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Originally published September 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 3, 2007 at 2:03 AM

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Online scheduler simplifies staffing

A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:

What: Shiftboard

What it does: The Seattle company is developing an online scheduling tool where people sign up for available shifts. Nonprofits use it to organize volunteers. For-profits, such as hospitals, use it to fill odd jobs without having to make a phone call.

Who: Bryan Lhuillier is the founder and chief technology officer, who spun off the idea from Coverage Systems, a Seattle staffing software firm.

Details: Founded in 2005, the company, with offices in Pioneer Square, has fewer than 10 workers, including contractors.

Customers: An example of a for-profit customer is Delivery Express, a Seattle courier service that uses Shiftboard to manage its 100 drivers. A nonprofit example is Bumbershoot, the big Labor Day music festival that is using Shiftboard to fill 2,000 volunteer positions.

Lhuillier said Shiftboard was used to filling even more shifts because the system is designed so that volunteers can change their shifts or swap with others.

Other features: The site allows coordinators to communicate quickly with workers. Alerts or last-minute tips, such as taking the bus because parking will be bad, may be sent by e-mail or text message.

Mantra: Shiftboard is not a calendar, it's a schedule.

"There's a fundamental difference there. A calendar is the way people visual things that are happening. Scheduling is the meat and potatoes of putting something on a calendar," Lhuillier said.

Statistics: The service has tens of thousands of end-users in 40 states. Shiftboard has experienced 900 percent growth in the number of sites it has added in the past year.

What's next?: If you go to www.shiftboard.com today, you won't see much unless you have a username and password. But Lhuillier said he looks forward to creating a destination that connects people to new jobs and events.

— Tricia Duryee

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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