TSP Philanthropy Roundup: Chicken, Babies, Golf, Klays and More!

At TSP, we are dedicated to giving back to the community – in fact, it’s part of our company vision. We are also dedicated to our employees, and one way we show that dedication is through participating in philanthropic initiatives that are close to their hearts. While many companies have one charitable partner set in stone, we’re all about variety and love when our employees bring ideas for TSP sponsorships and charitable events. In fact, we once even sponsored an employee’s daughter’s goat at her Future Farmers of America event! In the spirit of variety and listening closely to our employees, here are a few charity efforts TSP has been part of recently.

One of our #TSProckstars, Chuck Chick from South Carolina, recently asked if we would get involved with a shooting tournament, Klays for Kids, which is a fundraising event sponsored by “Log-A-Load for Kids” and the South Carolina Forestry Association. Chuck participated along with three of his TSP customers – also showing TSP’s strong customer relationships. TSP sponsored their team at the gold level rate of $1,000. This event was held at Backwoods Quail Club on May 7th.

In April, some of our employees participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies fundraising event at White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX. The March of Dimes works to end premature birth and other problems that threaten our babies. The organization helps provide research on the reasons why babies are born too soon or very sick and includes babies who are in the intensive care unit or suffer from premature birth health issues.

Another foundation TSP sponsored is Leighton’s Gift, a charity with a mission to turn a tragedy into something positive. Several employees volunteered their time, and even rode motorcycles with some customers in the foundation’s annual fundraiser, Leighton’s Ride. This year’s collected funds totaled more than $22,500 and that money will be used to install web cameras into the NICU at Texas Health Plano. These cameras help families stay connected to their child even when they can’t physically be present.

 

TSP also recently sponsored North Texas Christian Academy’s Chicken Chow Down & Auction event at the $2,000 platinum sponsorship level. The event was held on April 30th and was a night of family fun, full of entertainment and fundraising.

On May 14, some #TSProckstars had fun outdoors, participating in the Annual Cornerstone Golf Tournament, which is a fundraiser to help support the Cornerstone Church in Plano, TX. At the request of an employee, TSP sponsored two foursome teams and a par three hole-in-one contest.

Another charity effort TSP will contribute to via a direct employee request is the 9th Annual Kansas City Vision Walk for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, which will take place on June 18th. TSP has contributed to this cause for the second year in a row in support of an employee’s daughter who is blind.

Last but not least, TSP held a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, with proceeds benefitting the Special Olympics. This tournament kicked off TSP’s participation in the 2016 Corporate Challenge, an Olympic style competition involving as many as 25 athletic and non-athletic events, in which employees of various local companies compete. Players on the final table included: Robert Schlotterbeck, Andy Hodo, Celita Ewing, Marcello Tamburrino and Chris Shabram. These individuals will represent team #TSProckstars at the corporate challenge this fall.

Stay tuned for more philanthropy updates as we continue to give back to the community, and remember that we’re always up for suggestions!

Employee of the Quarter, Q1 – Jaime Johnson & Tiffany Thomas

Jaime Johnson and Tiffany Thomas will share the spotlight as Employees of the Quarter for Q1-2016!

Jaime has been with TSP since August 16th, 2012, most recently as Senior Generalist, Talent Management, reporting to Kristi Suddock.

Jaime is a key player on the Talent Management team.  Rarely do we pull back the curtains to take a look at this group, but TSP Talent Management is unique in that we do not have specialists who focus on one area of HR but instead utilize a lean team of generalists who are experts in all functions. With the departure of a team member in February, Jaime welcomed the challenge to absorb duties which included our US payroll.  She doesn’t hesitate to remind us of the Human side of HR.  Our People truly are Jaime’s priority.

Comments about Jaime include…

“I am so proud of Jaime.  She stepped up as a leader, learning a significant amount of new processes in a short time.  Her first time processing payroll, along with Tiffany, resulted in a March 4th payday without issues.”

“In addition, Jaime took time for status updates, to reassure me that she could handle the extra workload and that she wanted it.”

Tiffany has been with TSP since March 27, 2014, most recently as Generalist, Talent Management, also reporting to Kristi Suddock.

Tiffany has proven time and time again that she’s a #TSProckstar.  Tiffany faces challenges head on.  If she doesn’t know the answer, she knows how to find it and will do so quickly.  With our rapid growth, TSP keeps the challenges coming and Tiffany knocks them out of the park.  TSP family members who have joined us in the last 2 years will identify Tiffany as their first contact with the company.

Comments about Tiffany include…

“I am very proud of Tiffany.  She brings a renewed energy to the team and recently stepped up to learn a significant amount of new processes in a short time.  Tiffany spent hours documenting and updating the HR process manual, a lifeline to our daily processes should anyone need to unexpectedly back us up.”

“When it came time for Jaime to process the March 4th payroll, Tiffany was right by her side, providing guidance from the process notes.”

Both will receive a $250.00 award along with a certificate and they will be recognized on digital signage in the TSP Corporate Office.  Congratulations Jaime and Tiffany!

#tbt: The Day TSP Received its First Service Ticket

Omar Gonzalez and Tinh Nguyen, TSP’s third and fourth employees (after co-founders Rick Skaggs and Frank Gonzalez) have been with TSP from the very start. When Omar and Tinh, reflect on their career path over the years, both #TSProckstars describe their experiences as a blessing in disguise and view TSP as a second family.

TSP co-founders Rick and Frank have a special relationship with Omar and Tinh that spans back to their years working together at Honeywell. They all worked together to build a solid computer support branch, which was shut down in 2002.

Rick and Frank were asked to let go of their talented team of engineers, which included Omar and Tinh’s positions. Instead of letting their talented employees move in different directions, Rick and Frank took a risk of starting a venture of their own, developing TSP and getting Omar and Tinh their jobs back.

Both Omar and Tinh recall this time as a daunting moment in their careers.

“It was a little scary. For those that know me, I am also a huge risk-taker. I love to gamble and play craps! I explained to Rick and Frank how it was going to be dicey for me to not take a paycheck for a couple months while the company was getting its feet on the ground, but I couldn’t turn down this opportunity of starting something new,” said Omar.

For the first few months of TSP’s founding, Omar and Tinh didn’t have many work assignments.

“Rick would come in every morning and ask us – ‘Do we have a call? Do we have a call?’ For one week, Omar and I did nothing but clean and complete inventory and organized all the spare parts. We had never spent so much time together! Omar and I kept waiting for something to happen so we could work,” said Tinh.

After much (maybe too much!) cleaning, organizing, and bonding, Omar and Tinh received their first CSC ticket. Tinh remembers that the call came in after lunch, while Omar had briefly slipped out of the office (Omar remembers the call a tad differently, as they often like to joke around about who was in the room to field the call first).

 

Regardless, they both clearly remember that the call was from Raytheon, and it was for a 4GB hard drive for a Sun Sparc 20 system. Both Omar and Tinh will never forget their first work order and knew it was the start of something special.

“We certainly remember that it was the beginning of something special. The week after that one call, we received another call from TI for a bid, and that is where the (work) flood started,” said Omar. “From there, we continued to grow and were able to hire other engineers who had worked with us at Honeywell! Today, TSP has grown to over 600 employees.”

Omar and Tinh have continued to develop both personally and professionally with this company, and each truly value every opportunity they have been given by Rick and Frank. The two are proud to be TSP’s first non-owner employees, and even more proud of where the company is today.

“There is a lot of pressure in our day-to-day job activities, but the one objective Rick and Frank have always maintained is to take care of our customers. That has always been instilled within us both at Honeywell and now at TSP. If I had to go back to the last 14 years, I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Tinh.

How Does TSP Keep Service Costs So Competitive?

by: Chris Hainey, Critical Teams Operations Coordinator, Enterprise Solutions, TSP

My official job title is “Critical Teams Operations Coordinator.” In other words, I help manage the engineers who are there to stop the bleeding and resurrect functionality when technology doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. My focus is on issue resolution for the end user, keeping maintenance schedules in line, implementing new systems, making sure ticket turnarounds are quick, and documenting everything so the next problem solver can find the answer even faster.

For more than ten years, I have been working in IT with companies such as Texas Instruments, Bank of America, and PepsiCo, but one thing has really made TSP stand out as a great company. TSP is stellar when it comes to choosing awesome team members, then using the people they already have to meet emerging needs.

So many companies see a need develop and automatically bring someone in from the outside to take care of it, but TSP looks inside the organization first to find the right resources and solve problems. It’s easy for us to shop for solutions in our own pool of talent because we know we already have great people who can handle new challenges and are eager to keep developing their skills.

TSP deliberately scouts employees to train for extended service, which is part of why we’re able to be so agile when it comes to meeting developing needs. Looking inside first is part of why we can start helping clients with additional services so quickly, and internal talent scouting and continual cross training is why we can cover extended PTO time for employees when they need it. We can do more with less without disrupting service to the client, and we also deliver incredible services at a lower cost than competitors.

Using what we have empowers engineers to spot other areas where we know we can make life easier for clients. We’re diverse and continually achieving updated training, so we’re more likely to notice ways we can improve the way we help clients. We put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and try to think of how we can make things better.

Every company has their own way of doing things, but TSP’s philosophy of investing in internal talent is part of what makes us special. Rather than spend more time and resources shopping outside when a need emerges, we save time and money by focusing on the talent we have. It’s a philosophy that makes employees happy and gives clients better service at a great cost.

Tech and the Art of Troubleshooting

By Chris Kidd, Sr. Remote Desktop Specialist, Enterprise Solutions, TSP

Recently, someone asked me about the hardest problem I have ever had to solve at work. Since I have worked on helpdesks and desktop support for nearly 20 years, most of what I do is about solving problems, so I had a long list to choose from.

About a year ago, I was working with a client who kept getting locked out of the enterprise environment he was working on. It happened again and again, which was obviously disrupting his productivity. Sometimes this happens in enterprise environments because of the way active directories and exchange systems are set up, but the problem was so persistent that I ended up talking to the guy every day until the problem was fixed.

I did research, talked with the network guys, viewed logs, and did a lot of detective work. Finally, every possibility was whittled down until we coordinated with our local desktop team. It turned out that he was running a piece of hardware that wasn’t approved, making him an automatic hotspot, which kicked him out of the system again and again. It took a bit of dedication and creative thinking, but there is nothing like the feeling you get when you solve a problem—especially when it’s a hard one.

Get to the point and don’t waste time
My personal philosophy is about getting things done as efficiently as possible. Don’t go through unneeded steps if you can just get straight to the point and just fix the issue. I like working for TSP because the company shares that same spirit of doing business, which is to get the end user’s tech fixed and back to life as quickly as possible. I like to find a solution with the client over the phone, and if I have to take a step back and do some research, I always try to find a fix the same day.

Stay on top of what’s going on
A lot of tech service businesses are too big to respond to IT changes, which means their techs aren’t as prepared to answer questions and adapt to emerging environments. For me, TSP is a “just right” size because we’re big enough to access major resources and training tools, yet agile enough to stay on top of new technology developments and remain connected with other parts of the team. TSP is willing to take calculated risks, which means we have the flexibility to try vetted potential solutions and make breakthroughs. We’re always right on the cusp and checking out new ideas and concepts. IT is a trend business, and we have the capability to see what’s going on and respond.

Get to know the client
A lot of tech help is remote, which leads to incomplete or inappropriate solutions when clients call for help. TSP works onsite with clients, so we know how they operate. Knowing the environment means you can have a better sense of what might be causing an issue, which makes it that much easier to get to a fast, complete fix.

2016 Corporate Chili Cook-Off

Another year, another infamous chili cook-off at TSP headquarters! Since our people and our company culture is a huge part of who we are as an organization, we were happy to have our most celebrated and mouthwatering internal contest, the 8th Annual Chili Cook-Off, at Dallas HQ on Friday, February 5, 2016.

Not only did the cook-off help us celebrate Super Bowl weekend early, as our corporate Dallas employees know, this notorious cook-off can get a tad competitive, providing us all with some (always welcome) Friday fun.

TSP provided the delicious fixins to enjoy with the entrant chili dishes. In the spirit of always going bigger and better and listening to our people, we even added a cornbread submission this year to enjoy along with all the chili recipes. There were a total of nine cornbread submissions and 12 chili recipes for all employees to enjoy and taste test.

All Dallas employees located at TSP’s corporate office judged the chili concoctions.  After some tough competition and several helpings, Chris Skaggs received first place for his chili and Eileen Pena received first place for her cornbread. Eileen Pena also won second place for her chili recipe, while Ryan Bullock received second place for his cornbread mix. Congrats to our 2016 chili kings and queen! We’re all already craving your winning recipes again.

Winners in past years have included:

  • 2009 – Omar Gonzalez
  • 2010 – David Sims
  • 2011 – Annette Lozuk
  • 2012 – John Hills
  • 2013 – Michele Benson
  • 2014 – Annette Lozuk
  • 2015 – Karen McElwain

While TSP employees and their fellow #TSProckstars were munching on chili and cornbread, CEO Frank Gonzalez and CFO Keith McElwain played a game of cornhole in the hallway…never a dull moment at TSP, especially on a Friday!

We truly enjoy hosting fun employee-centered events like this one, aimed at keeping morale and engagement high. As you all know, we value our positive company culture and hope you (and your hearty appetites) enjoyed this year’s cook-off. And we hope that our remote employees enjoyed following along the fun on social media. We already can’t wait until next year!

The Competition Heats Up Among TSP Employees During the Dallas Hot Chocolate Run

TSP loves to ensure that our #TSProckstars are healthy and happy. As part of this company goal, TSP often participates in different charitable runs in the community, including the Hot Chocolate 5k/15k Run, which we participated in last weekend, on February 6, 2016.

The Hot Chocolate Run gives runners the option to run a 5k or a 15k, and start and finish in Fair Park amongst Dallas’ biggest chocolate aficionados. As an additional push for our #TSProckstars to participate in the Hot Chocolate Run, we sponsored the entrance fees for our employees. We value the health, wellness and happiness of our people, so supporting them in this way was a no brainer for us.

One of our valued and longtime employees, Karen McElwain (our senior accounts payable specialist), decided to use the Hot Chocolate Run to improve her personal health. She used to refer to herself as un-athletic, and certainly not one to run races. Last year, Karen was moved (literally!) to join the TSP team and train to run in the Hot Chocolate run for the first time, opting for the 5k.

After completing the 5k in 2015, Karen decided to take her newfound perspective on wellness and interest in fitness, and sign up to run the 15k in 2016. She was inspired by the other runners and dedicated herself to training for this race. She even participated in other races with TSP last year (including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Walk for Alzheimer’s) to prepare for the 15k Hot Chocolate Run. She also opted for runs and walks on her lunch breaks, creating the work-life balance that we encourage all of our people to strive for.

“Before last year, I had never entered a race in my life,” said Karen. “I chose to participate in these races with my co-workers and gained a new perspective on my health and wellness thanks to TSP and my supportive coworkers. TSP has helped me to set new goals for myself and exceed them, both in personal and professional life!”

At TSP we always encourage our #TSProckstars to participate together as a team. The runs in particular help us bond while also encouraging employee wellness and improving teamwork through experiences outside of the office. Stay tuned to learn about our next fun run or wellness initiative, and let us know if you come across one and are interested in bringing it to the attention of the Fun Committee!

Employee of the Quarter, Q4 – Dave Stafford

Dave Stafford is the Employee of the Quarter for Q4-2015!  Dave has been with TSP since December 31st, 2010, most recently as an Operations Coordinator in IAS, reporting to Elwyn Green.

Dave has been a key player in the success of one of TSP’s clients. Because of Dave’s reputation, this client opened their doors to TSP at three additional plants, making them one of TSP’s largest customers! Dave has expanded his value beyond quality control systems and his facility relies heavily on his expertise in these areas.

Comments about Dave’s service include…

“I want to extend our appreciation to TSP regarding the support with our equipment repair that failed the weekend of 11/21/2015, Dave is a very valuable asset and a great team member helping us with this repair.  Without his support, our job could not be done in the time frame we accomplished.”

And…

“Dave and I work so well together that I sometimes forget he still works for someone else. This is a huge benefit because Dave has many years of valuable experience and knowledge. Again, we value the TSP team greatly.”

Dave will receive a $250.00 award along with a certificate and he will be recognized on digital signage in the TSP Corporate Office.  Congratulations Dave!

The Best Way to Gut Check Your Company Culture = An Employee Referral Program

An employee referral program may be the single best indicator of a successful, thriving, and envious company culture. If employees want their friends to work at your company, KUDOS, you’re doing something right! Your company should take it as a huge compliment if your people are referring their friends. Not only should you take it as a compliment, you should encourage it.

According to our good friend Merriam-Webster, the simple definition of a friend is a person who you like and enjoy being with; a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or a charity).

I’d be highly suspicious of anyone who I called a friend recommending I come work at their horrendous company and be subjected to the terrible environment and culture. It just doesn’t happen: friends don’t let friends work at bad companies. That should be a bumper sticker or something!

I’ll readily admit, we were skeptical of implementing an employee referral program at TSP. Would we get hundreds of unqualified resumes? Would employees be upset if we didn’t interview/select their referral? Would turnover increase and cliques form? If you dangle the almighty dollar in front of someone, would integrity be thrown out the window and referrals get submitted just to earn a buck? The list could go on and on.

Even with all the unknowns, there are many advantages to implementing a robust employee referral program. For one, referred employees are already somewhat connected. They aren’t walking into a completely strange environment. Sure, the referring employee gets some money in their pocket, but they get something much more than that. They get to say, “I got my buddy a job!” and “I helped our company fill a position!” That kind of satisfaction is priceless.

The other thing we found out is when an employee refers their friend, they are putting their neck on the line too. They are vouching for their friend saying, “I trust this person and you should too.” We’ve found employees take that aspect very seriously. Good employees don’t let bad employees work at good companies!

Liz Ryan, a contributor at Forbes, said it best, “Employee referral is the best recruiting channel I know. It is certainly not the only one, but it’s the only one that reinforces and celebrates your employees in a tangible way for contributing to your company’s success.”

Since we started the program just under two years ago, 144 candidates have been referred by our employees. Of those 144, we’ve hired 43 employees and to date paid out $14,750 to our referring employees. While we’ve seen some great initial success, and for that we are proud, there is definitely more work to be done. Many of our employees are remote and with one physical office location, communicating open positions to employees scattered across the country can be challenging.

Bottom line, we love to pay employees for a job well done, whether it be through our Caught In The Act recognition program or through employee referral bonuses. We are glad we implemented an employee referral program and look forward to it growing in referrals AND payouts in 2016 and beyond.

Do you know someone?…We’re hiring!

#PrayForTexas – How You Can Help!

By: Kristi Suddock, HR Manager

I am writing to let you all know that at least two of our TSP family have experienced catastrophic property losses from Saturday night’s tornados in the Dallas area. We still have information coming in, so there may be more. At this time, we are not aware of any injuries and for that, we are thankful.

What can we do?
Unless you are accompanied by an affected family member or have volunteered as a part of an approved group, it is best to stay out of the area. Thank you to our #TSProckstars who are taking PTO this week to support the effort through local churches and programs in areas most affected by the storms.

If you would like to donate food, water, boxes, bags, gloves, masks, eye protection or boots, it is best to provide those to shelters and groups set up to help the victims of this storm. Charities will be overwhelmed by clothing donations, so it is suggested we wait on donating those until later.

Gift cards are the best option right now.  Victims have very basic needs such as underwear and toiletries. If you would like to donate gift cards to our TSP employees affected by the tornados, please send them to the Corporate office (17177 Preston Road, Ste. 320, Dallas, TX 75248) c/o Kristi Suddock. HR will make sure we get the gift cards directly to our affected team members.

Our employees will also need some time to sort through belongings, work with insurance and clean property. TSP has a PTO Gifting program if you have unused PTO which you would like to donate. Here are the details:

The purpose of Paid Time Off (PTO) gifting is to provide paid time off work to full-time, regular employees who have exhausted their own PTO due to a major life event and do not have accrued PTO available for medical needs or family time.

If an employee would like to share his/her accrued PTO with another employee, they should send an email to your manager requesting to share up to 16 hours and the name of the employee receiving the PTO gift (in this case, say Dallas Tornado Relief). Your manager will then forward his/her approval to HR at tsp_hr@mytsp.net for processing. Employees gifting PTO cannot go negative in their own PTO accrual bank when sharing with others.

Approval by HR will be on a case-by-case basis. PTO gifting is not intended to be used for short-term leaves due to routine and non-extraordinary situations or for time off covered by Worker’s Compensation. Gifted PTO will not be paid in cash, including upon exit of either the gift provider or the recipient, unless required by state law.

UPDATE: You responded, and in a big way! Not even 24 hours after notifying our #TSProckstars, there have been over 800 hours of PTO donated by 42 different individuals. This simple gesture speaks volumes for the type of company we are and the type of people we employ. We are so proud our product is our people!

If you were personally affected by this storm and you have a need, please let your manager know.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our TSP family as they sort through this disaster.

Kristi

From Our Founders to Our Employees

Season’s Greetings,

This holiday season is a time of both reflection and anticipation for TSP.  We leave behind a truly successful and memorable year and eagerly await all that the future holds for us in the new year.

The year 2015 was filled with change, challenge, growth, and excitement, but as we reflect on the successes we’ve seen, we are reminded of the creativity, passion, discipline, strength, and significance of our employees.  Throughout the year, your dedication and efforts made a huge difference and we recognize that we could not have accomplished a successful year without you.  Your commitment to TSP and our customers helped us to drive revenue and growth while providing unparalleled service and consistency.  Truly an outstanding achievement, and for that, we thank you!

As we look ahead, the future looks bright for TSP, and we believe that the best is yet to come.  We have a clear strategy consisting of organic growth by maintaining and cultivating our existing customer base as well as new customer growth through the emerging business and partnerships.  Simply put, we need your help as we recognize that our success depends on your success.

In the past year, we have made a significant investment in people, processes, and tools that were necessary for our success, and you can expect to see a continued effort in these areas in the coming year, all aimed to add value to our employees and serve our customers for many years to come.

For more than 13 years, TSP has been making history – a history that you have helped write, year after year.  And as we begin the next chapter of our story, we all have an opportunity to make a significant impact on our journey together through continued collaboration, and a portfolio of services and solutions that’s stronger than ever.  With that, come January, we will be eager to get started, and we look forward to working with you as we continue to build TSP bigger and stronger than ourselves in 2016 and beyond.

In the meantime, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season!

Frank Gonzalez & Rick Skaggs

Transforming the Central Help Desk to a Central Heroes Desk

Part of our vision is to honor our employees, and you’ll often hear people at TSP say our product is our people. This couldn’t be more apparent during customer service appreciation week, a week-long celebration for some of our employees in our enterprise solutions business unit. According to the official customer service week site, during this week, your organization can:

  • boost morale, motivation and teamwork
  • reward front line reps
  • raise companywide awareness of the importance of customer service
  • thank other departments for their support
  • and, remind customers of your commitment to customer satisfaction

This annual appreciation week is held nationally the first full week of October. However, TSP celebrates the first week of November due to customer commitments and to coincide with the Help Desk Institute banquet ,which is held the first Thursday in December.

Under the leadership of Celita Ewing, TSP field service manager, help desk operations; the central help desk was transformed into the central heroes desk this year. Employees enjoyed snacks, cold drinks and fun activities throughout the week. Breakfast and lunch were also brought in on various days for the entire team.

In all, about 35 TSP employees enjoyed the festivities, and recognition included teams from our level I support, critical teams support, remote administration desktop support, and operators.

This year every employee recognized as part of this week received at least a $10.00 gift card…a fact Ewing is very proud of.

A tradition for TSP during customer service appreciation week is the Wii bowling tournament. Employees pair up and brackets are completed – it’s our own version of March Madness, just in November! Teams bowled strikes and spares until eventually the winners were crowned. Raul Ramos and Jeff Brown officially get Wii Bowling Tournament Champion bragging rights for the upcoming year.

The week led up to a Friday photo booth where support teams donned superhero gear and took photos with one another. We also announced TSP’s nominations for the local DFW HDI chapter awards. Alex Ayad and Kristopher Rodriques were nominated for Analyst of the Year and Kennedy Maranga was nominated for Desktop Technician of the Year. There were 32 people in the DFW area nominated for Analyst of the Year and 20 people nominated for the Desktop Technician of the Year award.

 

The 2015 Awards Banquet was held Thursday, December 3, 2015 at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. Each year the banquet takes the time to recognize those industry professionals that go above and beyond to make the customer experience one of a kind. Attendees this year had the opportunity to network with industry professionals, enjoy a great meal, and participate in some casino games.

Customer service appreciation week was a huge hit, not only in recognizing our employees for a job well done, but galvanizing them for another fantastic support year ahead of us.

Employee of the Quarter, Q3 – Jared Pipgras

Jared Pipgras is the Employee of the Quarter for Q3-2015.  Jared has been with TSP since September 20th, 2010 as a Storage Engineer on the TIP team in Shared Solutions, reporting to Melissa Rafeedie.

Comments about Jared’s service include…

“[Brian Yee] reached out over the weekend asking for assistance with re-configuring a system in Quincy. Jared responded quickly and agreed to the work. As soon as he was looped in with NetApp, he jumped head first into solving the issue, which took two days. Overall, NetApp was extremely pleased with his work ethic and the end result.”

Jared also received direct feedback from NetApp employees

“Jared, your over the top support was outstanding stepping into the job you did over the last two days.  Your efforts were no less than herculean to include a complete system rebuild and real-time interaction with the customer!  Through an arduous process in a new area of Boeing, we had several miss-steps on both Boeing and NetApp sides of this engagement that preceded your being asked to help.  Your jumped right in and your actions yesterday got us firmly back on the right track.  I cannot thank-you enough.”
Rich Patterson – NetApp PS Manager

“Jared and the TSP team,
Thanks for going above and beyond.  You really helped us out of a hole and we are looking pretty good!.
Thanks again.”
Brian Yee – Partner Development Manager – Western & Central US

Jared will receive a $250.00 award along with a certificate and he will be recognized on digital signage in the TSP Corporate Office.

Why TSP Loves Hiring Veterans

TSP doesn’t just love hiring military veterans—we’re part owned and operated by a military veteran. Rick Skaggs, who co-founded TSP in 2002 with longtime friend and business associate Frank Gonzalez, launched his career with service in the U.S. Army. During his time in the military, Skaggs received numerous military awards and also earned a Certification for Advanced Electronics.

Military services prepare veterans for a huge variety of careers. Veterans work hard and are motivated, disciplined, ethical team players that are ready to handle whatever comes their way.

We believe in diversity and inclusion.
TSP is a certified minority owned business, and hiring a diverse workforce is something Rick Skaggs and Frank Gonzalez have been committed to from day one. A diverse workforce makes us stronger as a business and as a team. When people come from different backgrounds, they each offer unique perspectives that can lead to incredible ideas. Veterans are especially good at working with all kinds of people who represent different races, genders, geographic origins, religions, and more. They know how to cooperate and work together to accomplish great things.

Veterans excel at understanding and improving procedures.
Veterans have a special perspective on operational systems and procedures. They have a way of seeing how everything works as a whole, plus offer ideas on how to improve organizational processes. Veterans have a strong sense of accountability and responsibility, which enriches system functionality at all levels.

Veterans know how to thrive despite adversity.
TSP specializes in emergency maintenance for enterprise solutions, shared solutions, and industrial automation solutions. Since we’re the people who are there to fix the problem—and fix it fast—it’s good to have engineers who know what they’re doing and can stay cool in a crisis. Clients often praise our engineers for our emergency services because we not only resolve issues quickly, we also stay calm and positive through the process. We don’t just fix the issue, we keep clients informed about the status so they can manage as well as possible and plan accordingly.

Veterans are all about integrity.
Military service often inspires the best in people, and we respect the integrity veterans exemplify. Many veterans even have formal security clearance, which adds another layer of quality and ethics to our team.

The Catfish Cookout – The Resurgence of a TSP Tradition

Our people and our company culture is a huge part of who TSP is as an organization, You’ll often see in our marketing a simple yet poignant phrase – our PRODUCT is our PEOPLE, and we believe that wholeheartedly. We don’t make or manufacture anything; we don’t write code. We are a services-only company and we can’t deliver outstanding customer service without our employees.

They are the lifeblood of our organization. When they speak, we listen. We try to recognize as many of our #TSProckstars as we can through our Caught-In-The-Act recognition program.

Since we are nationwide company, unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to fly all 600 of our employees to Dallas. Not to mention, by taking our valuable people off customer sites, our important customers would be without service and support! Many times we can’t all physically be together but through our social initiatives and the help of technology, we encourage camaraderie in other non-traditional ways.

During the early years of TSP (when we used to walk to school uphill both ways, and only got an orange in our stocking for Christmas), we held an annual catfish cookout each fall. Originally this was a customer appreciation event, but it morphed into more of an employee appreciation event.

Unfortunately, as TSP continued to grow, the feasibility of continuing the catfish fry tradition in its current state was not sustainable. We fully realize that as we get bigger and bigger, things have to change; however, it’s very important to us that we retain and nurture our strong beliefs and culture – it’s part of our vision.

In fact, our mission, vision, and core value statements all came directly from our employees. When we started our rebranding effort, we enlisted the help of a public relations firm, The Power Group. One of the first projects we undertook was to formalize and evangelize what and who TSP is as a company. Over the course of an entire day, representatives from The Power Group met with a group of TSP employees from all different walks of life – some long-term, some newly hired, some opinionated, some wallflowers.

Not only did we get a fresh and completely relevant set of mission, vision, and core values, but we also heard something else resoundingly loud – “Bring back the catfish cookout!”

We listened, and with the help of our tremendous Fun Committee, The Catfish Cookout 2015 became a reality. This was no small feat, but together we fed about 70 of our #TSProckstars all the catfish, shrimp, corn, potatoes, hushpuppies, and dirty rice they could eat.

We also had a raffle and a DJ to provide entertainment. You might have seen a YouTube video of some of people dancing the Cupid Shuffle. Or maybe even a Twitter video of one of our co-founders doing the Stanky Leg. We promise that our services and solutions are better than our dance skills!

It was a great day with beautiful weather, fantastic friends, and delicious food. Catfish Cookout 2016 is already being planned…stay tuned!

Employee Survey Results Show High Employee Satisfaction at TSP

At TSP we pride ourselves on being a place where talented individuals can grow rewarding careers. We make it a priority to listen to both our customers and our employees – it’s led to our success, in large part. For three years now, we have submitted to The Dallas Morning News’ Top Places to Work. As part of this submission, we participate in a comprehensive employee survey that measures employee satisfaction levels. WorkplaceDynamics is a third-party company that surveys over 6,000 companies each year and has surveyed us the past three years. While we unfortunately did not make The Dallas Morning News’ Top Places to Work this year, we did receive some encouraging and impressive feedback that we wanted to share.

Encouraging employee participation:

  • 66% response rate
  • 640 comments and improvement ideas 

TSP is higher than the national IT services benchmark in the following areas:

  • Agreeing there is minimal negativity is in the workplace (30% higher)
  • Believing the company does things efficiently and well (24% higher)
  • Overall work satisfaction (13% higher)
  • Sensing flexibility to manage work/life balance (10% higher)
  • Believing the company operates by strong ethics and values (8% higher)

WorkplaceDynamics also compared our 2014 results with this year’s results, gauging internal improvement. The results showcased the constant improvement of employee engagement and satisfaction.

Improvement in responses, 2014 to 2015:

  • 10% more employees believe TSP is going in the right direction
  • 9% more employees believe their managers care about their concerns
  • 7% more employees believe their new ideas are encouraged
  • 6% improvement in alignment
  • 5% improvement in execution

Although we did not receive a Top Places to Work ranking this year, we do take these surveys seriously and listen to feedback. We are constantly using the results from our survey to improve operations, better our company’s culture, and find new ways to engage employees. We understand people are our product, and constantly work to satisfy and even delight our people – differentiating us from the average IT services company.

Fundraisers Supporting Charitable Organizations Become Par for the Course for TSP

Combine a group of golf aficionados with a beautiful day in North Texas, and you have yourself a perfect day for a golf tournament. Throw in the opportunity to raise money for not only one, but two, worthy charities, and we at TSP are all game. It was like we scored back to back birdies with these charitable giving opportunities!

At TSP, we are always looking for opportunities to assist the communities in North Texas in any way we possibly can. It’s part of our vision – to invest time and money into the communities where we live, work and play. So when the idea of sponsoring two golf tournaments that support such great causes, we felt like we nailed it in the charitable events department!

This week we were more than thrilled to participate in the 16th Annual Texas Instruments Alumni Association (TIAA) Charity Golf Tournament at Woodbridge Golf Club in Wylie, TX. One of the goals of the Texas Instruments Alumni Association (TIAA) is to provide communications, programs, services, and activities of interest to TI and former TIers around the world. This year’s tournament benefits two worthwhile charities – The United Way and The Senior Source.

United Way’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. They go on to say, “We all benefit when a child succeeds in school, when someone finds a job that will help them provide for their family, or when people are able to access quality, affordable health care.” The mission of The Senior Source is to improve the quality of life of older adults in the greater Dallas area through protection, eldercare, financial security, advocacy, volunteerism, and employment services.

It was a great day to stand together with the community and play golf. Many of us at TSP love playing golf. Don’t worry, none of us plan on quitting our day jobs in an attempt to become the next Tiger Woods!
Last week we were also on our golf game, teeing off at the 10th Annual James & Betsy Wood Golf Tournament, hosted by the North Texas Christian Academy (NTCA) at the Stonebridge Country Club in McKinney.

NTCA is funded through tuition, generous donations and fundraisers like this golf tournament. The school is committed to offering a balanced school experience for all students with rigorous courses and youth development program so students can succeed. We were happy to serve a tee sponsor and put together a foursome to play in the tournament.

As a bunch of amateurs, we participated in the tournaments teeing it up, hitting a couple of zingers and hoping for a hole-in-one and for most of us, avoiding a complete whiff. Honestly, no one cared about having good hits, we were just there to support and have fun. We gave each other a few mulligans, but among our talented team, it still felt like we were playing the majors.

We are looking forward to the next round of tournaments to support our North Texas community!

A Chat With Peggy Butler

Peggy Butler knows Richardson, TX like the back of her hand, helped found a company in Belgium, and at 76 years old, completed a 5K in the biting cold of February just as well as TSP’s youngest. She has served as an administrative assistant of the corporate office since 2009, and does not have any plans of slowing down.

Her relationship at TSP was a bit of a seamless transition from her years at Texas Instruments (TI) as a help desk and production stop analyst. When approached about joining TSP, Peggy had two options: join the company or retire; perhaps the one feat she seems unable to achieve.

She joined TSP and credits her decision to her “respect for the owners and company management.”

Peggy grew up in Waukegan, IL with the bug to serve and support her fellow man. She enlisted in the Air Force and acted as a training instructor of chemical, biological, and radiological warfare, and drill from 1958-1961. She moved to Texas in the 1970s and began working at TI.

She often recounts her experiences there while entertaining interviewees, IT industry dignitaries, and corporate team members from our front office.

Having attempted retirement a few times, her desire to help others always draws her back. One of her most rewarding work experiences, she remembers, is working with a small and family-oriented group at TI to set up the help desk.

“TSP reminds me of my early days at TI,” she said.

She heavily considered retirement before coming on at TSP, but she could not pass up on the “offer you can’t refuse.”

“I love the company and the people,” she added. Being passionate in the workplace is anything but commonplace in today’s grass is greener society. Peggy would like to offer this advice to the young and ambitious.

When determining where to commit your hard work, she suggests the following:

  • Investigate the company
  • Inquire about its benefits
  • Observe the people, and determine if they are happy
  • Decide what you will contribute

She believes that these qualities will ensure making the right choice; a choice that one can commit to.

She also has a bit of sage advice on aging. “Just because you get older doesn’t mean that you still don’t have something to offer. [Remember] you can be valuable. Don’t just sit around and watch yourself get old. Young people can teach us. I’ve got these brilliant grandkids that teach me every day.”

We are so proud to work with Peggy.  She imparts nurturing and a brand of wisdom and spunk that makes working at TSP that much more fun.