On Tuesday, February 19th, employees from our Vendor Relations department ventured out to New England to meet with some of Professional Retail Services’ (PRS) top vendors from Bridgeport, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts and in-between.
The tour was the first of many planned excursions that PRS is committed to making in connecting with our service partners on a closer level. We feel strongly about our partnerships and PRS has once again upped the game by sending representatives to meet face to face with some of these incredible service technicians. Our goal is to speak about challenges in the field, come up with solutions, get and give back feedback and nail down a strong team like atmosphere. So who exactly are our road warriors? Let’s take a brief look!
Joseph McLeer is a definite PRS Veteran. He has been with the company since our startup days in a long island basement. He has worked for the company on and off for approximately ten years as a service coordinator and eventually was crucial in starting the Vendor Relations (VR) department in early 2016. He overheard some of the conversations, saw some of the disconnects, as well as a series of differencing of opinion between each of our service members of the company when it comes to relations. He, alongside the directors of the company, put Vendor Relations in place allowing Joseph to run the new and crucial position.
Shortly after that, to solidify the department, they added David Lopez as McLeer’s right hand. David had previously joined PRS a year earlier as a service coordinator after he wanted a complete lifestyle change from working the other side and unforgiving hours of Retail. Bringing in his Customer Service expertise after 19 years of Store Manager Experience between KB Toys and GameStop, winning many awards and achievements in each respective company along the way, he was a natural choice to solidify the new and growing department one year later (2017).
On this initial New England trip, VR met with five different vendors on job sites, offices, over coffee, breakfast and lunch. They found many different incredible things about these men and women other than just being great service partners.
Eric (Fairfield, CT):
Our first stop was to meet Eric. Due to his time restraints, he had asked us to meet him at a job site where they were rebuilding the façade of the Embassy Suites hotel. Their business is approximately 10 years old and have been partners with PRS since 2014. Like us, he works with many different Facility Maintenance companies. Eric has a large network staff that includes multiple licensed technicians in all trades. He wanted us to know that in addition to servicing all of Connecticut and Westchester counties, he is now also taking jobs in southern Massachusetts. He mentioned he has already done some work in that area for our projects team so he is also opening that area for service. He mentioned that Corey has really been transitioned to the scheduling and service side of the business allowing himself to be on sites more and concentrate on bigger picture stuff for his company.
Eric does enjoy working with PRS, giving kudos to PRS employees Will and Nicole. He understands that we answer to our clients, but his goal is to always give us the best in pricing especially because of our great business relationship. Lastly, he thought that this travel was a great idea and loved the idea of putting a face behind the voices he speaks to. At this point we gave him his Vendor of the Month gift for December (a DeWalt tool bag with LED light) and he was beyond thrilled. He looks forward to future job opportunities with PRS!
Brian (East Hartford, CT):
We met Brian at a Starbucks in Rocky Hill, CT and had our meeting over coffee. Just a quick tid-bit about him, Brian is married with FIVE children. We started our visit by telling him that he had nothing but stellar reviews from our service department and he was exceptionally thrilled to hear that. He told us that the business originally was created by his father. As of right now it is himself and his brother taking the majority of his calls and his father also still active by a very part time basis. He works with many facility maintenance companies and retains 95% of his clients. He has now been running the business for 13 years this year and has been with us since 2013. He originally was a Vendor Relations manager at a major waste company in the New England area so we all had quite a bit in common. Brian attributes trust as being the most important aspect of any partnership so he is always upfront and honest with ETA’s, pricing, and anything else you need assistance from him on.
Brian said that he really enjoys working with PRS. He has always been treated well by our CSRs, supervisors, and has always been paid on time. He let us know that if he ever turned down a job with us it’s because there really was a major conflict. He is big on not turning away calls and at times will move things around to service us. Brian wanted us to know that we could 100% also use him as a resource. If we have a question on a lock job anywhere else in the country, he told us to reach out to him and he will help guide us through what needs to get done and reasonable pricing for whatever task it is. Brian was extremely personable and loved the face to face meeting with us saying that visits like what we did, really added a new dimension to the job and shows that PRS cares more than just work orders. He would love the opportunity to meet more of us.
Thomas, Jackie & Mike (Worcester, MA):
We then met with Thomas, Jackie, and Mike in their beautiful 4 roomed office complete with hardwood floors and conference room. Jackie (The voice behind the speaker phone) has been with the company for 11 years! Mike (Project Manager) the past 6 years or so. The company started out in 1994 and has been associated with PRS since 2005 when Frank was still with the company. The company continues to service a large area from most of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and even in some areas of Connecticut. They said that they have about a 215 mile radius currently. They currently have 15 technicians spread out through Massachusetts strategically and they are all licensed. They have also suggested that they are absolutely looking to expand their staff and are looking into expanding their areas.
Thomas, Jackie & Mike wanted us to know that their trucks are always well stocked with the majority of what is needed to get most jobs done. Their goal is to never waste time on a job going to get materials from suppliers or Home Depot stores and they can pull permits whenever it is needed. They also wanted us to know that they absolutely work on overhead doors, gates, and grilles as their company started as an overhead door company. They gave kudos to PRS employees Chris Davis, Jackie Miron and Amy Simmons. Jackie Ayuso also mentioned she visited PRS 5 years ago and would love to come back and see how we have expanded since then. Overall a very informative meeting and the whole Yankees/Red Sox digs took place in between points. I look forward to sending digs to Mike throughout the baseball season.
Rich (Chelmsford, MA)
Continuing our Vendor tour, next we met with Rich. A little bit about Rich, he lives in a small neighborhood where everybody knows everybody. He has 2 horses and a vast array of domesticated animals. He has been married to his wife for 30 years and work in the same building. Rich started in construction in the early to mid-80’s. He went into business for himself in 1989. Much like Brian’s company, we let Rich know that he had received outstanding marks with our service department and supervisors. He does a lot of work for PRS’s major clients. His service area includes Massachusetts, New Hampshire and even into Kittery, Maine if the job is big enough. Rich is a stickler for customer service which was great to hear. He said that when he represents PRS, he too is representing himself and there is no difference in the way he takes his professionalism on any job site. He was interested in a check in/out app that he could use on his phone to make life easier for himself and his techs. His personal theory is “Hey man, let’s face it. Work sucks as is, let’s work together in getting the job as quickly and efficiently as possible so that everyone is happy and everybody is paid.” We loved that.
He would love to one day come see more of the people he deals with on a day to day basis and would be totally into a PRS summit when we get that far. Rich gave kudos to PRS employees Dani (he loves Dani), Chris, Sunill, Will and Kathy. This was a great an informative meeting.
Ryan (Colchester, CT):
Our last stop was supposed to be with Ryan to give him Retail Mechanical Services’ (RMS) Vendor of the Month gift personally for Jenn McCoy. Unfortunately after much planning, Ryan had an emergency and could not make it. He did eventually send his office administrator Jenn to meet us in Colchester. Jenn has been with Ryan for about a year. She had told us that she was a long time waitress that had a baby so she found an office job with Ryan. Ryan’s HVAC company has been around almost 3 years now and they service all of Connecticut, areas in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Their office contains 3 people but their work force is quite large through New England. They also do electric work when it comes to HVAC, so if there is ever an electrical issue, they can handle it instead of dispatching to multiple technicians to get one job done. They work for many different Facility Maintenance Companies but said that RMS is one of their absolute favorites to work for. She mentioned RMS employee Danielle Palhares as being tough but fair and she enjoys working with her personally. She was very happy to hear that they were vendor of the month and accepted the gift (A Boston Bruins cooler bag and keychains) on behalf of Ryan.
“You deal with these people every week, sometimes every other day… I have spoken to people almost every day and never had a clue of what they look like, what their interests are, what drives them. It was pretty incredible that one vendor has five kids, another works in the same office as his wife for 30 years… It’s just incredible to learn about these great people and put a face behind the voices that help drive our business.” David said in retrospect of their visit.
With 2019 just recently being kicked off, the duo plan to do three more of these visits this year (1 per quarter) as they map out what areas would benefit from these visits the most — interested in meeting our top tier VR team? Want us to come to your town? Want to swing by our offices? Let us know at VendorRelations@profretail.com today, and we can see what we can do to make your request and reality!!