Employees of the Quarter, Q4 – Karen McElwain and Lisa Ragsdale

Karen McElwain is the co-Employee of the Quarter for Q4-2014.  Karen has been with TSP since August 18, 2004 and is a Senior Accounts Payable Specialist at the TSP Corporate Office.

Some comments about Karen’s service include…

“Karen has been an integral and amazing part of the often overlooked and often thankless financial aspect of what TSP does.  She has on countless occasions helped my engineers navigate the pitfalls of CONCUR, and working with Enterprise to use the corporate card on file to get billing done correctly. 

She handles an aspect of the company that is absolutely vital to TSP’s continued success, but is one that many of us take for granted.  I cannot state enough what a pleasure it is to know I can rely on her to help my engineers and I when we run into snags due to billing issues.”

Lisa Ragsdale is the co-Employee of the Quarter for Q4-2014.  Lisa has been with TSP since September 9, 2013 and is a Mobility Service Agent who works in our Enterprise Solutions business unit which services one of TSP’s largest customers, TI.

Some comments about Lisa’s service include…

“Lisa is a great asset to the team because of her excellent customer service skills, ability to troubleshoot and resolve a wide range of issues; anywhere from password resets to more advanced issues, great attitude, and willingness to help others. She is a great representative of the Central Help Desk and TSP.  Her work ethic, skills, knowledge, competency, persistence, willingness to teach and learn continue to raise the bar for everyone working at the Central Help Desk.”

Our customers always leave raving survey responses after working with Lisa on their issue.

  • “Lisa gave excellent support. She resolved my problem. She was great in communicating with me. Great service. Very high marks.”
  • “Lisa has an excellent customer centric personality and she is super knowledgeable!”
  • “Lisa Ragsdale helped me, she was very courteous, very knowledgeable, and she solved my problem in an instant…THANK YOU!!!!!”
  • “Fantastic service.  Very quick and it worked the first try.  This is exactly what everyone wants when they call the help desk.  Thank you Lisa.”

Both Karen and Lisa will receive a $250.00 award along with a certificate and they will be recognized on digital signage in the TSP Corporate Office.

Improving Communication in Big Business

One of the greatest causes of headaches and mishaps in any relationship—business or personal—is lack of good communication. Mixed signals, jargon, ambiguous phrases, and two-thumb typing can make it difficult to develop meaningful dialogue. When your business is spread across multiple states and countries, communication has to be clear or the company’s morale and service level can sink.

Encourage listening.
People may not always agree, but to have a productive conversation, everyone has to listen. That means less talking and a lot more paying attention. When employees feel like they have room to speak, they’re more apt to share helpful thoughts and ideas. Listening creates a constructive environment that benefits everyone.

Choose the best means to talk.
Texting can be convenient, but it doesn’t always get the job done. Whenever possible, TSP encourages employees to meet face to face for important meetings. When we can see and hear one another clearly, everything gets a lot easier. Phones and email are great, but talking face to face, even if it’s via video chat, often ends up being more productive. Fewer messages lost in translation equal more productivity and less frustration.

Create teams.
If five hundred people reported to one manager, there would be total chaos. Breaking up into teams is logical and more manageable for both employees and leadership, and it also helps communication channels stay clear and meaningful. You’re more likely to share an idea with your immediate boss than with the CEO, and when teams are organized, communication has a defined flow that makes information easier to sort and digest.

Encourage information networks.
Message boards, social media, and other internal communication platforms are a great way to share information and preserve it for later generations of new employees. It’s easier for employees to run projects when they can post and reference updates and important topics on one clean page instead of being bombarded with plagues of email. Having a solid virtual venue to share information encourages better dialogue and creates reference-ready records for anyone who has the same question later.

Put jargon in the junk folder.
Sometimes jargon is a natural and necessary series of shortcuts in any specialized industry, but there’s a difference between helpful insider terms and words that just clutter a conversation. Some corporate cultures adore jargon, but fluff words end up frustrating people. Rather than encourage jargon, we encourage people to say what they mean. And then we try to listen!

Get Active

By:  Tiffany Thomas, HR Generalist

The journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step. Are you ready to move? We certainly are! Members of TSP’s corporate office have decided to get active by participating in America’s sweetest race, the Hot Chocolate Run. Benefitting, Ronald McDonald House, runners and walkers will get moving for a good cause, and we challenge you to add more physical activity to your day.

Why walk?

The American Heart Association says walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily helps:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes


A tiny step can equal one healthy stride. The key is to set small and manageable goals that fit your lifestyle.

You may not be 5k ready today and that is okay. Use what you have and start where you are! At TSP, we take pride in having healthy employees.

Our Senior Accounts Payable Specialist, Karen McElwain and other TSP employees have implemented walking into their workday and are gaining quite the following.

“I would like to be able to chase after my grandchildren and the way things are now, I won’t be able to. The Hot Chocolate Run has given me a goal and maybe after completing it, I’ll be able to do the next one and the next one, and change my life for the better,” Karen said.

Karen and other TSP employees have started walking together to keep each other accountable, and reach rewarding and healthy goals.

“I only wanted to try 15 minutes of walking,” she added. “But when I finished, I’d walked for 22 minutes.”

A friend by your side makes walking fun, and enables you to meet your goals quickly and consistently.

Many have decided to get healthy this year. We want you to be the one to make it happen! Set a small goal today towards becoming happier and healthier. It’s one of the few resolutions with lifetime benefits.