Archive for July, 2011

Maintaining The Momentum

Thursday, July 28th, 2011 - By Jay Brant

In the midst of summer vacations, heat waves and back to school sales, the month of July has traditionally played host to our midyear/Q2 meetings. During a two-day period, we meet with our entire sales force, branch managers and department heads throughout the company. The meetings consist of a “state of the union” address, as well as an overview of sales, operations and AP/AR. After we talk about the PAST six months, we discuss what we want to accomplish over the course of the remaining year.

What was very interesting this year was seeing the positive results of focusing on a few key aspects of the business and following a detailed plan to reach a goal or desired outcome. The tricky part is going to be maintaining the momentum as our focus turns to other areas of need within our company. We have been careful thus far to not “bite off more than we can chew” as we undertake new projects in our CIP program, but it will be interesting to see how well we can maintain our improved ways after we move on to the next task. I’m hoping that these improvements are due to a change in thinking/culture throughout the company and not just a quick fix. Obviously the former promotes lasting results, even if our focus is shifted to other projects.

Getting Involved In Local Business Organizations

Monday, July 25th, 2011 - By Colleen Mahoney

I think most business professionals would agree that getting involved in local business organizations is very important.  A few months ago I attended an Albany/Colonie Chamber of Commerce meeting and was invited to join the Women’s Business Council.  Upon joining the council I decided to enlist myself to join their “Symposium for Excellence” committee.  This is an amazing committee that has awarded me the opportunity to work with women involved in multiple industries on a common goal—to celebrate local women.

At this year’s Symposium we are planning on working to get 2 speakers to discuss generation issues, as well as best work practices.  Another bonus of being part of this committee is that is puts me directly in front of potential customers (plumbers, pharmaceutical companies, etc).  So far being part of the WBC has proven to be an added benefit for me for many reasons, and I would recommend any young professional join a local business group both to broaden your network and to gain knowledge from other local business professionals.

How To Hire A Sales Director

Thursday, July 21st, 2011 - By Colleen Mahoney

When searching for the right employee for a position, one may rush to fill the job—or one can take their time and try to find the perfect fit. That is what we have done at Noble Gas Solutions in looking to hire our director of sales. This has been a position that we have been looking to fill for almost two years. We now feel that we have the right person for the job, and his name is Patrick O’Donnell

When looking to fill this position we wanted to hire someone who embodied a impeccable work ethic, believes in holding his employees accountable, and ultimately someone with a proven track record of sales growth as a manager. Over the past couple of years we have screened dozens of applicants and had a handful of in person interviews. After all of that we still didn’t have “our guy.” Every applicant we interviewed was lacking in some capacity. When Pat began that interview process he went through several rounds of interviews. I personally was impressed by his composure and felt that every answer he gave was perfect for Noble. Some of the questions were extremely in depth, but he still managed to answer them without skipping a beat.

Over the past couple of years while we have been searching for the right fit for this position, our president/CEO acted as our sales director with the help of our chief information officer. This was tasking on him because he was wearing several hats by running not only the sales department, but the entire company. Our employees are excited to have Pat on board but he is solely focused on growing our sales and will ultimately take Noble to the next level of expansion.

At the end of the day we wouldn’t change anything in our process in searching for our Director of Sales. Patience brought Pat to us and we are extremely excited for him to begin his career here at Noble Gas Solutions!

For more details about Patrick, read the announcement on

Organization And Security

Friday, July 15th, 2011 - By Jay Brant

Last week I was the unlucky victim of a break-in. I had stopped at the local YMCA after work and while I was inside, my car was broken into and pillaged for all its worth. Well, not exactly all its worth. The lousy crook managed to leave my iPhone, wallet and check book, which were all sitting in my glove compartment…the ultimate hiding place. What they managed to grab was my laptop, luggage from my overnight visit to our southern-most store and of all things…my work binder and yellow note pad.

For obvious reasons, having the laptop stolen was bad. Though it is locked by my top secret password, I’m sure someone with a little computer “know-how” could find their way in. And even if that happened, if sold to one of our competitors I don’t think they would find any information that could be used in their favor. Still, I’m now without 14 months of gathered information of contacts, accounts and reports that I once had at my disposal. I’ve learned my lesson and am now in the habit of backing up my information on our company server every few days. Oh, and it turns out that storing your laptop under the dash on the passenger side isn’t the safest place after all…who would have thought? I’m making a joke of it, but really this is a matter of carelessness that, in some companies, could get you fired for not protecting company information (insert joke about knowing the owner of the company). My gas guzzling SUV does not have a “trunk” that I can use to safely stow my laptop when on the road, but that’s no excuse. Find a way to protect company assets. Period.

The small yellow notepad that was stolen has now been replaced by a hardback journal style notebook, a major upgrade. Gary Halter, our VP of sales and marketing, introduced me to it after he heard about my “situation.” I think it was a well-timed hint on his part to say “you need to be better organized.” And he is definitely right.

Finally the luggage; what a disappointment for the thief. Besides my reading glasses and running shoes, they basically got some dirty clothes and a toothbrush. I don’t feel sorry for them.

Bottom line:
-Was I “unlucky?” Yes to some extent.
- Did I learn a valuable lesson? You bet.
- Was it ultimately my fault? Absolutely.
- Moral of the story… Trunkless SUV’s are killing the security of our great nation!!

Our Latest Secret To Cross Training

Friday, July 15th, 2011 - By Abydee Butler

I remember the days when my summer used to be a vacation (sigh)…

Clearly, those days have vanished and will probably not resurface until my future first child enters the first grade—summer vacation, here I come! Recently, the only glimpse I’ve had of the whole summer vacation phenomenon has been the radical number of other people actually on vacation. It’s sink-or-swim time for cross training and as a result, I think I’ve learned more about this business in the past couple months than I have during an entire year. Continuous Improvement (CI) has guided us to be operationally lean. Summer vacations haven taken us to a whole new level of operational emaciation.

Fortunately, this workforce diet is completely self-inflicted. A few months ago, we revamped our entire vacation plan, making the format more liberal and rewarding associates with more days off at all levels of seniority. We believe it is essential to our associates’ qualities of life to have ample time off. Our expectations of excellence are high and we enjoy rewarding those achievements. What we failed to fully acknowledge was how many people, now loaded with the opportunity for more days, would take a majority of this time off during the short summer season. Although organizing this coverage has been a challenge, the cross training results have been brilliant.

LinkedIn Is Addicting And Effective

Monday, July 11th, 2011 - By Colleen Mahoney

I have been on LinkedIn for some time now, but as I continue to grow my network, I am more and more impressed with this networking website. It is a great tool and has an online network of 8.5 million experienced professionals representing 130 industries! As we continue to grow, it is an amazing tool to use to try and see how to build our network at Noble. I have used it many times when trying to set up our account managers on cold calls. It has a couple times provided me with a “bridge contact” so the cold call is not so cold. It is a great way to research companies and also prospective employees! I highly recommend that any business professionals that are not already using LinkedIn, that you sign up today. I have built accounts for everyone in the sales department and it has proven to be a success.