Ambassador A Publication of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. | Spring 2010
When It Rains We Soar Weâ€™re drying out and back to business!
After 41 Years on the Job, David Lifsey Announces his Retirement Two Employees Two New Homes
Our business is changing lives.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
Miami Goodwill Film Proves Everyone has Talent!
David Lifsey, President Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
Tammy Glass, Vice President of Finance Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
Robert McNeilly, III, President and CEO SunTrust Bank
Donna B. Yurdin, Owner Credo Management Consulting
Christopher S. Dunn, Attorney Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis, LLP
J. Mike Bishop Asst. Vice President Pharmacy Services Health Trust Purchasing Group Caroline G. Blackwell, Director of Multicultural Affairs University School of Nashville E. Steele Clayton, IV Partner Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC David Condra Chairman Dalcon Enterprises Gary W. Cordell Consultant
Ambassador | Spring 2010
Betty Johnson, Vice President of Employment Services Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
Kathryn S. Gibson, Accounting Manager Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Finance
J. B. Baker President & CEO Volunteer Express, Inc.
Robert W. Duthie Founder Duthie Associates, Inc.
Deborah Y. Faulkner Inspector General State of Tennessee TennCare John C. Greer Vice President TennComm, LLC Jeffrey A. Hoffman Richelieu America, Ltd. Philip G. Hull Senior Consultant VACO Resources Decosta E. Jenkins President & CEO Nashville Electric Service Robert B. Kennedy, Trustee Vice President First Horizon Insurance Group, Inc. Fred T. McLaughlin, Trustee Branch Manager, Sr. VP Investments Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.
Ty Osman President Solomon Builders
Board of Directors
Board O ff icer s
John W. Stone, III, Partner White & Reasor, PLC
Thomas S. Stumb President Nashville Bank & Trust
Kathryn I. Thompson Founder/Director of Research TRG-Thompson Research Group
John Tishler Chairman Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis, LLP Dr. George Van Allen President Nashville State Community College John Van Mol President & CEO Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence
Dr. Sandra L. Wise Campus President Argosy University
Corporate Office Renamed.......................p.4
David Lifsey Announces Retirement.......p.5 Work is Family and Job One......................p.6 Flood Waters Overtake Nashville.............p.8 Letter From David Lifsey.........................p.11 Goodwill Stores Save at the Registers....p.12 Miami Goodwill Film Wins at Festival..p.13
cover story Home Sweet Home Career Solutions Bldg. Flood Photos.....p.16
Water rises around Goodwillâ€™s Nashville Herman Street complex. Employees rise to the occasion.
Two employees will soon move into their own homes with a little help from friends.
President & CEO - David Lifsey Sr. Director of Marketing & Community Relations - Karl Houston Writer & Editor - Suzanne Kay-Pittman Art Director & Photographer - Scott Bryant Contributors - Senior Staff, Bobby Cothran, David Pippin
Ambassador is a quarterly newsletter published by Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. 1015 Herman St. Nashville, TN 37208 For the nearest retail store, donation center, or Career Solutions facility, please call 615.742.4151 or visit giveit2goodwill.org.
Goodwillâ€™s Mission: We sell donated goods to provide employment and training opportunities for people who have disabilities and others who have trouble finding and keeping jobs.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
The Ambassador provides its readers with stories about the events, activities and people who support the mission of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. We are pleased to provide you this information and hope you will share our publication with others. Please note, the opinions expressed in the Ambassador do not necessarily reflect an opinion or official position of the management or employees of Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
Recent News 1015 Herman Street Renamed in Memory of James A. Holt Longtime employee is still missed by his friends at Goodwill.
An emotional moment for Ruth Welsh, James Holt’s sister-in-law, as she reads the plaque in his honor in the 1015 Herman Street lobby in Nashville.
he next time you’re in our corporate office in Nashville, be sure to look to the left of the front office. You’ll see a plaque honoring and remembering one of Goodwill’s longest serving employees, James A. Holt.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
Holt started his career at Goodwill in 1967. His sister, Ivadell, who was hearing impaired, was already working for the company and the Holt family was so impressed with Goodwill that James was encouraged to apply for a job. Holt was hired just one week later as a truck helper, going to donors’ homes to pick up items. He didn’t have his driver’s license then, so during his time in the passenger seat, he memorized Nashville area streets and neighborhoods. It was a skill that came in handy when he became a route driver in 1972. Goodwill President and CEO, David Lifsey, who worked with Holt throughout their many years
together at the company, says, “James’ knowledge of the area’s streets and the fastest routes through town meant he was always the first driver to return from his calls every day!” Throughout his almost 40 years as an employee, Holt held several other jobs, including working on the salvage dock for 10 years. He then moved to the hard goods team where he was a wares grader. “James loved visiting yard sales and flea markets. He really liked to find the special and valuable items,” says Ruth Welsh, Holt’s sister-in-law. She and her husband, Rick, stopped by the 1015 Herman Street building recently to see the plaque. Ruth Welsh told Mike Eisenbraun, senior director of production, “I wish James could be here to see this. He’d be speechless because he didn’t expect people to do anything for him.”
“One thing that always impressed me about James is he was proud of being independent,” Eisenbraun told the Welshes. “He bought and paid for his own house and truck. He was also the first one to arrive every morning, coming in at 5:00 a.m. to eat breakfast and read the newspaper before starting his shift at 7:30 a.m.” One of Holt’s closest colleagues, donations attendant Joe Sullivan, recommended that the building be named for his friend. “James was very ill towards the end of his life but he refused to let it get to him. He had a sheepish grin and worked as hard as he could.” Lifsey agrees. “He was a valued coworker and friend. He always gave his best effort no matter what.” Illness claimed James A. Holt in 2007. But his legacy lives on and, as his friend Joe Sullivan says, “He gave it all to Goodwill.”
Recent News Goodwill President & CEO, David Lifsey, to Retire Lifsey has been with Goodwill since 1969.
When Lifsey joined the company in 1969, there were 89 employees, and 111 people were served through its employment and training programs Today, our Goodwill has 1,400 employees and is on target to serve more than 12,000 clients in 2010. The company’s gross sales in 1969 were $400,000. In 2010 the target is almost $50 million.
t’s an anomaly today to find someone who spends almost his entire career with one organization. But that’s what David Lifsey, Goodwill’s president and CEO for 37 years, has done. He joined the company in 1969 as the director of rehabilitation and was promoted to president and CEO in 1973. After much consideration, and saying, “During the early part of my career the work week wasn’t long enough. Now the weekends aren’t long enough,” Lifsey has announced his retirement.
During the April Board of Directors meeting, Donelson store manager, Bernita Terrell, made a presentation about her path from 20 years of drug abuse, to coming to Goodwill in 2001 as a client, and her rise within the retail sector of the company. She told Lifsey, “I want you to know how much I appreciate you and your support. Without you, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.” Lifsey told her, “You’re the reason I have enjoyed this job for so long. At the end of the day it’s our people who have made this company great.”
“I have mixed emotions about my decision,” Lifsey told the staff and Board of Directors during the April senior staff and Board of Directors meetings. “It has been my honor and a great privilege to work for this Goodwill and for you.”
Deb Faulkner, a member of the Goodwill board, told fellow board members at the meeting that she is a frequent donor at our Donation Express Centers and that she is proud of the company because of its positive impact on its employees’ lives. “Helping people get back on their feet is what Goodwill does best. That’s what really matters and it’s a measure of David’s gift of leadership and his deep connection to this company.” The Board approved a formal search committee which will begin a nationwide search in the coming months for Lifsey’s successor, with plans to have a new president and CEO on staff by early 2011.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
John Stone, the chairman of Goodwill’s Board of Directors said, “David has orchestrated the growth of the company by almost one hundred fold during his tenure as the leader of our organization. Perhaps the greatest legacy that David will leave to Goodwill is his assembly of such a highly qualified and extremely dedicated staff committed to the mission of our organization.”
Successes Finding Family at Work After moving to Nashville to be closer to family, one employee finds a second home at Goodwill.
feel blessed to come to work each day.” It’s a sentiment most of us consider on occasion, but for Carolyn Tyler, it’s a true measure of her appreciation for her job at Goodwill.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
Tyler started working in the clothes hanging department in the Nashville processing plant two years ago, not long after relocating from Springfield, Tenn. After 10 years with the Captain D’s corporation, Tyler wanted to be closer to her family and she made her move to Nashville. Her sister urged her to visit Goodwill’s Career Solutions office where she met counselor, Wanielle Hodson. Hodson oversaw Tyler as she worked through the program and entered her in a transitional training program as a clothes hanger. For her supervisor, Lambus McGhee, Tyler was a perfect fit for his team. “I wanted Carolyn to come on-board fulltime because of her work ethic. She’s such a quick learner and I knew she’d be a strong team member.”
Just one month later, Tyler became a full-timer and continues in the hanging department where she’s not only determined to meet her production goals, but is also part cheerleader. “I usually tell everyone that we all have days when we’re tired. What I like to tell them is we have production to get out, so let’s be a team!” Work ethic aside, Tyler has a big fan in her current supervisor, Constance Wade, who says, “Carolyn is a great worker. Her production is high every day. She’s such a nice person and gets along well with everyone.” For Tyler, the biggest reward at work is easy to sum up in just a few words. “Coming to work each day is fun.”
Successes Quality is Job One for Marie Fitzgerald
14-year Goodwill veteran only sends the best to our stores.
arie Fitzgerald has never backed away from a full day’s work. She enjoys every moment of her job at Goodwill, where she says, “I feel as though I help maintain quality control of our product to be sure our shoppers have the best choices.” And with a big smile she adds, “I love it that the economy has forced people to consider shopping at our stores so they can see what we have to offer.”
It was at the urging of a friend that Fitzgerald applied at Goodwill, and with her many years of experience inspecting clothes, she was a natural fit. That was 14 years ago. Her first job was on the grading line. Six years later she moved to the sorting area, where she remains today. But more than having a job, Fitzgerald appreciates the respect and support she receives from her coworkers. “No one makes fun of me here. That’s something I never
experienced. At Goodwill everyone is accepted, even people with disabilities.” For Goodwill’s part, Fitzgerald not only works hard on a daily basis, she also contributes as a 12-year member of the safety committee, a point of pride for her. “My team has been accident-free for more than a year.” The reward for that recent milestone was a steak dinner grilled by Joan Sundstrom, director of production. “It was the best tasting steak I’ve ever had,” says Fitzgerald, who added, “I can’t wait for Joan to cook for us again next year when we go two years without an accident!”
Ambassador | Spring 2010
Fitzgerald has been sorting and processing clothes more than 20 years. Her career started as a quality control inspector at the WE Stephens Company where she was certified as a Master Inspector. She was responsible for inspecting clothing daily to be certain it met
the company’s quality control standards before it was shipped to major retailers throughout the U.S. After nine years on the job, though, Fitzgerald started looking for other career opportunities.
When It Rains
Our Goodwill employs 1,400 people in middle and west Tennessee and efforts are ongoing
to identify which of our employees are still in need of assistance. Those who need help will receive it through our Goodwill Cares program which is also partnering with first responders, and other not-for-profit agencies in the Nashville area, to provide services as requested. The north and south Jackson stores were the first to flood as the stormy weather made its way into west Tennessee on Saturday, May 1. It was all hands on deck as retail employees mopped and cleaned the stores as the waters rose. Their quick action meant both Jackson stores reopened within a day with minimal interruption to retail and donation operations in Ambassador | Spring 2010
the area. The following day, Sunday, May 2, the water continued to rise in Nashville and senior staffers, their family members, and employees used brooms, mops and squeegees trying to minimize the damage as flood waters poured into the buildings.
Far Left: Bobby Cothran, facilities manager, on the phone and in a boat outside the flooded Career Solutions building. Left: IT Program Manager, Josh Williams, surveys the parking lot at the new Career Solutions building. Lower Far Left: David Pippin, loss prevention manager, working to remove water from the Herman Street dock on Sunday, May 2. Left: Newly delivered furniture in the new Career Solutions Building after the water receded. Below: Water floods the parking lot at the corporate offices on Herman Street and surrounds the new Career Solutions building.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
We are standing on dry land again and here’s how we fared: Career Solutions: Goodwill’s Career Solutions staff, located in our 15 Career Solutions centers throughout the 46 counties Goodwill serves, were at work Monday, May 3. Counselors are now working with staffing companies who are hiring workers to provide cleaning and construction services throughout the area. Career Solutions counselors are also helping those who have found themselves in need of our job services because their place of work was forced to close due to the floods. Retail: Although several stores, including North and South Jackson, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon and Charlotte Avenue did experience flooding, all were cleaned and reopened within two days of the storms. Donations: All Donation Express Centers returned to business as usual in less than a week. The only DEC which still requires special accommodations is at the Charlotte Pike store, where the parking lot is damaged. A donations trailer is onsite during repairs.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
Corporate: Repair work got underway on the first floor of our corporate offices just days after the flood waters receded. Almost a foot of water had flooded the building and destroyed electronic equipment and files. First floor employees have temporarily relocated to open spaces within the Holt Building at 1015 Herman Street and the Story Building.
floor just days after carpet had been installed and furniture delivered. The grand opening was to take place June 9, but has been postponed. The building’s contractor begam repair and replacement operations as soon as the water receded, which was five days after the flooding. IT: 25 workstations were damaged by the flooding and 10 printers were destroyed. IT was also challenged with repairing phone and Internet service to the corporate facilities after the flood. Fortunately, the data room is in the Story Building, which was not flooded, and the server at the Holt Building was not damaged. Processing: Flood waters submerged the 1015 Herman Street transportation department and flowed through the warehouse and into the processing plant. The plant was dried, cleaned, sanitized and open within two days of the flooding, thanks to heroic efforts by members of multiple teams. All employees were able to return to work within a week of the flood.
Transportation: Many of our trucks and trailers located near the Herman Street complex were blocked in by the rising waters. Vehicles that are operational are servicing our retail and donations locations.
Accounting – As the water stood chest deep in and around our offices in Nashville, our accounting and payroll teams were determined to meet deadlines so all employees could be paid by the end of the week. Erika Hellerman, payroll manager says, “Everyone knew that with everything our employees might be going through, payroll was a priority.” She adds, “I appreciate that Joan Sundstrom (director of production) did everything possible to get the entire production payroll approved while in the middle of managing the crisis in the processing plant.”
New Career Solutions Building at 937 Herman Street: More than four feet of water flooded the new building’s first
IT – The IT team managed the electronic relocation of all the employees who work on the first floor of the Holt Building and in
transportation, where almost all computers were destroyed. Temporary equipment was installed and deployed for each workstation and new equipment was ordered and delivered within a week of the flooding. Loss Prevention – “Everyone forgot job descriptions and dropped what they were doing and did what they had to do,” says David Pippin, the loss prevention manager. Pippin added, “Despite an already crazy situation, not a single employee was injured throughout the cleaning process.” Maintenance – Led by Bobby Cothran, facilities manager, the maintenance team including Tommy Fuqua who brought his boat, Gary Laster and Michael Wisdom, were onsite Sunday, May 2, trying to move the water out of the Holt Building and ensure a safe working environment under adverse conditions. Cothran created a recovery plan within days of the flooding. Cothran was also seen carrying some workers to higher and dry ground as the water rose. Production – “Many people were here to help out on Sunday, May 2, including Michael Wright from the dock and some of his dock associates along with David Alexander, Steve Rector, John Tucker, Mike Eisenbraun, David Lifsey, Tammy Glass, and her husband, Mike,” says Joan Sundstrom, director of production. “A group of dock employees was also on hand to help and many of them came in early on Monday to get back at it,” she added. Transportation – Jason Hurst is managing the transportation department because Danny Combs, transportation manager, has substantial damage to his home due to the flooding and is not able to come in to work. Bill David, assistant transportation manager, who was on vacation, gave up several vacation days to help organize the transportation team.
Friends of Goodwill, We are gratified by your questions of concern and expressions of support for our Goodwill since the flooding of our neighborhood began Saturday, May 1. I am pleased to tell you that while we experienced significant damage and loss of product, we continue to overcome the difficulties associated with the high water, and we are meeting our mission of providing employment and training to our employees and others who approach us for help in their job search. While much of downtown Nashville and surrounding areas suffered greatly from the flooding, the most serious impact to our Goodwill was confined to our buildings at Tenth Avenue North and Herman Street. These include our corporate offices’ first floor, our production floor, docks and a warehouse. Most distressing was the damage done to our new Career Solutions Building which had been in the final stages of construction and soon to be occupied. While the overall damage was significant, work is already underway to repair all damaged areas. The news I am most pleased to report is that Goodwill experienced barely a hiccup in meeting its mission of providing employment and training services. Every one of our 15 Career Solutions centers managed to stay open during the worst of the flooding. Donation Express Centers are operating. And while three of our thirty-three Goodwill Stores experienced some water damage, they were closed for a short portion of one day for cleaning. Finally, most of our plant and transportation employees were back to work within days of the flood. Our generous communities have continued to support our mission by donating clothing and household articles for us to sell in our stores. Although Goodwill is not a first responder during disasters, it is through our partnerships with other not-for-profit organizations whose business is direct response to disasters, that we continue to offer assistance to people in need.
Top: Bobby Cothran, facilities manager, carries Mary LaHaie, director of finance, from the boat to dry ground.
Bottom Two Photos: Waterlogged items are removed from the processing plant.
We appreciate every donation we receive. This flood has been an unpleasant inconvenience for us, but its impact will be short lived. We have important work to do and people to serve. Thank you for your continued interest in, and support of, our Goodwill Industries. Sincerely, David Lifsey President and CEO, Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
Second from Top: Muddy streets after the water receded at Tenth Avenue and Herman Street.
Work and overcoming obstacles are part of the fabric of our Goodwill. Whether it is one of the people we are privileged to serve or our business itself, we believe in work. That belief is driving us to work to continue to meet our mission, to clean and make repairs to our buildings after the flood, and to be a better business.
Good Responsibility Even Goodwill Now Saves Money at Our Stores New POS system saves customers and employees time and money.
Ambassador | Spring 2010
magine reducing the time it takes for our cashiers to check out each customer by one to two minutes. That might not seem like much, but our Goodwill processed more than three million retail transactions in 2009. Now that minute or two equals hundreds of hours of time saved. A simple, yet state-of-the-art point-of-sale system, has been tested at our Charlotte Avenue store and has proven to make the check-out process faster and more accurate. “This new system has given us a lot better customer service at the register,” says David Jenkins, senior director of retail. “In the past the cashier had to key in skew numbers and calculate discounts. When that happens there’s a large margin for error.” The new system holds the
cashier to just three simple steps including punching in the department and tag color. To choose a specific item, the keys have photos making it easy to recognize each item and then the register automatically determines the price, including applicable discounts. Our IT department is responsible for maintaining the 131 registers at our 33 stores and, as Director of IT, Ed O’Kelley says, “We were tired of constantly changing configurations for our system and having to update and upgrade. It was an expensive process.” The new point-of-sale hardware provides a longer lifecycle and is easier to fix and faster to replace than the desktops that had been in
the stores. “When we set up a new store, we’re able to deploy the POS system in a day, instead of the week or two it used to take. That ease of use is proving very valuable for our Goodwill.” Jenkins adds, “Training new cashiers now takes minutes rather than hours. In fact, it’s so simple that when we train all the cashiers for the company-wide roll-out we’re doing it by conference call.” All 33 Goodwill stores should have the new system in place by the end of May. Neither O’Kelley nor Jenkins could put a price tag on the savings of time and money, except to say, “It’s priceless.”
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