Staff Bios

Minnesota Office

Torrey Ernst


Torrey joined 1st St. NW Inc. in 1995 as a Recruiter. In 1996, he was awarded the Recruiting Manager role and moved to the Contracts Manager position in 1998. He was named Vice President in 1999 and was promoted to President in January 2006. Prior to 1st St. NW Inc., Torrey spent six years in the market research industry with Project Research, Inc.

He has been featured in the Twin Cities Business Magazine for The Best of Business, a recognition for Best Employee-Of-The-Year Award, and is a Certified Staffing Professional. His duties include client development and day to day operations and activities for the company.

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Aron Hoffman

Vice President/Partner

Aron arrived at 1st St. NW, Inc. in 1997 as a rookie fresh out of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, where he obtained his BA in Business Management.

Hoffman has recruited for both the Minnesota and Wisconsin locations. Currently, he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and children.

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Andy Pietrzak - Vice President/Partner

Andy Pietrzak

Vice President/Partner

Andy joined the 1st St. team in May of 1999 as a wide-eyed Intern. After his graduation from the University of Minnesota in 2000, he was hired on as a full-time Recruiter. In 2002, Andy shifted his duties to client development and management. In 2006, he became Vice President and Partner. A Certified Staffing Professional (CSP), Andy takes pleasure in the variety of building relationships with clients of all technical disciplines.

In his free-time, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and their energetic children. A big supporter of University of Minnesota athletics, he considers himself a “long-suffering Gophers football fan.”

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Kevin Lillie

Sr. Technical Recruiter

Kevin joined 1st St. NW in 2012 after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Business: HR Management from Bethel University in Saint Paul, MN.   After starting at 1st St. NW in an entry-level Technical Recruiter role, Kevin was promoted to a senior-level role and was awarded the Senior Technical Recruiter position in 2016.  Kevin enjoys building relationships with candidates and helping them find fulfilling careers with our clients.

When he’s not busy recruiting candidates, you can usually find Kevin at Target Field catching a Twins game, at First Ave for a concert, or at home catching up on Netflix or playing his PlayStation 4.

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Wisconsin Office

Kent Welch

Kent Welch

Vice President/Partner

Kent has been in the staffing industry since graduating from UW-Eau Claire. He moved back to Wisconsin to join 1st St. NW, Inc. in 1995, after spending four years with a nationwide technical employment firm in San Jose, CA. Since joining us, he has helped build the Milwaukee branch into the premier technical staffing firm in Southeastern Wisconsin.

In his free time, he likes to ride his Heritage Softail, golf, fish and spend time with his family.

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Rachel Conard

Chief Talent Officer

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications, Rachel joined 1st St. NW, Inc. as an entry-level recruiter. She knew little about the technical positions she was recruiting for, but quickly learned the companies and terminology, and in no time she was talking shop with the engineers.

After a sabbatical in freelance writing and many years honing her recruitment skills in the nonprofit health care arena, she has come full circle. Rachel is back at 1st St. NW, Inc. as our Chief Talent Officer. The personal and professional philosophy she has held over the years originated at 1st St. NW, Inc.: Work ethic is king, but there’s always room for sense of humor.

When she’s not networking on LinkedIn or negotiating job offers, Rachel enjoys brunching, hosting game nights, and spending time with her family.

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Danielle Bendix

Public Relations Coordinator

Danielle recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, with an emphasis in Advertising and minor in Marketing.  She recently moved from Illinois to Milwaukee after graduation and loves everything Milwaukee has to offer!  She has a passion for digital marketing and is so happy to become part of the 1st St. NW, Inc. team!

In her free time Danielle enjoys outdoor activities, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family and friends.

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