Our Story

Ryan Burke

Co-Founder Ryan Burke Explains the Name

I’m often asked, “How did you come up with Bluewater Hayes?” My co-founder and long-time friend Joe Lamphere and I created a name that would pay tribute to our Midwest roots. My family lived along Bluewater Highway, the Ionia County portion of M-21 that traverses Michigan east to west. Joe grew up on Hayes Road, a county road that intersects with Bluewater Highway and runs north from the village of Muir. We spent a good bit of our formative years running up and down these roads on foot, bikes, and our first cars.


It All Began Over Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

The Bluewater Hayes story really begins at a KFC Buffet in the small town of Ionia, Michigan. As high school seniors, Joe and I volunteered as teachers’ aides. Twice a week, we would carpool to the middle school and often times we’d make a pit stop at KFC on the way back. About midway through the year, Joe mentions between bites of chicken he had decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. I thought he was crazy and yet somehow he managed to convince me to go meet with the recruiter. That meeting was life changing. I decided to enlist and in September 1998, we both shipped off to MCRD San Diego for Marine Corps boot camp.

Joe and I stayed in touch following active duty. We talked regularly about business, start-up ideas, and best practices for building successful organizations. He was running his own business that he launched shortly after getting out of the military. I had found my passion for talent search during my tenure with two world-class staffing firms following a brief career in supply chain management. Bluewater Hayes became the manifestation of ideas Joe and I had traded over the years. Our concept was simple: hire smart, driven, caring people who are a reflection of our clients and candidates, invest in their development, and foster a dynamic culture that encourages intellectual curiosity, empathy, ambition, respect, and teamwork.

Ryan Burke, Principal Partner

Joe Lamphere

Co-Founder Joe Lamphere On Our Approach to Culture

Ryan and I came up with several business venture ideas over the years, but none fit better with our innate skills and experience than talent search. It was important to both of us that we build a business that helps people. Not just our clients and candidates, but our employees as well. We believe that if you can create an environment that people want to be a part of, you will be carried to the top by the people in that environment. It’s our people who make us great and we in turn strive to create a unique, fun, and rewarding work environment.

The Importance of Relationships

As a hiring manager or job seeker, you can choose between several staffing firms. We want to be your first and only call when you decide to pursue a new career opportunity or make a hiring decision. As an organization, we value long-term relationships and our team cares about the people we represent. We are passionate about the work we do. Building lasting relationships and working hard to help you succeed in your career is our primary mission.

Joe Lamphere, Principal Partner

Thank you for taking time to learn our story. We encourage you to take the next step. Reach out to us today!

Our Mission

To form extraordinary relationships that enable us to advance talented individuals and partner with innovative companies to build great teams through precision placement.

An aperture is a versatile tool that allows one to see further and engage objects more accurately. In our logo, the aperture represents our ability to bring perspective and clarity to the hiring process. Our capabilities, experience, and relationships enable us to successfully match talent to opportunity in ways that aren’t initially obvious.

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