit, family business character of the company’s early days has been a challenge. Workplace culture and supporting employees are incredibly important to Frank and the leadership team, so they have implemented many strategies to promote and nurture a positive workplace.

“If everyone is taken care of, employees are happy, and clients are well served, then that’s what counts,” Haley says.

“It’s [creating culture] purposeful,” Haley continues, “It’s hard to maintain relationships with 500 employees, so we have to have a whole team focused on this. We want to make sure everyone feels important and valued.”

“I want people to want to be here,” Matt adds, “It’s our responsibility as leaders to create an environment where people can grow, develop, and achieve success.”

It’s easier said than done, he notes, as a company’s culture is dynamic, not static.

Giant Christmas parties and other celebrations, quarterly town halls with inspirational messages (not just routine corporate updates), and regular recognition of employee milestones and achievements are key ways of sustaining and reinforcing the company’s culture.

The company’s internal newsletter spotlights new hires and recently promoted employees with their pictures. Service awards are doled out to deserving employees. The main corporate office also boasts a large cafeteria where many gather for lunch. It’s a chance to socialize and engage with one another in a causal setting.

The focus on creating a strong workplace culture feeds back into Frank’s philosophy on hiring good people.

“We try to recognize growth potential in our people, which strengthens our company for the long haul. If I can provide more resources and opportunity as the employer, and if you do your job well, the relationship will stand the test of time.” Frank says.

“The employees carry the water and deliver on our brand promise: To inspire businesses to be the best that they can be. Without them, I cannot be successful,” Frank adds.


To Frank, part of measuring a company’s success centers on how it treats its people and its community. From the very beginning, Frank knew his company would be a valuable member of its community. Numerous local organizations receive support and gifts from FrankCrum. Homeless Empowerment Program (HEP), Trinity Café-Feeding Tampa Bay, YMCA, and Clearwater Free Clinic are just a few.

An annual golf tournament raises around $200,000 for Trinity Café which provides meals to food insecure families in the Tampa Bay region. The company also hosts an annual fundraiser on its campus for Clearwater Free Clinic which provides free medical care to those in need.

“Local artists donate artwork that is raffled off, food vendors donate food, and 800 people attend. It’s really a coveted event,” Haley explains.

“We also support many of our client’s initiatives like 5K races,” she adds.

Employees are encouraged to participate too by donating $1 per week in exchange for wearing jeans on Fridays. Once the total reaches between $10,000 and $15,000, the sum is donated to Trinity Café. A group of employees, not the leadership, presents the check. It’s a rewarding and fulfilling activity.

Apart from the physical community FrankCrum belongs to, the PEO industry is also part of the company’s community. Since his early days in the business, Frank has valued being a member of the industry and doing his part to move things forward. In addition to his years leading the probable cause panel, he’s served terms as the president of FAPEO and a stint on the NAPEO Board of Directors. Haley has continued that spirit having recently completed a four-year term on NAPEO’s Board herself. She remains active within many NAPEO committees, working groups, and initiatives.

We all recognize the PEO industry of today: a thriving sector providing robust, cutting-edge HR solutions and services. PEO pioneers and founders like Frank W. Crum, Jr. laid the foundation for the success that has followed.





Voters in Indiana’s 9th Congressional district elected Congresswoman Erin Houchin to serve in the United States House of Representatives in November 2022. In doing so, Rep. Houchin became the first woman elected to Congress from her district. She also holds the distinction of being the only person elected to Congress who has worked for a PEO.Rep. Houchin spoke to PEO Insider about her decision to seek public office, her experience working for a PEO, and the policies she champions.


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