Lakebay woman’s business boom helps land jobs for hundreds


Irene Torres, KP News

NNRI Consulting, Inc. owner Michelle Spruell runs a group of new employees through a synaptic pathway exercise during orientation at her Gig Harbor-based location. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

In the three years Michelle Spruell has owned NNRI Consulting, Inc., she has helped more than 400 clients find work.

She operated the business out of her Lakebay home until it outgrew the space.

Last year, Spruell opened an office in Gig Harbor and hired more staff to meet the demands of being a state and federal employment vendor.

It is Spruell’s belief that employers are looking for a specific set of skills from job-seekers who match the skills necessary to perform a particular job.

“The good news is that most job-seekers posses these skills to some extent. We help them focus on their skills and match them to job announcements. The better news is that job-seekers with weaknesses in these areas can improve their skills through training, professional development or obtaining coaching/mentoring from someone who understands these skills,” said Spruell.

Once her clients understand the skills and characteristics most employers seek, they can tailor their job-search communication –– resume, cover letter and interview language –– to showcase how well their background aligns with common employer requirements, Spruell said.

As a woman-owned business with state and federal contracts, Spruell and her staff of 12 serve some 13 counties in Washington from Port Townsend to Portland. They help individuals who face barriers to employment such as disabilities, criminal histories, lack of experience or transitioning to a different career.

According to Dennis Funk, NNRI executive consultant, their company uses a holistic approach to employment.

“We focus on individuals and align them with the core values of the job market where they can fit. Spruell, herself, had a disability and was confined to a wheelchair during her school years. She understands discrimination and how it can affect confidence in a negative way,” Funk said.

Spruell said her company may be a for-profit, “but we serve people first.”

NNRI starts with “tangibles” in a career mapping workshop called the “The Hope Session.” The next step is goal exploration and setting realistic expectations. A third workshop is career development for targeting resumes, cover letters, creating portfolios and learning to decipher job announcements which focus on disclosure of barriers to employment.

Step four is professional interviewing. Clients practice one-on-one, group, panel, phone and videotaped interviews. They also feature “speed” interviews, where prospective employers gain efficiency by spending less time with more candidates to find the right fit.

The final phase is Networking 101, where the concept of social media, branding and professionalism are introduced. The sessions cover two to four days, and have a one-hour lunch break each day.

Some training cost can be defrayed by state and federal funding for work re-entry, veterans and disability programs, Spruell said.

NNRI offers some free workshops and 1- to 3-day “boot camp” sessions. They also offer job coaching and case-by-case consultations.

When the unemployment rate climbed to more than 11 percent, NNRI placed 58 percent of their clients who took the workshops in order.

“We make no guarantee, but it is our vision to help people who are being lost,” Spruell said.

NNRI Consulting, Inc. is named for Spruell’s daughters, Natasha Nichole and Rachel Irene.

For information, visit or call (253) 514-6753.