Bill Hatcher, the founder and CEO of MAU Workforce Solutions, one of the largest independent staffing firms in the country, died Friday at his home surrounded by family. He was 87.
“People will remember he was a family man,” said his son, Randy, who recalled how his father often reached out to members of the community and his MAU family the way he would help a member of his own family. For instance, he would often talk to young people who weren’t sure what direction to take after graduation.
“There are a number of people in the job market because Bill Hatcher took an hour of his time and talked to them,” Randy Hatcher said. “He wanted no credit for any of this. He just did what was right.”
Hatcher was born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1925 and grew up during the Great Depression, according to his family and Augusta Chronicle archives. His first job was selling ice cream on neighborhood streets. At age 13, he took a job cleaning printing presses. He joined the Navy after graduating high school.
The GI Bill allowed him to attend the University of Alabama while supporting his wife, Marion Harris Hatcher, and their infant son, Billy, and he became the first in his family to earn a college degree.
After graduation, he became a wage and salary analyst for the Army, then a human resources professional for Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. In 1963, he came to Augusta to work with Columbia Nitrogen Corp.
A decade later during an economic downturn, Hatcher found himself without a job.
“It was just amazing to me, the more I think about it, starting his own business at the age of 48 when he’d lost his job,” Randy Hatcher said. “He was just a classic entrepreneur.”
In 1973, with only $500 and a dream, Hatcher and his wife opened a professional recruiting firm that became known as Mr./Ms. Temps.
A year later, he revolutionized the staffing industry by requiring employers to pay a fee for clerical workers. At that time, the workers paid the fees. Son Billy joined the business in 1974, and Randy came aboard in 1978.
The company, renamed MAU in 1999, has grown into one of the nation’s largest independent staffing firms, with locations in Augusta; LaGrange, Ga.; Aiken, Anderson, Charleston and Greenville, S.C.; and Chattanooga, Tenn. It has staffed some of the largest corporations in the Southeast, including the Kia automobile manufacturing plant in Troup County and E-Z-Go.
Last year, it ranked second on the Top 100 Native American Owned Businesses in the U.S. and the Top 50 Diversity Owned Businesses in Georgia.
After 52 years of marriage, Hatcher lost his wife to Alzheimer’s disease in 1999. He honored her memory by purchasing the historic John Phinizy home at 519 Greene St. and renaming it the Marion Hatcher Center, which serves as an event venue.
In 2002, he married JoAnn Priest Smith, who survives him. Other survivors include his two sons and daughter Pamela Hatcher Stuart, 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church with burial in Westover Memorial Park.