How long have you been with the company?
I first started with the company in 1996, just as I was heading into college. I say “first” because I decided in 1997 that was going to join the army, but I eventually ended up going back to school and then returning home after. I then again started as an entry-level operator with the company while I was still in college.
In early 1999, while still in school, my father passed away, and I made the decision to help my mother through this rough period. Around the same time, an opportunity for growth surfaced, a full-time supervisor position in our operations division. I interviewed for it with Joan [Harrell, now Director of Operations for Answering Service]. This position, which I got, started me on a new full-time path with the company, and that’s when I began to be given opportunities to learn more, contribute more and be more involved. As a great bonus, over the years, Joan has become like a second mother to me.
What happened next?
In 2005, I moved to Virginia from South Florida, where I’d lived until then. Back then, the whole concept of working from home was rare, so telecommuting didn’t occur to me as an option. I didn’t know I could work for the company from another state. So for about a year or so, I’d offer advice from afar, and help out when and if I could.
Then in early 2006, Michael [Shooster,co-CEO] approached me about coming back to working for the company and doing so from my home in Virginia. We were going through a period of enormous growth, and it seemed like great timing.
And since then?
I am totally focused on relationship management; my primary goal is to build our brand by sustaining strong client relationships. Client satisfaction and client retention – these are not just terms, they are our reason for doing what we do. They are at the heart and soul of our business. We want to build these relationships and deliver on what we promise. It’s important to me that we do all we can do to be responsive and caring, while still making constant innovation a priority. We want to focus on support and customer service, as well as systems and solutions. It’s all part of a package, of the bigger picture.
Like everyone within this company, I do much more than my title suggests. I run a group of support agents and system administrators; a team totally focused on building lasting relationships. I interact with and help influence many of our other teams (sales, operations, billing, marketing). It is so involved – and so much fun. One of the greatest things about working here is the level of trust we have for one another across the board.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I spend as much time as possible with my wife, Nicole, and our three children ages 1.5, 8 and 12. We also have a Golden Retriever, Nala. I do enjoy watching football and am a big NFL fan (Go 49ers!). We are still in Suffolk, Virginia, and the goal is to move back to South Florida this summer.
For me personally, it’s been such a fun ride. I’ve been under Michael’s wing for a long time, he really is a father figure and a role model for me. I have always been so appreciative of him and the rest of the Shooster family for the opportunities I have been given.
It’s been an evolution, and it is still changing to this day. No day is the same, it’s all very dynamic, and there is always something new to be learned and done. From a client standpoint, my mission is to continue to build strong relationships, to be attentive, to be caring and open-minded. From a solutions standpoint, I want to be as innovative and creative as possible with what we are offering.
There are so many possibilities, for myself, my team – and not to mention for our clients. Serving our clients is the focus of everything that we do. We want to be there for them in good times and in bad times. We do more than just manage data – we build and nurture relationships for the long-term; always refining and improving our processes and making sure that nothing slips through the cracks. Customer service is truly the essence of what I do, and it is at the heart of our business.