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Gay and Ward Harrell

Abilities Unlimited, Inc. was founded in 1976 by Gay Harrell in Houston, Texas, in response to the shortage of competent placement agencies in the Greater Houston area. At the time, she was one of the only female-owned staffing agencies in the state of Texas. When the company was founded, Abilities’ primary industry was oil and gas with a focus on geologists and executives. Since then, while still working in the oil and gas industry, we have branched out to facilities and mechanical maintenance, construction, building operation, and manufacturing, among other things. Abilities’ does direct hire, temporary, temp-to-perm, and permanent placements as well as outsourced human resources and payroll.


We have been in continuous operation since opening our doors and are still family owned and operated. Gay’s daughter, Carla Lane, is the president and owner, and Carla’s son, Tony MacNeil, is the vice president.


We currently maintain certifications through the WBEA as a national female-owned business (WBE), multiple small business enterprise (SBE) certifications, as well as multiple state historically underutilized business (HUB) certifications. Abilities Unlimited is also certified by various government transportation organizations. We operate in multiple locations throughout Texas as well as in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and California.

Abilities Unlimited is set apart from other agencies because we realize that our greatest assets are our people. The foundation of our business is our amazing employees. From offering more than industry standard benefits to covering holidays and paid time off, we take care of our people. In every dealing with our employees, we realize that we are all a team. Great customer service starts with our people. We treat people with respect, we appreciate our customers, and we operate with integrity.

Our motto is, “A commitment to excellence.” Whenever a business decision is made, we ask ourselves if we can be doing something better. A reason for our success that we have never grown complacent with the operation. We are always striving to do better and to make constant improvement.


We have done business with a majority of our customers for more than 20 years. The reason our customers continue to use us is because we care about our people, our work, our reputation, and our legacy. Customers have many options when it comes to staffing agencies but people enjoy dealing with us. They appreciate that we deeply care about the work we perform and we take personal responsibility for both successes and failures.


We are a small family-owned business and we consider that a strength. We are able to move fast and adapt where larger companies cannot. There is not a long bureaucratic ladder to climb to get results; you can pick up the phone and reach someone who personally cares.

So give us a call! We look forward to starting a great relationship.

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