One of my absolute favorite
duties as owner of ISI is to recognize tenured employees on their anniversary
date with the company whether it be 5, 10 or even 15 years (in one case). Long
term employee loyalty is rare these days and I have been deeply gratified and
humbled by the many ISI employees who have been with me over 5 years (which is more than 50% of the company).
This week, we recognized our Vice
President of Sales, Jeremy Johnson, who celebrated 10 years with the company on
February 9th. Jeremy has done a great job growing ISI revenue
as both a salesman (in Alabama and Kentucky) and as VP of Sales since 2010. In
fact, with Jeremy’s leadership, ISI recorded the best year in company history in
2011 with $25m in sales.
So it was highly appropriate
that we recognized Jeremy this past week for his hard work and significant
impact that he has achieved these past 10 years. But besides his
accomplishments since he has joined ISI, perhaps it was how ISI “found
“ and recruited Jeremy that may be even more interesting.
somewhere around 2004-2005 that I met Jeremy who was working at Comet
Cleaners (in Collierville near my house) paying his way through school at the
University of Memphis. While working at the dry cleaners may not have appeared
to be the most “glamorous” job at first glance, Jeremy made the most out of it
by using it to hone his customer service skills and establishing personal
relationships with a number of people (including my wife Maureen and me). Jeremy and I clicked from day one and had a number of common interests that we talked about but mostly we
connected on our mutual love for the University of Memphis Tigers.
Since Jeremy lived in the athletic dorm for several years, I was always privy
to getting the “latest scoop” on Tiger basketball, football etc. in our “drive
up” discussions at the cleaners. Jeremy’s engaging personality and positive
attitude made my visits to Comet Cleaners such a pleasant experience. Engaging
personality, positive attitude and a pleasant experience ? Sounded like a
salesman to me! And in 2006 (and today), I'm always on the lookout for good salespeople who could help build ISI’s revenue.
And the rest is history. Jeremy joined us a short time later and has been a great fit 10 years later. So what’s the message here?
As an entrepreneur, you have to do a lot of things to be successful which
includes creative employee recruiting and retention strategies. You
never know where you might find good people! I know 10 years later, I’m sure
glad I stopped by the dry cleaners and had all those conversations with
Jeremy. A great success story for sure!