Russell Cellular Connections | Spring 2020

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How RC's new Home Office is setting the growing company up for success today, tomorrow and beyond.

REWARDINGLYREWARDING REWARDS By entering in the Otter Rewards Program, Russell Cellular team members have won trips to Disney Land, the X Games, as well as surďŹ ng lessons in San Diego.

Photos by TK Photographer

4125 Wilson Creek Marketplace Rd., Battlefield, MO 417-886-7542,

PRESIDENT & CEO Jeff Russell




Visit our social media sites to learn about the latest developments from Russell Cellular. And for the latest RC Cares news be sure to follow the main Russell Cellular feeds.








The new RC Home Office is finally here!

This is a big year for Nathan Mindeman, for

Just when you thought RC’s focus on lead-

The building opened for business in

the Jedi Hedgie and for RC in general. After

ership development couldn't deepen any




Battlefield, Missouri, in December 2019,

a record-breaking year in 2019 as sales goals

more, the company is rolling out new virtual

so it's time to peek inside and see what all

and growth metrics were blown away, Russell

training sessions and a focus on the acro-

the fuss is about. The meeting space, the

Cellular is ready for another 12 months of con-

nym—STCA, staffing, training, coaching and

puzzle room, the classroom and the ability

tinued growth. To get the full scope of what

accountability. Have questions? You're in

to now offer virtual education are just part

RC is looking forward to this year, we chat

luck. We have the answers for what this all

of the draw.

with CEO and head honcho Jeff Russell.

means for you.





When Kevin Ropell moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, he swore he’d do another Habitat Build with RC Cares. Now he has.

Ali Zaidi is crushing it with RC Cares.

Want to host your own RC Cares fundraiser? Derrick Davis has the tips you need for success.

The EEF is growing and more of you are contributing. Now it’s time to answer your questions.



5 / Q&A Jennifer Loghry is at the top of her game and sharing her wisdom about how she encourages her team and stays up to date on tech.

6 / HEDGIE'S HEROES It wasn’t stop, drop and roll, but Jeremy Miller saw fire and knew what to do next.

8 / WEEK IN THE LIFE Meet the head sensei leading RC’s operational ninjas. Kurt Reinhart shares how to live out RC’s four core values.

14 / DIGITAL AGE RC’s leadership development is going digital.

5 / BEATING THE ODDS Doctors didn’t think Breonia Crain would live through the night. She did much more with lots of help.



10 / T TIME We’ve talked O and V, now it’s time to chat about the value of T.

16 / GROWTH SPURT The RC Inventory Department has changed a lot since the day when two vans made daily deliveries.

Ali Ismail makes living a full and happy life look easy. His key to success? A focus on giving back and serving others.

33 / AWARDS TIME The numbers are in, the sales have been counted, and now it’s time to recognize RC’s top performers and long-time team members in print. Congrats to all!

Photos courtesy Russell Cellular, Brad Zweerink, Brandon Alms

BY THE NUMBERS Nathan Mindeman celebrates his 20th anniversary with Russell Cellular and looks back at what numbers hold the most meaning to him from the past two decades.


NEW ACTIVATIONS Nathan started on the RC sales team in Arkansas. At the time, the team had to sell six new activations each week to earn commission. Upgrades and family lines didn’t count. Only six new accounts a week qualified to achieve quota.



When Nathan joined RC, he was a teenager. Russell Cellular was starting to grow and only had 25 employees. Today, RC has more than 2,700 team members.

In December 2019, RC hit a new monthly sales record of 90,672 sales. What’s the big deal? The new record was a 10% increase from the old monthly sales record set the month before in November 2019!



RC crossed the 40 store mark when Nathan was a DSM in 2003. He was a DSM for five years and covered the northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma area. He had four to five stores in his district, which was the average for other DSMs at the time. Photos courtesy Russell Cellular and by Ettie Berneking



KYM As Jeff and I reflect on 2019 and our 2020 Vision, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Our team, under the motto #BetterTogether, worked hard to make 2019 our best year in company history and took our

of our RC family. Together we

company to the next level. Now

are making an impact on each

we see for certain that the say-

other, our business and our

ing is true that the higher you

communities. I am excited for

climb, the further you can see.

the upcoming year to see how

Our 2020 Vision is all about

the new Home Office provides

clarity and synchronicity. Every

opportunities to enhance our

cog in our complex machine

communication with each of

needs to work together to keep

you. And I hope as you read

each of us on track and give us

this issue, you have a sense of

the ability to go further than ever

pride for the company you’ve

before. It’s important to stay

helped build as well as the

true to our roots, remembering

new building that houses your

where we came from, and at

support team and serves as

the same time looking ahead to

a symbol of the quality busi-

where we can go together.

ness we have built. It is an

Not a day goes by that

honor to work with people

we are not on the journey to

committed to demonstrating

being better people creating

Integrity, Expertise, Initiative,

an even greater company. I

and Service every day.

am so very proud of every team member who is trying to live their best life with the encouragement and support

ON THE COVER Russell Cellular unveiled its new Home Office on December 3, 2019, in Battlefield, Missouri. The whole Home Office team gathered for the photo, which meant RC had to make room for 100+ people. The new 40,000-square-foot building is able to house all 15 in-house departments and has room to host company training sessions.





TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS For Kevin Ropell, RC is the perfect vehicle for giving back and breaking records while he’s at it. BY ETTIE BERNEKING Kevin Ropell—a Regional Director—has had a busy three years. He started with RC in 2017 as an RSM, moved from Georgia to San Diego a year later, helped launch 13 organic RC stores in the southern California region in 2019 and made PopSocket history that same year. So how did he pull it all off? It’s simple: He focused on building a region dedicated to giving back. When Kevin first slipped on his RC lanyard in 2017, he was managing stores in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. He had a highly


motivated team who was energized by the idea

Kevin Ropell is helping make history at RC. His region had the first Habitat build.

of getting involved in their local communities, and in 2018, one of Kevin’s store managers had an idea. He had a connection with someone at

He’s actually done a lot more than that.

Habitat For Humanity’s Chattanooga chapter,

Kevin already has three other Habitat builds

and he wanted RC to get involved with one

planned for 2020. “I wanted to create a region

of Habitat’s home builds. The store manager

dedicated to keeping it local and giving back,”

talked with DSM Jason Foster, who then ran the

he says. In the spirit of giving, his team picked

idea up to Kevin. “We knew we had to be all over

one charity this past December and dedicate

this,” Kevin says. “RC makes it easy to have a

Hedgie PopSocket sales to that organization.

social connection and give back because we’re

When one team member suggested Toys For

still small town USA, which is what I love about

Tots, the group said yes and got to work. By

the company.”

the end of December 2019, they had sold more

The build, which was RC’s first home

than 550 Hedgie PopSockets—beating the

build for Habitat For Humanity, happened in

record of most PopSockets sold in one month

Cleveland, Tennessee, in the summer of 2018. It

at RC—and presented Toys for Tots with a

was a huge success. Verizon’s leadership team

check for $8,400.

joined in, and it kicked off a series of builds in

“I don’t have a trick for pulling this off,” Kevin

other RC districts. It was a solid year for Kevin

says. “What I see as a best practice is having

and his region, but by that December, Kevin

store managers care enough to be consistent

was headed to San Diego.

with their pitch to customers.” It’s also crucial

Headed West, Kevin knew he had his work

to have buy-in from your team. “When I have a

cut out for him. RC had just launched in California

team that embraces giving back, it’s so much

through new acquisitions, and the company also

easier.” With his team on board, Kevin is now

planned to open 13 additional organic RC stores

experimenting with breaking up fundraising

under Kevin’s leadership. It was a big goal for

projects by districts instead of a regional push.

sure, but Kevin wanted to do more. He wanted

His goal is to pick local charities each district

to do another Habitat build—RC’s first in south-

can connect with. “It makes your heart feel so

ern California. “I promised Ron Wallace I would

good that you have so many people who want

do another build within the year,” Kevin says.

to give back and help out,” he says.



LESSONS LEARNED WHAT IS A MISCONCEPTION ABOUT HABITAT BUILDS? “People worry they’re hard to pull off. But it is so easy to put together a Habitat build. All you have to do is call your local chapter. Once they know you want to help them and be part of a build, within 24 hours they’re sending you all the dates available.” WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD TO WORK HERE? “Family is so important to this organization. Everyone cares so much, and a lot of companies have that check mark, but it’s not real. The culture at RC is real, and that matters. ” WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO IN YOUR FUTURE WITH RC? “Finding new ways to get my team involved in their local communities. Giving back has always been important to me, and RC gives me ways to continue that.” Photo by Brad Zweerink




Jennifer Loghry was

Breonia Crain wasn’t prepared to spend

RC’s top DSM at the

months in the hospital after a serious car

October Summit in

accident, but the Employee Emergency Fund

2019. We learned how

and the Russell Cellular family were there to

she continues to grow

help in her time of crisis.

and boost her team.


IN TIMES OF NEED While Breonia Crain recovered, colleague Brittany Robinson helped out.


Like most people, District Sales Manager Breonia Crain wasn’t planning for a disaster. It simply happened. Breonia was only 10 minutes from one of her stores RC CONNECTIONS: How does stress show up when her car was t-boned and rear endin your day-to-day life as a DSM? JENNIFER LOGHRY: I don’t stress often. ed. Breonia was flown to a hospital in Nashville where doctors told family and When I do, it is near the end of the month, and friends they didn’t think Breonia would live I fear not hitting or exceeding a goal. I manage through the night. District Sales Manager stress and self-care by being organized with my Brittany Robinson was at the hospital items that needed to be handled.” To pull calendar and my plan for the team. I also have with Breonia that night. “She’s more like this off, Brittany set aside time to check in amazing peers that let me vent and give me a sister to me than a peer,” Brittany says. with leaders from Breonia’s team, and she perspective when needed. “This night was one of no sleep and a lot of stayed active on group chats at all times. praying. The doctors told us at one point “If it wasn’t something that only I could do, RC: As a top performer, what methods do you there was nothing else they could do due I delegated it to her leaders and followed use to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the amount of blood she lost. Her mom, up,” she says. “This not only helped to to technology? our Regional Director Mike Frost, two of develop them as leaders and prepare J.L.: Embrace change! It’s always a constant in her store managers (Ashley and Raquel) them for future opportunities, but it also this business, so stay on top of it. I utilize social and myself sat in the family waiting room helped us maintain items and ensure they media and subscribe to multiple newsletters. all day and night praying, sharing stories were completed in a timely manner.” and memories, crying, and praying some In addition to support from Brittany RC: Tell us a little more about your personal more. It was a miracle she pulled through.” and her team, Breonia got a helping hand development practices. As a result of the car accident, Breonia from RC’s EEF. The Employee Emergency J.L.: Consistency is the key! Development is a Fund helped cover some of Breonia’s process, and it happens slowly and deliberately. suffered a shattered pelvis, a broken left I also rely on my mentors and a few of my peers. ankle, a broken rib, a lacerated liver, a bro- medical bills. Not surprisingly, Brittany also ken hip, a broken coccyx and a fractured stepped up with other RC team members I learn from them often, and they push me to spine. It took her three-months to recover. and raised an additional $10,000 to help always be my best. While she was gone, Breonia’s team, which Breonia get back on her feet. includes RC stores in west Tennessee and “I felt nothing but love from the comRC: What was your top goal for 2019? southwest Kentucky, turned to Brittany for pany,” Breonia says. “I will never be able J.L.: Top goal in 2019 was to be the No. 1 support. Brittany manages the northeast to thank or repay Brittany enough. There DSM for Russell Cellular, and we earned that in Mississippi district, which means it took were so many others within the company October. I’m so proud of my team for that! her two hours to get to Breonia’s nearest that reached out. This company really is a location. Without worrying how she would family to me, and I felt nothing less than RC: What are your new goals for 2020? get everything done, Brittany was ready love and support.” She and Brittany have J.L.: I hope to be stretched within my role and to help in any way possible. “Brittany and continued to give to the EEF because of gain a few more stores in my market. My goal my leaders communicated performance,” the experience and encourage others to is to get a store manager or two in my district Breonia says. “We would talk through do the same. promoted up to the next level. HAMMER

Photos courtesy Brittany Robinson and by Brad Zweerink





INSPIRED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE Inspired to take part in RC Cares, Ali Zaidi decided to gather his team and host a fundraiser for a family in need. BY PEYSON SHIELDS Last year was a good year for Ali Zaidi but not just because of his sales. Last year was the first time Ali spearheaded his own RC Cares fundraiser, and the result was powerful. Ali joined the RC family through a recent acquisition. He previously served as Market Director with The Wireless Center, but once he came on with RC, he became a Regional Director of Sales. As he finished his new-hire training and settled into the RC culture, he found himself inspired by the RC Cares mission and began looking into his Virginia-area community to see where his RC team could

TEAM LEADER When Ali Zaidi joined RC, he didn't let his short tenure keep him from getting involved. Inspired to give back, he started his own RC Cares fundraiser and helped a community member in need.

make a difference. “We found several different families in

live normal lives. The diagnosis and treatment

will to get better and dance it out made a

need,” Ali says, “but decided the children’s

stages are often the hardest, which is why Ali

positive impact on Obadiah’s recovery, but

hospital had the most compelling stories.”

and his team wanted to help. When Obadiah

unfortunately the medical costs took a toll on

One of those stories was that of 3-year-old

was just 18 months old, he and his family

the family. “They were in dire need of financial

Obadiah, who was diagnosed with a Wilms

were frequent visitors at Children’s Hospital

help,” Ali says. “We knew this would be an

tumor. “It was important for us to help them

of Richmond at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth

important cause that we could help with.”

because their story was real,” Ali says.

University). Between all the surgeries and

“Russell Cellular provided us with the

While rare, Wilms tumors—a form of

weekly chemotherapy, Obadiah’s parents

PopSockets, the green light to use proceeds

kidney cancer—are treatable, and children

supported him through his illness the best

for this cause and the help and support

diagnosed with Wilms tumors often go on to

way they knew how—with dance parties. His

needed to get the job done,” Ali says. “It’s

HEDGIE’S HEROES FIRED UP TO HELP When District Sales Manager Jeremy Miller saw smoke and roadblocks one day in November 2019, in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, he didn’t look away. A local family lost their home, and that night Miller decided to plan a cookout to raise money to help them. He also asked area businesses for donations and relied on RC team members including Colby Bartlett to help. “Colby went to every business in

SPOTTING A NEED DSM Jeremy Miller saw a local family in need and found a way to help out.



town telling them what we were doing,” Miller says. BY MARY ELLEN CHILES

THE NEED The fire Jeremy Miller saw was the same one that destroyed Mike and Heather Bingaham’s family home. Even their car was eaten up in the fire. “They lost everything,” Jeremy says. “They got out with their pajamas on.” Mike, who owned a tool sales company in town, lost his company car in the blaze, and the kids, Julius, 14, Mikey, 10, and Adaline, 4 months, lost their toys and clothes. In a matter of hours, the Bingaham family's home and sense of normalcy was ripped away. Luckily, the Mill Hall community was ready to help out, and Jeremy saw a chance to put the RC Cares initiative to use. Photos by Brad Zweerink



HELPING HAND (Left to right) Ann Taylor, Sarah Irby with Richmond Children’s Hospital, Heather Reese and Ali Zaidi presented Obadiah and his family with a check for the funds they raised.

an amazing feeling to have these initiatives. It adds a bigger purpose to the job we do day

leader, Ali encouraged his team so they

in and day out.”

could help Obadiah’s family. Keeping that

With nearly 650 stores, RC has a place in communities across the country, and


Inspired by the current PopSocket sales

cause at the forefront was key to Ali’s suc-

Here's a snapshot of how Ali and his team pulled off their fundraiser and the numbers they ended up with.

cess. He posted videos about Obadiah on

those stores can make a difference. Thanks

his team’s group chat and spoke about it

to RC Cares, these stores are more than

during meetings and conference calls.

brick-and-mortar places of work. Each

“The credit really goes to RC Cares for

store can actually impact and improve the

creating this vehicle and to the RC team for

communities in which they’re located. “It

getting behind it,” says Ali, who donated

shows the team members that what we do

the funds generated by PopSocket sales

here is bigger than just what we get out of

to directly help with Obadiah’s medical

it,” Ali says. “That’s a great backbone to

bills. “The impact this family felt from the

build off of, and it shows the customers in

assistance we provided gave them hope,”

our community that we care about them

he says. “At the end of the day, that’s what

and their well-being.”

matters the most.”


weeks of planning and preparation





Jeremy says he thought of Ron Wallace, Director of RC Cares. “Ron sends out messages that inspire me,” Jeremy says. “It made me think, ‘What can I do to help?’” Because the fire occurred in November, Jeremy wanted to make sure the Millers and their kids could still enjoy the holiday season despite the tragedy. “We really wanted to make sure they had things for Christmas and money before Black Friday, so their money would go further,” he says.

To help out, Jeremy and his team hosted a fundraiser. “We were offering a hot dog, burger, bottle of water and chips for $8,” he says, but people insisted on paying more. “People were giving us $50 cash for a hot dog.” The cookout was a success and the team raised nearly $2,700, and Jeremy collected an additional $300 in gift cards from local stores. On top of that, one local store donated a $1,000 gift certificate for a queen-sized bed and box springs.

For now, the Bingaham family lives in a house provided by their insurance, but they already feel more at home. “They said before the fire happened they contemplated moving to a town 20 minutes away, but after this, they decided they are never leaving this area,” Miller says. “They didn’t expect help to come from our store. They were pleasantly surprised.” That might be an understatement. Mike Bingaham says the family received an outpouring of support,

Photo courtesy Heather Reese


PopSockets sold

raised for Obadiah

and says it was more than a pleasant surprise. It was a blessing. “We had such a terrible event happen in our life,” he says. “We cannot thank the people at the Mill Hall store enough. We were just so surprised. Jeremy and I worked together a few years ago when I created my business phone account. Jeremy and the rest of the team at that store have been absolutely amazing to my family. We cannot say thank you enough to all of them.”






If you ask what a normal work week looks like at the Solution Center at RC’s Home Office, manager Lea Christian won’t have an answer for you. That’s because there is no normal work week here. Lea and her 15-person team handle every customer or sales team call that comes in. If a team member has a question—at any of RC’s 650 stores—that call gets answered by Lea and her crew who have one primary goal— offer the best experience to every team member with every call. The team’s ability to problem solve and push ahead under often intense pressure is why Kym Russell says this team is lovingly referred to as the “operational ninjas.”

MONDAY Lea’s work week begins each Monday and ends on Friday, but her team is available seven days a week. When she returns to the office Monday morning, Lea starts her day the same as she does almost every other day—by running call reporting. “We log every single phone call,” she says. “We run the reporting to see why people called in, where coaching opportunities are and to make sure my team is providing the best experience.” The call reporting gives Lea helpful information she can use within her own team, but it also gives her data DSMs and RDs can use out in the field. The reports identify why a team member is calling in, which can help managers identify training needs, especially when new devices are being launched.

TUESDAY Whenever she has time, Lea walks the room. This gives her a chance to observe her team at work and help out if anything pops up. Her crew of 15 people take calls from RC’s stores across the nation. On average, these operational ninjas help with 600 calls a day, and each call clocks in around 3 minutes. Lea uses call reporting to alert her to calls that are lasting too long. “We make sure we’re handling calls in a timely manner,” she says.

WEDNESDAY With an ongoing flood of sales calls coming into the department, it’s not easy to gather everyone for a weekly meeting. So to update her team about new sales or product launches they should know about in order to help the sales team, Lea communicates company updates to her crew via email. She also uses one-on-one meetings to provide coaching.

THURSDAY Since moving into the new Home Office, Lea and her operational ninjas have a lot more legroom to enjoy, and she’s prepped the new office space to accommodate possible growth in her department. Before moving to the new building, the Solution Center team was crammed into a small office that barely fit the 10 cubicles they needed. “There was barely 4 feet between cubicles,” Lea remembers. “And as our team grew, we had to start moving cubicles into the hallway. When managers come to the home office to train, they’re always amazed at what we do with just 15 people. They expect to find a huge call center.” The Solution Center is actually relatively new for RC. RC leadership approached Lea with the idea of creating an in-house customer support team back in 2014. “They handed me



HEAD SENSEI Lea Christian leads RC’s Solution Center. Her team is called the operational ninjas.

a key to an empty room and told me to make it what I want,” she says. “I have a lot of pride for this department.”

FRIDAY As her team continues to grow, Lea plans on adding a new training element into her routine. Starting this year, she will take her ninjas out in the field to visit RC stores in order to get a better idea of the issues and questions the sales team needs help with when they call in. It’s been a while since Lea was on the sales side, but it’s how she got her start at Russell Cellular in 2007. She knows sales can be tough and says she’s had those days when customers yell and throw things. That’s why she wants her team to see the RC sales crew in action. Her hope is that by seeing a sale in real life, her team will be better prepared to help a team member in the future. It’s all about training her operational ninjas to work their magic and be the best support for the sales team. Photos by Brandon Alms

At Russell Cellular, we know life happens. Emergency situations can arise beyond our control that create unexpected financial hardships.

RC EMPLOYEE EMERGENCY FUND Qualifying circumstances include natural disaster, funeral costs, fire loss, acute medical illness, and more. The EEF provides financial assistance for you and your immediate family. Qualifying Team Members can receive up to $500 per occurrence.

For more information about the EEF, how to apply and donate, and for further qualifications and restrictions, visit or email



T TIME No, it’s not time to hit the fairway. It’s time to talk about the T in OVT with Executive Vice President of Sales Daniel Hyder. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

Back when Jeff Russell, Daniel Hyder and the rest of the RC executive team were brainstorming how the company could get back to the basics of what it did best, what they came up with was OVT. This might be the most used acronym in all of RC’s terminology. It defines the company’s core focuses and culture—It’s a big role for a three-word phrase. The acronym OVT stands for opportunity, value and team. Opportunity is about the growth everyone on the RC team can achieve person-

TALKING OVT T in OVT stands for team, and Daniel Hyder knows it’s an important part of RC’s core focus.

ally and professionally. Value is about how RC values team members, their time and their work and how it encourages team members to value


needs on a day-to-day basis. That’s why RC

each other. Then there’s the T in OVT.

Okay, let’s be real. RC is in the business of sales.

pushed leadership development hard in 2019

How do you define what team means when

If the team doesn’t sell devices, plans or acces-

and isn’t lessening the pressure in 2020. “The

your team includes 2,700 players across 37

sories, there’s not much future for the company.

key difference this year will be how we tap into

states? Well, if you’re Daniel Hyder, you see it

But RC has learned over the years that in or-

virtual learning,” Daniel says. “Our new Home

as a really large athletic department. “You have

der to get the most sales from its team, it has

Office has the capabilities to connect our teams

your Home Office team, your store teams, your

to invest in and support that team. That’s why

across the country, and we’re looking to help

regional teams and your district teams,” he says.

the company is investing in new virtual training

people grow and develop professionally and

“We are basically a team sport here. We all win

sessions and beefing up the support for the op-

personally through these lessons.”

together, and sometimes we lose together. But

erational ninjas—Kym’s nickname for the hard-

we’re all pulling for one another.”

working crew in the Solution Center. (Turn to p.


8 to see what a regular week looks like for the

On average, each district within RC includes six

RC ninjas.)

stores. That’s six groups of people who have

With such a large team, making sure things are going well can be tricky. Communication is key. “It is a constant conversation,” Daniel says.

Supporting the team that works on the front

their own best practices and advice. And that,

Store managers and department managers car-

line is a primary focus for RC, and supporting

as Daniel sees it, is a gold mine. “Each DSM has

ry out that conversation through one-on-one re-

stores in 37 states is far from easy. “I think first

the ability to pull those teams together and have

views, performance reports and in-person train-

and foremost, store managers have to realize

them share their experiences,” he says. Uniting

ing. Department and store managers are being

they have support,” Daniel says. “All of us are

people and giving them a chance to share their

trained on how to have more effective conver-

there to support them as they learn and devel-

expertise and struggles can encourage every-

sations with their team. And if team members

op as leaders. We’re there to provide them the

one to collaborate, support each other and, you

need somewhere else to vent, sing someone’s

training and tools they need to lead their team.”

guessed it, perform as a team. “People want

praise or offer suggestions, there are employee

Leading a store is hard work. Actually, Daniel

to do more than just earn a paycheck,” Daniel

surveys and the RC anonymous hotline. “You

says it might be the hardest job in the compa-

says. “They want to connect to something big-

have to listen,” Daniel says. “Sometimes you

ny. Store managers have to balance operations

ger. They want to connect to their community

can see things for yourself, but you also have to

and customer service. They have to prob-

and to other team members, and we can help

listen to how people feel.”

lem-solve on the fly and identify their team’s

them do that.”



Photo by Brad Zweerink



COMMITTED TO COMMUNITY Think you need to be a seasoned RC team member to kick start an RC Cares project of your own? Think again. BY JENNIFER ADAMSON Have you ever considered that while you’re tending to the needs of your customers, there are others outside your store who also need help? Maybe it’s a classroom that needs takehome snacks for underprivileged kids or maybe it’s a family that has fallen on hard times. Helping the communities it serves has long been a goal for RC, which is why it launched RC Cares. The department focuses on giving and community connection, and you don’t have to be a longtime RC team member to make a difference with an RC Cares project. Derrick Davis manages the RC store in Moab, Utah, and he was

UNITED TO HEAL Derrick Davis and Kayla Hawkins, Raeme Clark, Nic Jones, Janine Wilson, raised money through an RC Cares fundraiser to help a local family during a time of need.

relatively new to the company when he started an RC Cares fundraiser. Now he shares advice

ing he was born with half a heart. “He has spent

on how you can jump right in, too.

four years of life in and out of the hospital and is now on the heart transplant list,” Derrick says.


“He is a brave little boy and such a fighter.”

Through RC Cares, team members suggest a

To help Carter, Derrick and his team came

charity, person or event and launch a fundraiser

up with a fundraiser. The Moab store raised

to support it. Each month, 100% of the profits

funds throughout January and February to help

from the sale of Hedgie’s Hometown Heroes

cover Carter’s expenses as he waits for a heart

PopSockets are donated to approved projects.

transplant. “Our goal was to sell 65 Hedgie

“It’s cool to work for a company that wants to

PopSockets or raise $1,000,” Derrick says.

reach out and help,” Derrick says. “People buy phones from us because they know we care.”

HEARTFELT Carter was born with a heart defect and is now waiting for a heart transplant.

MAKE AN IMPACT Derrick’s idea worked and his store surpassed



its goal and achieved a total of $1,673.40 for

When Derrick joined the team, he didn’t realize

Carter. Derrick says the key to their success

Here's a snapshot of how Derrick and his team beat their goal of selling 65 Hedgie PopSockets during their fundraiser for Carter.

how much emphasis RC places on helping oth-

was tapping into a cause the community cared

ers until he attended a training session about

about. “You have to find something that hits

the company’s culture. “Once I learned about

close to home and bring attention to it,” he says.

RC and knew everyone supported each other,

To raise awareness of a fundraiser, Ron Wallace

it made it so much easier to reach out to the

and the RC Cares department are ready to

community,” he says.

help. “You’re never doing this alone,” Ron says. His team helps design flyers and social media


126 PopSockets sold

graphics, so stores can make sure team mem-

Each month, store managers vet fundraising

bers ask every customer if they would like to

opportunities. The project Derrick had in mind

purchase an RC Cares PopSocket. “It’s truly an

involved a 4-year-old boy named Carter who

amazing feeling to help someone and the com-

has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome—mean-

munity,” he says. “It makes a world of difference.”

Photos courtesy Russell Cellular


months spent fundraising

$1,673.40 raised for Carter





NAVIGATE WITH PURPOSE Turns out finding professional success ties into discovering personal growth. The key to both: purpose. BY PEYSON SHIELDS Kurt Reinhart is a passionate and enthusiastic person. That might come from his zest for life as a cancer survivor, his experience running his own consulting company in the leadership development space prior to joining Russell Cellular or that he has an opportunity to talk about what drove him here. RC CEO Jeff Russell’s mission to invest in personal development so people can do their job with a sense of purpose served as a catalyst for Kurt joining the team full-time in May 2017 as Director of L&D. Having a purpose is what drives it all for Kurt. To support Jeff’s mission, Kurt knew RC needed to give its people more than just a job—

same way, so talk with team members to understand how they see this core value. This will

having the hunger to be the best at anything

help you go forward together as one RC family.

and having the hunger to figure it out even

they needed a purpose. “Our goal is to provide the best wireless experience to every custom-

Real Life Practice: Having initiative is about

when you don’t know the answer. Taking ini-


tiative could present itself in a new RC Cares

er, every time,” he says. “Whether you are with

Summary: Technology and devices are con-

fundraiser, it could be in taking on more device

a customer in the store or in your community,

stantly changing in the wireless industry, which

training or setting daily goals to do something a

these are choices in how we conduct ourselves

is why it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest

little better than the day before.

personally and professionally.”

training. Having expertise means staying curi-

Kurt’s Tip: Create space in your life to say yes

With that in mind, Kurt and the RC lead-

ous and working on daily training.

to opportunities and see what happens next.

ership team nailed down four core values that

Real Life Practice: This is the core of Russell

If you’re always second-guessing yourself or

serve as the backbone for Russell Cellular and

Cellular. In order to provide the best customer

waiting for a new opportunity to arise, you’ll

empower its team to provide their best while at

service every time, we need to understand the

miss out on the unexpected.

work and at home.

devices we offer and how they can improve our customers’ lives. This is where being part of a



team can help. Maybe someone at your store is

Summary: Embracing opportunities to provide

Summary: Doing the right thing even when no

really into 5G or knows ways to use a tablet you

your best work.

one is watching.

haven’t thought of. Foster a collaborative envi-

Real Life Practice: Providing service should be

Real Life Practice: Establishing what integrity

ronment, so your team can share knowledge.

a daily goal for all RC team members. Maybe

means to you personally can guide you through

Kurt’s Tip: Go into every day with the mindset

you hold the door open for someone or bring in

complicated situations when the right answer

that you’re ready to learn. That sounds simple,

a coffee to someone who’s having a hard day, or

isn’t always black and white. Maybe integrity

but what it really means is you have to slow

maybe you find a way to help a customer that

means helping others. Maybe it means giving

down to make sure you understand what is be-

goes beyond what’s expected.

100% even on an off day. Whatever it is, think

ing said instead of focusing on your response.

through what integrity means to you and how

Kurt’s Tip: Helping others is part of RC’s core mission. It’s why the company has RC Cares

you can live that every day.


and the EEF, but service can also be through

Kurt’s Tip: Integrity is a belief system that helps

Summary: The ability to roll up your sleeves and

small tasks that help others. Whatever it is, find

you live out who you are and be transparent and

get a task done even when you’re not asked

little ways to be of service to customers and RC

authentic. Not everyone defines integrity the

to do so.

team members.



Illustration by Alex Wolken

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LEADING THE CHARGE Kurt Reinhart is helping take Quest leadership development to the next level with virtual learning.



RC’s leadership development is going

Kurt Reinhart is passionate about devel-

digital thanks to a new virtual classroom.

oping Russell Cellular team members into

leadership.” Kurt’s mindset is straightfor-


strong leaders. But that doesn’t mean they

ward: “My main leadership driving motto is


abilities, and knowledge that go alongside

should all look the same. “Everyone, I feel,

leadership is not just what you do, it's who

has a propensity to be a leader when they

you are. So, a lot of leadership, the abili-

start to realize who they are and who they

ty to embrace your leadership, is to look in

are becoming,” he says. “If you can em-

the mirror. I call it a mirror moment. It's just

brace that, and you can own that authenti-

self-discovery: What are your strengths?

cally, then you can start to develop the skills,

What are your opportunities?” Photo by Brad Zweerink



As RC heads into 2020, Kurt is taking that mirror moment and reconstructing how leadership is delivered. Quest, a leadership development program officially delivered last year to every Store Manager in a faceto-face classroom, is now moving into a virtual classroom. This has been a challenge for Kurt for many years.


In 2017, shortly before joining RC, Kurt began considering how to deliver bite-sized

Kurt feels embracing a chunked virtual

digital learning in his own consulting busi-

learning experience can contribute some-

ness. He started with 3- to 4-minute videos

thing new to an already successful orga-

delivered to his audience on social media

nization. “There’s a lot of skills training in

platforms including LinkedIn and Facebook.

sales and operations,” he says. “We need

Topics focused on achieving both personal

to create an effective, easy to use platform

and professional growth and talked about

to reach our team members. A platform that

character traits such as empathy and re-

can help us with the speed of learning and

spect. The clips included a call to action, so

the vast geographical realities we face as a

viewers could practice what they had just

growing organization.”

learned. When Kurt joined RC in May 2017,

RC is already good at delivering mean-

he continued making these videos and in-

ingful training, he says, but the new virtu-

corporated them into the training he was

al learning will make these trainings even

LIFE LESSONS DSM Taylor Belcher was able to use lessons she learned through Quest to help her team in Springfield.

doing with RC team members. But as more

more impactful. “We want to amplify our

names. As her team mastered each con-

of his time was dedicated to developing

ability to do what we do really well by shar-

cept, Taylor added something new. She

RC’s Quest workshops, less of his time was

ing best practices and talking about how we

says providing specific expectations and

spent brainstorming and creating his bite-

behave culturally and how we behave as a

breaking skills into small pieces has helped

sized video lessons.

team,” Kurt says. Kurt’s blended strategy

motivate team members and keep them

involves daily quotes, video blogs, higher

from feeling overwhelmed. “I have a toddler.

saw an opportunity to help others discover

level leadership development, home office

I can’t throw 20 things on his plate and ex-

their potential in a broader and more blend-

engagement and taking Quest virtual. “This

pect him to get it done,” she says. “It’s the

ed approach at RC.

approach of not relying on any one delivery

same for our teams. When I’m coming into

mode allows us to touch more family mem-

the store, they need to understand what I’m

thinking about leadership,” he says. “What

bers. I believe in this wholeheartedly. I’ve

asking them to do. I need to demonstrate

the Quest training ended up turning into

seen it impact others,” he says.

what to do and then have them go out there

It was actually through Quest that Kurt

“I feel like Quest stimulates people’s

was more than just leadership development.

Taylor Belcher, a District Sales Manager

People were taking this on and saying, ‘This

based in Springfield, Missouri, says the

and do it.” Lessons like this are exactly what Kurt

helps me with my family. This helps me with

RC Quest training programs have been

hopes to capture in his new chunked-learn-

my kids. This helps me with other aspects

eye-opening for her. Before taking part in

ing virtual direction that team members can

of my life.’” As RC continued growing, Kurt

RC Quest, Taylor says she used to coach

find online. It’s all about digestible content

and Herbie Upshaw also saw the immense

everyone the same way, but it wasn’t

that focuses on one leadership tip at a time.

challenge of providing these new learning

working, “I was failing tremendously, and

Small changes can make big impacts, and

opportunities amidst team member turn-

I couldn't figure out why,” she says. “But

Kurt’s not just hopeful about this, he’s seen it succeed first-hand.

over, onboarding and succession planning.

you cannot talk to everybody the same. You

There was so much going on, it was some-

can't coach them the same. You have to get

times hard to take time to focus on training.

to know your people.”

To overcome some of those hurdles, Kurt

Taylor started by identifying basic skills

and Herbie turned to those digital lessons

like how to greet customers as they entered

Kurt produced before he joined RC.

the store—by standing up and exchanging

Photos courtesy Russell Cellular

LEARN MORE To find more content from Kurt, head to RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM






GROWTH SPURT Each issue, we take a look at the numbers to celebrate Russell Cellular’s growth and get a better idea of what’s driving the company forward. This issue, VP of Operations Jeven Russell shares an inside look at the RC Inventory Department. BY ETTIE BERNEKING



When Jeven started in inventory, RC deliv-

The Inventory Departments are made up of

ered every device and office supply stores

three teams: Inventory Operations, Inventory

needed weekly with two vans. RC shipped

Purchasing and Inventory Shipping & Receiving.

devices in the same boxes as office sup-

Inventory Operations makes sure the inven-

plies. “I can’t tell you how many times I’d

tory count is accurate and oversees logistics

have boxes come back because toilet bowl

of inbound and outbound orders. It’s also the

cleaner would spill on new phones and

first point of contact for inquiries about device

ruin them,” he says. Today, the Inventory

availability. Inventory Purchasing secures inven-

Department has devices shipped from a

tory for a launch and orders product daily. The

distributor directly to RC stores, and as

Inventory Shipping & Receiving team re-distrib-

for those office supplies—those are now

utes excess inventory.

shipped from Staples.




There are 18 people in the Inventory


Department. Fun fact, Jeven started his career

On average, the Inventory Shipping &

at RC in Inventory more than 11 years ago.

Receiving team has 10,000-plus items each month sent to the Home Office and


then shipped out to stores that are low on inventory. “Our average cost of a device is $750,” Jeven says. “If a store is sitting on


a three-month supply, we could pull back

RC had 244 device types in October 2019.

two months worth of devices and sell it

Two years ago, RC had 158. “Our stores are

faster at stores that are short on product.

experiencing huge growth in inventory,” Jeven

We can free up those dollars a lot quicker

says. “Stores have to manage more products

by doing this.”

today and be aware of more options.”

INBOX Each issue, we answer your

RC: How has the EEF grown?

ural disaster, fire, funeral costs

burning questions. Whether

Ron Wallace: In 2019, RC folks

for spouse or immediate family,

you’re looking for advice on how

contributed $25,686. In 2018,

being a victim of a crime caus-

to improve customer satisfaction



ing financial hardship and acute

or want to learn about ways to

That’s a lot of growth! Another

illness of self or immediate family.

give back to your community,

cool thing is in 2017, less than

we’ve got answers. This issue,

3% of our team donated to the

RC: Do you have to work at RC

we turned to Director of RC

EEF. In 2019, 17% donated.

for a certain amount of time be-



fore you can use the EEF?

Cares Ron Wallace to hear about how the EEF is growing and


RC: How can funds be used?

R.W.: Team members have to be

helping RC team members.

R.W.: The qualifying situations

employed with us for 90 days to


for EEF assistance include nat-

qualify for EEF benefits.


Photo by Brad Zweerink



the rise of slider phones with the quick release

Inventory Purchasing team work with devel-

Blackberry! The idea of sending and receiving

opers like Apple and Samsung to learn which

emails from your cellphone seemed revolution-

devices are coming down the pipeline. If it’s

ary. Then Apple changed everything.

a new smartphone or a new watch, the RC

The first iPhone launched in June 2007, and

Purchasing team can look back at how similar

with that, smartphones took over. Since then,

product launches have gone. Did they sell out of

Apple has released 24 iPhone models from

inventory faster than expected? Did certain RC

the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 11 Pro. As smart-

regions or stores sell more of that product than

phones became more intertwined in consum-

other stores? Did a product sell slower than ex-

ers’ everyday lives, major developers including

pected? The more info the team has, the better

Apple, Samsung, LG and Motorola started plan-

it can prepare for an upcoming launch.

ning annual device releases. Apple and Samsung—the two biggest

FORECASTING MARKET TRENDS When it comes to product launches, the Inventory team knows it has to look back in time in order to forecast the future. BY ETTIE BERNEKING

To hit the sweet spot, Andrew and the

keyboard. Then the Blackberry arrived. Oh the

Outside the big three launches, Andrew and his team have to prepare for smaller one-off

players—release new devices each year.

launches. Motorola’s new Razr device is a great

“Historically, Apple unveils a new product each

example. News of the return of the popular Razr

September, and Samsung has two releases

was announced in November of 2019. The

each year,” says Russell Cellular Director of

launch was scheduled for mid-January 2020,

Inventory Andrew Howe. “We speculate and

but Motorola pushed the release date back

assume Samsung does a new release in March

until February 6, 2020. “The Razr was one of

and releases the latest Note device in August.

the top-selling flip phones,” Andrew says. “But

We all anticipate these launches are coming

that phone was popular more than 10 years

and can plan around them.”

ago.” Still, Andrew says he could see the draw

In order to prepare for a new launch,

of bringing back the iconic Razr with its sleek

Andrew and the Inventory Department have to

design. “It’s a fully functional Android device,” he

do as much forecasting as possible. Their goal

says. “A lot of these launches are driven by mar-

is to order just enough product that RC stores

ket demand.” So while there are undoubtedly

have inventory on hand for a new release but

eager consumers clambering to get their hands

your pocket and think back to the first time

not so much inventory that product sits on store

on a throwback like the Razr, the iPhone and

you saw a cellphone. Was it in the early 2000s

shelves for more than a month. “We have to walk

Galaxy devices still sit at the top, and the bigger

when Nokia’s brick of a 5110 was all the rage?

a fine line,” says Jeven Russell, Vice President of

the screens the better. Sorry Nokia! It’s not you.

It made calls and let you play Snake, and it was

Operations. “We can’t have too much inventory

It’s us, and we want the biggest screen possible

all anyone needed or wanted. Then there was

because that ties up our cash flow.”

if we’re going to be playing Snake.

Forget the iPhone that’s phantom buzzing in

RC: Is the EEF confidential?

so I thought it best if he helped

RC: How much do you have to

member gave at least $1 a pay-

R.W.: Yes! When a team mem-

answer this question. Here’s

contribute to the EEF?

check? That would add up to ap-

ber sends in the application, of

what he said, “Jeff and Kym have

R.W.: Any amount helps! Even

proximately $62,400 a year, and

course the RC Cares team sees

always gone out of their way to

$1 each paycheck, which is only

we could do so much more.

it, but before it is sent to payroll to

help someone in need. Over

$2 a month, adds up when we

have the funds disbursed, we re-

time, they realized that for every-

are all investing together. This is

move any information pertaining

one they helped there were oth-

a very important focus for us as

to the reason for application.

ers whom they were not helping.

we promote this program. Every

Thus, the EEF was launched in

dollar matters! For instance, if

RC: How did the EEF start?

2013. Team members now have

you look at our numbers and

R.W.: It was Robert Lister who

peace of mind they can get help

how much they’ve grown, it’s

initially helped start this program,

when needed.”

awesome. But what if every team

Photo courtesy of Verizon

YOU’VE GOT MAIL Have a question you’d like us to answer? Send your inquiries to RCconnections@ RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM


WELCOME HOME When the RC Executive Team first launched the idea to build a new Home Office, it started as a way to bring Russell Cellular’s entire national support team under one roof again. By the time the building was unveiled in December 2019, the new building did a lot more than unify the different departments. BY PEYSON SHIELDS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON ALMS

This was the first thing

of Springfield where land was cheaper and

I picked out,” says Kym

abundant. Once the plot was purchased,

in was a monumental day for me,” Nicole

Russell, pointing up to the

blueprints followed. Kym and Nicole worked

says. While the Home Office houses the

“The day we moved the last department

artful waves of chrome and LED lights

closely on every aspect of the more than

Battlefield team, it also has several areas

that hang above the executive confer-

40,000-square-foot project with their archi-

that benefit not only this location’s team,

ence table at the new RC Home Office.

tect, hdesigngroup. “I have a natural knack

but all 650 stores across the country.

“The pattern reminded me of cellular waves,”

for this,” says Kym, who has remodeled and

The RC Home Office is so much more

she says, “and it served as inspiration for the

built several personal homes, as well as de-

than break areas and intentional decor;

whole project.”

signed many of RC’s retail stores. “But it was

it’s a project that delivers value to all team

As co-founder of RC, Kym has held almost every position at the company, and

a completely different challenge on a large

members across the country. “It was cer-

commercial scale.”

tainly a labor of love,” says Kym. “Along

that now includes designer of the new Home

Kym utilized her skills to draft the first

with the excitement and satisfaction seeing

Office—a space that brings together RC’s

layout of the building on grid paper. She

it turn out so beautifully, there was a lot of

national support team. Russell Cellular has

essentially played Tetris with highlighted

pressure and sleepless nights!”

been headquartered in Battlefield, Missouri,

squares and rectangles and used her pen

All that hard work Kym and Nicole put in

and lately, the departments had grown and

to neatly identify each section. That first

has paid off big time. The recently finished

spread out to four separate locations.

draft served as the big idea, and while some

office provides a highly functional space

“Kym and I both realized about three

details impacted the process—including

the whole company can enjoy and ben-

acquisitions that added 200-plus stores to

efit from. There’s plenty of room for every

thing very soon,” says Operations Manager

the support needs of the Home Office—the

department and, even better, there’s even

Nicole Valentine, “whether that was adding

final space represents Kym’s original design.

more room to grow when needed. “Now

years ago that we would have to do some-

on to existing offices, renting another building or building a new one.”

“There are so many small details,” says

that we’re all together, we can interact with

Nicole, who served as project manager for

each other face-to-face and break down

“Nicole and I made notes of individual de-

the build. “So many pages of architectural

some of those barriers—both literally and

partment needs and researched buildings for

drawings, and you have to look at each one

figuratively between departments to work

lease and sale, as well as lots to build on,”

in little bits at a time to make sure you get

together—and help support our teams in

Kym says. “We also took executives to tour

it right.” All that attention to detail paid off

the field more efficiently,” Nicole says. “The

multiple facilities before deciding to build.”

just before Thanksgiving. The halls of 4125

family atmosphere has always been there,

Wilson Creek Marketplace Road started

but I feel it even more now that we’re all

decided to build the new RC Home Office

buzzing, and it wasn’t because everyone’s

under one roof, so I think the sales team will

on land in Battlefield, Missouri, just outside

phones were on vibrate. It was move-in day.

feel that difference, too.”

Kym and her husband, CEO Jeff Russell,



Good to See You Corporate isn’t on the list of feelings as you walk into the RC Home Office. It could be the team members’ smiles or the “Hello There” that’s adorned on the reception desk that brings a mix of modern design and comforting aesthetic. That comfort doesn’t stop there, with friendly touchpoints throughout, like wall décor that ties back to RC’s values and core principles. And if you like the artwork used in the building, talk with Kym. She picked out each piece of art you’ll find on the walls.



Collaborative Space


With a project this big, there are some pretty measurable milestones.

4.72 acres



located just 15

square feet of

square feet

minutes from the

workspace, common

of additional office


and training areas

space available for a

National Airport

supporting 650 RC

future add-on

373 days of construction from

retail stores

182 desks

permit to occupancy

All powered by more than

35 miles of

electrical wiring

With a variety of sitting areas and styles, like tear-drop swivel chairs upholstered with a bright pattern that pays homage to Verizon red and the angled bars in the RC logo—this was the first fabric Kym chose for the building—the main common space is perfect for breaks, small team meetings or quick one-on-one discussions. “This building is just for our team members, so we wanted spaces that were true to that,” Kym says. “But we are always growing, so if needed, this main common area can become office space.” The inside space funnels out into the courtyard with more seating: porch swings if you’re feeling playful or picnic tables to simply enjoy the Midwest air.


Let’s Do Lunch With a modern, residential feel, the kitchen is anchored by a beautiful and functional island that provides storage and room for microwaves that are nestled below for easy access. Beyond a plethora of refrigerator and freezer space are two ranges and ovens that are great for heating up lunch for one team member or for entire departments during special occasions when the crew is ready to celebrate. Dining space flows from the kitchen, with single spaces, booths and tabletops for team members to take a few minutes to enjoy lunch. “We designed this space to play double-duty,” Kym says. “We can rearrange chairs to seat half of the Home Office staff for a meeting, which allows us to have two trainings in one day versus renting space like we had to do in the past.” Didn’t bring lunch? There’s a small market with healthful snacks, beverages and fresh, pre-made lunch options including salads and sandwiches. And down the hall is a kitchen specifically for catering, something that was on the top of Kym’s wish list from the beginning to help make employee lunches and gatherings a breeze. With a sink, refrigerators and stainless-steel tables that float in the middle of the room, there’s an easy flow during staff lunches.

Pods Organized by department, each pod features room for at least 10 desks and a private office for the respective manager. Before the move, several departments weren’t able to all work in one area, and this includes Diane Manning, HR Employee Services Manager at RC and her team. “The HR employee service team now sits together in one space,” she says. “Everyone is able to share knowledge and help each other.” The semi-open concept allows conversation within groups, but the open cubicles provide a focused space when privacy is needed. Also, Kym assigned each department a different color to signify which member of the leadership team they report to. RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM





4 2

Take a Break

Areas that allow team members to head back to their desks refreshed and ready to best serve RC’s 650 stores were a must for the leadership team. Beyond common spaces, these mood-specific break rooms cater to how team members are feeling that day. Need to recharge? Head to the quiet room with dim lighting and nature sounds playing in the background. Ready to energize the brain? Problem solve puzzles in the family room. Have a competitive spirit?


L&D Classroom

Challenge a co-worker to ping pong or pop-a-shot in the game room. “It is awesome that our team has somewhere to go on break,” Nicole says, adding that this is her favorite aspect of the new building.

Ensuring each RC store has everything needed to operate

“This gives them a different space to work or have a brainstorming ses-

successfully is the primary focus for the Home Office team.

sion with another team member to get away from their desks.”

That kind of support now includes virtual and in-person development. With 36 seats, the new training room provides the needed space for RC’s two-day leadership training for DSMs and


Conference Center

RDs who have been with the company for 90 to 180 days. “Having a space like this really gives our field team members

Flexibility and functionality is a common theme in the new Home

something to be proud of,” Kym says. “We can properly host them

Office, and the new meeting rooms are no exception. Chat rooms

now and provide the opportunity for them to enjoy and utilize the

and medium-sized conference rooms sit off of the main hallway and

Home Office as part of the RC Family.”

provide plenty of space not only for interdepartmental meetings but for

Additionally, a virtual conference room is coming soon to better

interviews and meetings with vendors or colleagues visiting from across

facilitate more frequent and flexible learning opportunities for every

the country. Each room also features noise-absorbing wall treatments to

RC team member across the country.

muffle noise for privacy.




Wellness Room


Executive Suite

Similar to the cozy, relaxing feel of the quiet common space,

Outfitted with a kitchenette, lounge area, conference room and

the wellness room provides a private area for nursing moth-

outdoor space, the executive suite is seamlessly flanked by six

ers or team members who feel a migraine coming on.

unique offices.

“I’ve had several people with migraines tell me that if they

Kym designed each executive’s office with details specific to them,

could just take 20 minutes in a quiet, dark place after taking their

like a tufted brown leather couch with wide-swooped arms for the

medicine, they would likely feel better,” Kym says. “This space

baseball fan and an oval-topped desk to pay homage to another’s

helps support their decision to stay at work, rather than have to

Lord of the Rings obsession. And while individualistic style ranges from

go home.”

posh and curated to modern and traditional, Kym managed to take

There is also a quiet room where team members can work or

this somewhat mismatched collection of personal taste and create a

recharge when they need a calmer atmosphere. The lighting is low,

seamless design. The entire suite flows together with warmth and zen,

the mood is relaxing, and there’s comfortable seating for those

as Kym would say, to provide a calming and collaborative space for

who need a quick break to unwind.

those in high-pressure positions. RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 23

The Year of Going Beyond the Bounds As we settle in to 2020, we look back on a year of record breaking growth and try to predict what’s to come. BY ETTIE BERNEKING


Photos by TK Photographer

How do you top off an incredible year of growth and some of the best monthly sales records in Russell Cellular history?

With an anniversary of course. Nathan Mindeman, Vice President of Sales Operations, is celebrating 20 years with Russell Cellular, and while that milestone is worth plenty of pomp and circumstance on its own, Nathan’s anniversary at RC also provides the perfect opportunity to look at how far the company has come, how much it has changed and where it’s headed this year. So if you don’t already know Nathan’s story, you’re in luck because that’s where we’re going to start. A young, 18-year-old Nathan first joined Russell Cellular in 1999. He actually ended up here thanks to his dad who also joined RC as a sales rep. While Nathan’s dad hit the pavement to drum up new business, Nathan handled sales and customer interactions at the Siloam Springs, Arkansas, store. He was not a natural fit for sales and relished the days when the flow of customers was light to nonexistent. Six months later, Nathan had found his footing and consistently ranked in the top two or three sales reps each month. While his dad left the business and returned to teaching, Nathan was suddenly on a roll. Back in 1999, Russell Cellular looked a lot different than it does today. When Nathan joined the company in 1999, RC had five stores and was only operating in two states: Missouri and Arkansas. But RC first entered the cellular market at the industry’s infancy, so it was in a prime spot to grow. By 2009—10 years after Nathan first joined the team—Russell Cellular had more than 100 stores and had expanded its footprint. The Russell Cellular name went from being in two states in 1999 to eight states by 2009. And that was just the beginning. Over the course of Russell Cellular’s 26-year history, the company has grown significantly in sales, store numbers, territory and team members. Two years after Nathan was

hired, he was promoted to District Sales Manager and led a team of four to five stores in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Today, DSMs lead six or seven stores on average. To get an even better idea of how much the company has grown over the years, consider this. In 2001, Nathan was one of three DSMs in the entire company. Today, RC has more than 100 DSMs. And that’s just a snapshot of how much the company has grown. Over the past 20 years, Nathan has watched as the RC team has grown and as monthly sales records get blown away time and time again, but so far, nothing can compare to 2019. “Last year was a record year for us,” CEO Jeff Russell says, and he’s correct. It was the best year the company has ever experienced both in sales and in growth. Last year alone, Russell Cellular acquired 216 stores (the most in company history), beat its monthly sales record countless times and opened the new Home Office in Battlefield, Missouri. Needless to say, the RC Nathan knew when he joined in 1999 looks a lot different today. By the end of 2019, Russell Cellular had 650 stores, 2,700 team members and a footprint spread across 37 states. Now the big question is—What does that mean for 2020? Well, if you’ve wandered the halls of the new Home Office, you’ll see 2020 is the year of Jedi Hedgie—seriously. A wall decal of Hedgie wielding a lightsaber and clad in the classic Jedi robe can be found down one of the hallways. According to the Jedi fandom, Jedis are known to seek knowledge, accept responsibility and live lives of integrity and honor. Luckily for Hedgie—a Jedi in training—those traits line up with the Jeff’s 2020 vision for RC. To get a better idea of what 2020 holds for Russell Cellular, Nathan and Jeff have broken down the year into three focuses: Growth, training and 5G. RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 25

GROWTH Before you get too excited about beating all the 2019 records when it comes to growth, Jeff has a word of caution. He actually predicts this year will be slower than 2019. “Last year was the biggest year in growth for us,” he says. “But a lot of it was timing.” Those 216 stores the company acquired—Jeff says part of that was just about being in the right place at the right time. “You can’t really plan for an acquisition,” he says. “At least in regards to some of the larger acquisitions we brought on last year, it was the right time for those companies to exit the business.” At the same time, Jeff says RC was in a good position to bring on that volume of new doors and staff and integrate them into the company. At the height of the acquisition madness from last year, two large acquisitions happened within 30 days. That meant 150 new doors were added to the lineup in one month. “We learned a few things we should do differently,” Jeff says. “But we also learned we are doing a lot of things right.” With the wireless industry slimming down, there are fewer large players looking to leave the market, which is why Jeff predicts there will be fewer acquisitions in 2020. But while the number of new doors might not beat the 2019 record, he says one of the key things that will grow this year is the focus on 5G.

5G The buzz around 5G is getting intense. Even people outside of the wireless industry are following the headlines focused on what will soon be the fastest wireless network to date. As providers race to install 5G capabilities across the United States and the world, Verizon actually was the first provider to launch 5G. It did so on a smaller scale in April 2019 and by December, Verizon 5G was active in 31 cities. Most of this coverage centered on larger metropolitan markets including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Dallas, but a handful of smaller markets have also welcomed 5G in the last few months. As Verizon continues to expand its 5G network, 5G-capable devices will become the new focus for customers and the RC sales team. “This is definitely the future,” Jeff says. “5G is 10 times faster than 4G, so as Verizon deploys this, we will see more of our customer base move to new technology.” Currently, there are already a growing number of devices built to support 5G, including devices from LG, Samsung and Motorola. Jeff expects the number of 5G-capable devices to increase quickly. “From a tech side, this will be a big year for device sales,” Jeff says. RC might only carry a handful of 5G-capable devices currently, but he knows that will change soon. “I imagine we’ll see a month-by-month increase in 5G devices,” he says. 26 RC CONNECTIONS / SPRING

LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT As the 5G wave rolls over the industry, the RC executive team is revving the engine when it comes to training. And you thought all the new training exercises in 2019 were intense. Just wait! “Last year was all about face-to-face leadership development,” Nathan says. “Now 2020 is going to be about virtual training and giving our team the opportunity to learn without pulling them out of their markets and their stores.” This focus on virtual training is in part thanks to the new RC Home Office. When Nicole Valentine and Kym Russell designed the new Home Office, they knew it had to include an in-house training facility that could be used for in-person and virtual training sessions. Before this, RC was paying for hotel conference rooms in order to keep leadership up-to-date on training and to onboard new hires. Now, team members won’t have to leave their stores as often. “Virtual training gives everyone a chance to get updates on their phones or tablets and get more frequent training, all online,” Nathan says.

On top of just keeping everyone up to date on the latest initiatives, leadership training and tech updates, the ability to host virtual training is a big time and cost reduction for RC. Jeff looks at this through the lens of what it means for a new hire. “Typically, we have a two-week training session for all new team members,” he says. “Those sessions are held in their home store, and sometimes you have to travel to surrounding stores and bring in leadership. Travel expenses can get out of hand quickly.” Virtual training means Jeff and the rest of the Home Office team can assist more with new hire training without traveling. Does that mean in-person training is a thing of the past at RC? Nope. “It’s going to be a hybrid model,” Jeff says. “You will still see in-store training, but you’ll also see virtual trainers here at the Home Office who will run small training sessions for new hires. This will give new hires more support and more touch points as they start their RC career.” RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 27

The Year of Jedi Hedgie To celebrate the year of Jedi Hedgie, we round up a few RC leaders’ predictions for the year.






THE BIG PICTURE Between the slowdown in acquisitions and the growth of 5G, 2020 looks like it will be a steady year for Russell Cellular. That short-term slowdown might be a good thing. As Nathan sees it, this could be a breather for the company, which is used to rapid growth and big change. Looking back, Nathan says not all of those changes were great. “In the early 2000s, we went all in on selling satellite TV,” he says. “We even changed the company name to Russell Cellular and Satellite. But a few years in, we realized we didn’t want to stay in the satellite business.” Luckily, RC was still small enough it could reverse course pretty easily, but that is far from true today. “It would be nearly impossible,” Nathan says. “Long gone are the days of 100 stores and 500 team members when we could change the course of the ship

quickly. Now we have to think farther out in order to turn the organization in one direction or another.” There needs to be a plan, and if Jeff has anything to say about it, that plan needs as many eyes on it as possible. Growth isn’t Jeff’s only goal. Creating a stable and well-run organization is really what he’s after, and that’s the big opportunity he sees in 2020. “When you look at what we came off of last year, we will continue to grow, but I think you’ll see a slowdown and a lot of our focus will be on the efficiencies of what we have,” he says. “We spent the back part of the year integrating these new team members and stores into our RC system. This year will be more about running our business as well as possible and settling in to our new systems.” RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM 29

LEADING THE WAY Chris Lucido, Daniel Hyder, Brad Boman and Anthony Badalamenti know the importance of leadership development. Now that they've been through RC's Quest training, they're ready to help other RC leaders grow and lead the way.


INTO THE NEXT DECADE RC is rolling out a new streamlined approach to team management. BY RAE SWAN SNOBL

coaching and giving constructive feedback on a team member’s responsibilities. To make sure everyone is successfully utilizing STCA, RC has invested in a digital documentation platform called GoCanvas. RC’s Sales Operations Team updates these digital forms frequently as the wireless industry continues to evolve. For example,

In 2020, RC is committed more than ever to enhancing its team

a streamlined one-on-one document in GoCanvas gives company

members’ experience by focusing on leadership. Developing RC

leaders daily insight into how RC’s initiatives are being communi-

leaders has been a big focus for the company over the last two

cated across the nation. “Like everything we do here at RC, this is

years, and as it moves forward into 2020, RC is stepping up its

a team effort,” says Anthony Badalamenti, Area Vice President of

leadership game through emphasis on STCA.

Sales. “We are better together. Our STCA focus is being worked on

STCA stands for Staffing, Training, Coaching and Accountability—

by multiple departments and across all three AVP Areas.”

all essential pennants of successful sales leadership that has been

As 2020 gets underway, RC leaders will use STCA to guide

the backbone for creating RC’s unique work culture. “We know

coaching conversations with managers to provide better weekly

the key to RC’s continued success depends on our people, and

one-on-one meetings than ever before. Each of the focus areas has

we will continue investing more in them,” says Brad Boman, Area

different components that work in conjunction to help create a bet-

Vice President of Sales. STCA helps managers focus on fully staff-

ter team member experience, so RC can deliver the best customer

ing stores, delivering tremendous training, creating personalized

experience in the industry.


Photo by Brad Zweerink



No RC store is exactly the same. The layout, inven-

RC team members receive an abundance of

tory and even the number of team members can

on-the-job, real-life training along with gamified

differ. It all depends on what each store needs to

learning from an industry-leading mobile app

best serve the community in which it operates. To

called Catalyst. In early 2020, the company will

make sure each store has what it needs—no more,

also launch a virtual training platform from Home

no less— RC leadership examines current staffing levels across

Office. This new virtual platform will complement and reinforce ev-

the organization twice a year. It looks at annual sales trends and

erything RC already has in place so team members receive a con-

growth opportunities in emerging markets, and it reviews customer

sistently excellent training experience. “As technology continues

traffic patterns. From there, adjustments can be made to improve

to change the way we communicate and deliver information, it is

team member and customer experiences. “A key to building a great

integral that we help one another utilize all of our new training plat-

sales team is finding great people,” says Chris Lucido, Area Vice

forms,” Anthony says. Team members will be encouraged to take

President of Sales. “Our people—each individual doing their part—

time for their own development by frequently logging into Catalyst

is what really makes us great.”

or joining virtual conferences as they launch. What does this all

Another big push in 2020: bolstering the team member Referral

mean? It means RC is embracing change and making it easier

Program. RC has long focused on finding the right people to join its

for its team to stay up to date on new releases, new technologies

team, and that’s not always easy. To increase its success rate, RC is

and new devices. In addition, leaders will deliver the “Mastering

turning to its existing team members. “There is no better way to bol-

the Customer Experience” class in a face-to-face format to their

ster our ranks than to encourage our families and friends to join the

team members to help them engage customers in a positive and

RC family,” Brad says. To accomplish this, RC leadership will work

exciting manner.

with the HR Employee Services Team at Home Office to recruit and onboard new team members as the company continues to grow.



If you’ve been with RC for a minute or two, then you prob-

This one gets a little tricky. Accountability is often mis-

ably already know that the company is big on coaching.

understood as a disciplinary action. You know… You

One of RC’s goals is to provide real-life practice to its

messed up, and now it’s time for someone to write you

leaders so they can better lead, mentor and develop their

up on a performance improvement plan. But that’s not

teams. The RC Learning and Development Team spent

what accountability means at RC. Instead, RC wants

most of 2019 facilitating classroom coaching activities across the coun-

to use the idea of accountability—the A in STCA—to encourage

try. In 2020, that will change. Instead of sending Kurt and Herbie jet

leaders to check in, to follow up and follow through with team

setting across the country four days a week, RC will expand the reach

members, and to praise and redirect associates to more success-

of L&D to every single leader via virtual, live conferences hosted from

ful behaviors. At RC, accountability means leaders are present

the new Home Office. This will help leaders to coach their direct reports

every day and follow a consistent approach with every team mem-

quickly and efficiently through informal and formal coaching models.

ber. Every leader has regular one-on-one sessions with their team

“We are very passionate about coaching at RC,” Brad says. “When we

members where they can review current performance, analyze the

get the opportunity to serve others—to invest in their personal and pro-

behaviors leading to that performance and develop a plan through

fessional goals via feedback and guidance—we get the opportunity to

a joint partnership with that team member to successfully achieve

change people’s lives. Our leadership and coaching today might be the

their goals. It might be as simple as taking a positive behavior

best part of someone’s day. That’s all the more reason to make sure we

in one sales category and applying it to another. If your goal is

do it right.” So whether you’re in the middle of a virtual coaching seminar

to praise your team more often for the great job it’s doing, then

or are getting some one-on-one training, coaching will continue to be a

accountability will ensure you dole out praise when it’s deserved.

primary focus for all of RC’s Leadership Team in the years ahead.

Turns out, accountability can be fun… and rewarding. RUSSELLCELLULAR.COM




LIVING HIS BEST LIFE From playing professional soccer to working with the United Nations, there is little District Sales Manager Ali Ismail hasn’t done in his lifetime. A life-long problem solver, Ismail continues to grow his stores and his staff while continuing to live life to the fullest. BY JESSICA HAMMER “I try to do as much as I can because you only live once,” says District Sales Manager Ali Ismail. Ali spent his youth in Alexandria, Egypt, and was a professional soccer goalkeeper for two years during high school. He got his undergraduate degree in political science and economics, then moved to Spain to get a graduate degree in international marketing. Ali spent two years at the Library of Alexandria when his connections there opened the door to a job opportunity at the United Nations. He started working with the Community Services Department in the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees. There, Ali worked with migrants to provide resources and outreach by meeting and interviewing refugees (primarily from


Syria and Sudan). He helped create and

Ali Ismail makes a point of giving back to his community no matter where he lives.

maintain a database of refugee nationalities, allocated funds for community centers and helped connect them with anything they

District Sales Manager in Kansas. Ali says

Public Library and helps military officers

needed – from education to health care.

one thing he appreciated when he joined RC

heading to countries in the Middle East inte-

Egypt’s turbulent economy and high un-

was realizing that his work ethic was being

grate into those areas.

employment throughout Spain and the rest

recognized, and he adds that he loves RC’s

It doesn’t seem to matter where he is,

of Europe were major influences on Ali and

openness about culture and religion and the

Ali has a passion for helping others, and in

his wife’s decision to relocate to the United

company’s commitment to really making a

many ways this young community leader is

States. Ali’s interests in gaming, crypto-

difference in the lives of its team members.

continuing that passion at RC.

currency and smartphones got him a store manager position with Cell Only. During his time with Cell Only, Ali and his team saved his store from closing perma-

“I feel like I’m included like anyone else,” he says. “I can’t imagine working for someone else, honestly. We care about people first, before the numbers.”

nently and made it one of the best in the

Ali is still pursuing soccer, but now he’s

company. He was one of Cell Only’s newest

traded in his team jersey for black and white

managers when RC acquired the company

referee threads. And when he’s not referee-

in 2018, but Ali was asked to stay on as a

ing a game, he volunteers at the Lawrence


SHARE YOUR OWN STORY Want to share your story with RC Connections readers? Send your name, title and a brief synopsis of your story to Photos by Brad Zweerink

2019 Year-in-Review Recognition PRESIDENT'S CIRCLE - TEAM MEMBERS PERFECT SCORE 1,200 PTS 1) April Kummerle – Weaverville, North Carolina 2) Brent Waits – Sulphur Springs, Texas 3) Tonya Harris – Jasper, Tennesse 4) Cortny Butcher – Lafayette TN 5) Michael Hugger – Tuscola IL 6) Fernanda Frajia – Akron OH 7) Joshua Dowda – Burnsville NC 8) Chavelle Hicks – Kings Plaza NYC 9) Andrea Creed – Mt Grove MO 10) Rachelle Theriot – Morgan City LA 11) Miranda Weese – Englewood FL 12) Christy Wall – Berryville AR 13) Krystal Alvarado – Berryville AR 14) Danielle Dixon – Cottonwood AZ 15) Emma McCathran – Lafayette TN 16) Sara Hallahan – Coldwater MI 17) Jennifer Fulbright – Paris TX 18) Justin Klatt – Berryville AR 19) Bridget Cox – Lafayette TN 20) Mayank Patel – Morgan City LA 21) Carla Walker – Sweetwater TN 22) Kelly Simon – Grove OK 23) Aliayh Fillmore – Coldwater MI 24) Courtnee Hopper – Ava MO 25) Phoebe Chadwick – Newnan GA 26) Adrian Johnson – Stockton MO 27) Heather Hood – Jasper TN 28) Brandy Tischofer – Chesire CT 29) April Taylor – Madisonville TN 30) Casey Solomon – Smithville TN 31) Tiffany Markwell – Charleston IL 32) Teri Young – Miramar Beach FL 33) Patrick Parker – Cairo GA 33) Dana Ramsey – Woodbury TN 35) Michaela Rodriguez – Independence KS 36) Rebecca Phillips – Belleville IL 37) Misty Cannon – Poteau 2 OK 38) Patrick Smyth – Monroe 1 NY 39) Franklin Harris – Sweetwater TN 40) Nicole Morgan – Adrian MI 41) Aaron Myers – Unionville CT 41) Jessica Ainsworth – Monroe 2 LA 41) Audrey Gilbert – Camilla GA 44) Chad Spears – Sedona AZ 45) Merissa Crosby – Waterloo IL 46) Neely Danko – Bolivar MO 46) Daniel Forrester – Livingston TN 48) Donald Wilson – Johnson City TN 49) Mattie Carter – White House TN 50) Angela Barraza – Newnan GA 51) Brandon Benoit – Springfield 2 MO 52) Michael Tibbits – Crestview 1 FL 53) Chris Shamp – Republic MO 53) Samuel Atkinson – Shreveport 1 LA 53) Mack Keys – New Orleans 2 LA 56) Adam Grandt – Weaverville NC 57) Shateekwa Daisy – Financial District 2 NYC 58) Matthew Varela – Bolivar MO 58) Amanda Tudor – Kewanee IL 60) Erica Hunter – Cookeville TN

61) Allison Holt – Manchester TN 62) Maria Serrano – Odessa 3 TX 63) Timothy Bates – Marietta GA 64) Alexander Oswald – West Branch MI 65) Gabrielle Vega – Midtown East 2 NYC 66) Christy Johnson – Dresden TN 67) John Guillaume – Champaign 2 IL 67) Leonard Diebold – Dresden TN 69) Haider Khan – New Paltz NY 70) Andrea Thoennes – Clarksville AR 71) Tylor Layfield – Kansas City 1 MO 72) Christina Clark – Dresden TN 73) Tyler Torrez – Temecula CA 74) Kaylee Jolly – Sparta IL 75) Amanda McDaniel – Nashville IL 76) Amber Comer – Corinth MS 77) Taylor Cocco – Southington CT 78) Richard Borgess – Hopewell Junction NY 79) Tahleia Williams – Kansas City 2 MO 80) Clayton Cone – Freeburg IL 81) Nancy Gibbons – Byron Center MI 82) Georgina Cuevas – Artesia NM 83) Hailey Pierce – Carthage TN 84) Shana Turner – Cookeville TN 85) Dawn Shively – Highland IL 86) Kiefer Benson – Chattanooga 2 TN 87) Justin Padilla – Valdosta GA 88) Marissa Hicks – Mt Grove MO 89) Christopher Anderson – Olathe KS 90) Tara Thole – Highland IL 91) Kyrie Quijano – Springfield 2 MO 92) Aaron Miller – Cleveland 1 TN 93) Shannon Mitchell – Roanoke AL 94) Thor Hughes – Tilton IL 95) Jeff Tomlinson – Decatur 1 IL 96) Elijah Hiatt – Nashville IL 97) Daniel Akhimi – Decatur 1 IL 98) Clint Derrick – Artesia NM 99) William Lemin – Monroe 1 NY 100) Nathan George – Manchester TN 100) Laura Vanmalden – Pocahontas AR 102) Zachary Johnson – McMinnville TN 103) Elizabeth White – Chattanooga 2 TN 104) Adrienne Padilla – Albany GA 105) Marco Becarra – Casa Grande AZ 106) Raquel McAlister – Milan TN 107) Eli Young – Poteau 2 OK 108) Joshua Compton – Carlsbad 2 NM 109) Andrew Esan – Corinth MS 110) William Cardin – Monroe 2 LA 111) James Sheckler – Greenville MI 112) Dannon Fox – Poteau 2 OK 113) Kayla Venable – Middlesboro KY 114) Sarah Willis – Monett MO 115) Robert Cabral – Tucson 1 AZ 116) Austin Alsup – Springfield 2 MO 117) Brittany Frazier – Monett MO 117) Sarah Burch – Springfield 1 IL 119) Serena Stimac – Poteau 2 OK 120) Joseph Wright – Cedartown GA 121) Robby Dingler – Rayville LA 122) Cori Deblaey – Fairhope AL 123) Mika Wilson –Chillicothe OH

124) Kirby Norman – Milan TN 125) Gary Donaldson – Venice FL 126) Ryan Largent – Republic MO 127) Robert Beaver – Cairo GA 128) Taylor Whitaker – West Burlington IA 129) Ryan Byrne – Cortland OH 130) Cameron Ritter – West Branch MI 131) Rachel Amalong – Milan TN 132) Jonathan Torres – Hells Kitchen NYC 133) Jacob Toussaint – Casa Grande AZ 134) Caylee Osborne – Springfield 2 MO 135) Antonio Espitia – Englewood FL 136) Kimberly Norwood – Paragould AR 137) Jessica Fickes – West Branch MI 138) Trisha McCloskey – Mill Hall PA 139) Omar Mbye – Midtown East 1 NYC 140) David Medley – Griffin GA 141) Barbara Pritchett – Mineola TX 142) Joseph Hernandez – Temecula CA 143) Keith Conklin – Topeka KS 144) Brittany Sartain – Tyler 2 TX 145) Chantel Olds – Chattanooga 2 TN 146) Alton Grisham – Berryville AR 147) Andrew Brown – Ruskin FL 147) Jenna Odom – Albany GA 147) Latashia Baker – Bremen GA 150) Pedro Camacho – Sulphur Springs TX 151) Mariah Dailey – Perryville MO 152) Brandon Ryan – Mt Pleasant TX 153) Staci Rees – Grayling MI 154) Nancy Vital – Wauchula FL 155) Gabriel Stamey – Sugar Mountain NC 156) Sharon McGee – Mena AR 157) Sylvia Elzie – Shreveport 3 LA 158) Thomas Stump – Englewood FL 159) Sarah Bishop – Alma MI 160) Seaira Allison – Danville 1 IL 161) Mellisa Bell – Roanoke AL 162) Brandi Braddock – Cleburne TX 163) Kristopher Williams – Freeport IL 164) Crystal Goddard – Buffalo MO 165) Pam Cantrell – McMinnville TN 166) Dawn Hambelton – Madisonville TN 167) Caleb Grim – Venice FL 168) Alvina Bejarano – Artesia NM 169) Jonathan Shepherd – Paragould AR 170) Jesse Caldwell – Springfield 2 MO 170) Kyle Dupris – West Branch MI 172) Brittany Butler – New Orleans LA 173) George Callahan – Tilton IL 174) Bryan Shreck – Coal Township PA 175) Daiyana Carrillo – Financial District 2 NYC 176) Elisabeth Rodriguez – Odessa 3 TX 176) Robbin Collins – Johnson City TN 178) Joseph McGuigan – Rogersville TN 179) Jesse Hicks – Palatine Bridge NY 180) Lile Sanchez – Hobbs NM 181) Tysheldin Johnson – Freeport IL 182) Giovanni Vicenti – Midtown NYC 183) Casey Johansen – Thibodaux LA 184) Matthew Owens – Shreveport 4 LA 185) Brittany Hess – Lebanon VA 186) Emily Handshoe – Fayetteville TN

187) Tiffany White – Stuttgart AR 188) Valerie Vasquez – Monahans TX 188) Susan Gage – Mena AR 190) Virginia Troncoso – Lamesa TX 191) Joseph Vassallo – Le Roy NY 191) Adnan Kassem – Midtown East 2 NYC 193) Jennifer Allen – Cedartown GA 194) Jason Rants – Cleveland 1 TN 195) Aaron Evans – Adrian MI 196) Savannah Cooper – Springfield VT 197) Brenda Nava – Manchester TN 198) Ashlee McElroy Lovett – Charleston IL 199) Nina Amox – Mansfield LA 200) Timothy Efferson – Bogalusa LA 201) Avery Guerrero – Monroe 1 NY 201) Jessica Moreno – Mt Pleasant TX 203) Michelle Gonzalez – Seminole TX 204) Brittany Murray – Paris TX 205) Ashley McCartney – Trenton TN 206) Heather Henson – Vandalia IL 207) Eugenia Simmons – Franklinton LA 208) Jeremy Armstrong – Decatur 1 IL 209) Ronald Gaston – Chanute KS 210) Cierra Cato – Monroe 2 LA 211) Kayla Yoder – Nappanee IN 212) Alexander Thorn – Bolivar MO 213) Seth Boggs – Boone 1 NC 214) Kristin Brown – Sallisaw OK 215) Taylor Pilcher – Kansas City 2 MO 216) Cathy Snider – Tilton IL 217) Terrell Mitchell – Mill Hall PA 217) Francisco Munoz – Bossier City 2 LA 219) William Day – Smithville TN 220) James Solomon – Topeka KS 221) Jimmy Harris – Shawnee OK 222) Dylan Jowers – Trenton TN 223) Jonathan Steiger – Montvale NJ 223) Jacob Johnson – Wildwood 2 FL 225) Irene Bolanos – Andrews TX 226) Rion Hanes – Byron Center MI 227) Rebecca Carlton – Clare MI 228) Jacob Paxton – Geneseo IL 229) Mayra Medina – Tyler 2 TX 229) Alexis Martz Henry – Tucson 3 AZ 229) Andrew Brown – St Louis MO 232) Kimberly Taylor – Paris TX 233) Shandi Willis – Bremen GA 234) Eddie Guel – Lamesa TX 235) Shani Parker – Wiggins MS 236) Joshua Walker – Villa Rica GA 237) Amber Hubbard – Sugar Mountain NC 238) Justin Singley – Franklinton LA 239) Chanda Turley – Grants NM 239) Kaimi Gutierrez – Monahans TX 241) Jackie Crenshaw – Lucedale MS 242) Cassidy Bishop – Kewanee IL 243) Daniel Asroff – New Holland PA 243) Sammy Porras – Carlsbad NM 245) Tylor Grant – Millersburg OH 246) Houston Creek – Greenville MI 247) Courtney Brown – Grants NM


2019 Year-in-Review Recognition YEARS OF SERVICE


Regional Director of Sales

#1 April Kummerle

#1 Eddie Hash

20 Years

Nathan Mindeman Leonard Diebold 15 Years

District Sales Managers

Jeff Carreiro April Taylor Jason Goodloe

#1 Amanda Mayberry 2) Taylor Belcher 3) Jennifer Loghry 4) Holly Fain

5) Jason Foster 6) Jonathan Costilow 7) Don Owens

8) Lisa Cox 9) Ali Ismail 10) Mike Cotter

President's Circle Stores

#1 Berryville AR 2) Lafayette TN 3) Morgan City LA 4) Jasper TN 5) Belleville IL 6) Bolivar MO 7) West Branch MI 8) Mt Grove MO 9) Bogalusa LA 10) McMinnville TN 11) Springfield 2 MO 12) Kings Plaza NYC 13) Weaverville NC 14) Dresden TN 15) Newnan GA 16) Camilla GA 17) Ava MO 18) Manchester TN

19) Republic MO 20) Decatur 1 IL 21) Artesia NM 22) New Orleans 2 LA 23) Chattanooga 2 TN 24) Lafayette GA 25) Tuscola IL 26) Kansas City 2 MO 27) Kansas City 1 MO 28) Casa Grande AZ 28) Temecula CA 30) North Port FL 31) Madisonville TN 32) Grove OK 33) Odessa 3 TX 34) Independence KS 35) Corinth MS

36) Milan TN 37) Nashville IL 38) Coldwater MI 39) Alma MI 40) Cookeville TN 41) Andrews TX 42) Smithville TN 43) Adrian MI 44) Kewanee IL 45) Burnsville NC 46) Sweetwater TN 47) Monahans TX 48) Pocahontas AR 49) Mt Pleasant TX 50) Tucson 3 AZ 51) Shreveport 3 LA 52) Cedartown GA

53) Branson West MO 54) Springfield 1 IL 55) Englewood FL 55) Crestview 2 FL 57) Olathe KS 57) Sparta IL 57) Danville 1 IL 57) Unicoi TN 61) Tilton IL 62) Midtown East 2 NYC 63) Woodbury TN 64) Wauchula FL 65) Cheshire CT

#1 Cleveland OH – 98.1% 9) Trenton TN – 96.8% 10) Tupper Lake NY – 96.7% 11) Columbus 1 GA – 96.6% 11) Nephi UT – 96.6% 13) Champaign IL – 96.4% 14) Colorado Springs 3 CO – 96% 15) Champaign 2 IL – 95.9%

16) Warwick NY – 95.7% 16) Cairo GA – 95.7% 18) Unionville CT – 95.5% 18) Northvale NJ – 95.5% 18) Hanford CA – 95.5% 18) Malvern AR – 95.5% 22) Windsor VA – 95.3

10 Years

Patrick Smyth Daniel Hyder Robbin Collin Jen Fulbright Tina Crewse Maria Gibson Jake Steinberg

Teresa Necaise Jennifer Allen Daniel Forrester Joe Maddox Jon Keatts Omar Mbye

5 Years

RIS Gold Stores

2) Raton NM – 97.9% 3) Tifton GA – 97.8% 4) Prudenville MI – 97.7% 5) Montvale NJ – 97.4% 6) Cleveland MS – 97.3% 7) Brunswick MD – 96.9% 8) Columbia MD – 96.8%

Matt Paris Roderick Tyler Bill Lister

22) Purcellville VA – 95.3% 24) Revere MA – 95.2% 25) Winnsboro LA – 95%

Joe Sanchez Mike Shoemaker Jessica Moreno James Sheckler Wayne White Michelle Rye Daniel Asroff Julio Chavez Brandon Nardi Janine Wilson Brandi Braddock Alexis Danko Mariah Coleman Eric Rodriguez Cory Worster LaShonda White Brandon Grantham Latoiea Clayton Brandon Hewitt Thomas Stump Christopher Anderson Brad Boman David Hash Christy Johnson Crystal Goddard Jennifer Street Dennis Trosper Dil Patel Bri Eubanks Skyler Boles ChaKia Lee

Lauren Mcelhaney Blake Nunn Lindsay Thomas Jim Cook Ashley Surratt Nav Singh Dustin Hall Saher Samine Landon LeJeune Johnny Jones Saqib Khan Desirae Rael Phillip Hudnall Kyle Dupuis Lee Holland Jackie Mitchell Mika Wilson Trista Denison Maruo Bekhit Tristan Cook Katrina Gilmore Patrick Ryan Amy Goetz Chuckie Coblentz Teresa Pyle Joseph Kim Chasity Barthol Simon Vallejo Krissa Shewey Brandon Ryan