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Work hard, play hard, reward outstanding results

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PHOTO/ROSE ROSSELLO, ROSSELLO PHOTOGRAPHY
Melissa Confalone of Fraser Advanced Information Systems: Continuous improvement is a core value at her company.
PHOTO/ROSE ROSSELLO, ROSSELLO PHOTOGRAPHY Melissa Confalone of Fraser Advanced Information Systems: Continuous improvement is a core value at her company.

Respect. Integrity. Keeping promises. Clear communication.

They are the main ingredients to the success of two privately owned and operated business machine and equipment companies in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

“A company’s employees are their greatest asset,” said Melissa Confalone, vice president of sales for Fraser Advanced Information Systems in West Reading.

Treating employees with respect goes a long way toward encouraging them to perform their best, because they understand and know their contribution is valued.

“Respect between employees, no matter what job you do within the company. Respect for our company’s mission statement. And most of all, respect for our clients and their goals” are hallmarks of Edwards Business Systems in Bethlehem, according to president Raymond “Ray” A. Fuentes.

Top officials who have been mentored and coached by knowledgeable industry leaders are likely to want to pay the gift of mentoring others forward.

Fuentes and Confalone credit strong mentors for shaping their careers.

“I was fortunate to have a great manager when I started in this industry, right out of college,” Fuentes said. “He believed in teamwork and he worked as hard for his team as we did for him.”

FRASER ADVANCED

INFORMATION SYSTEMS

Melissa Confalone, Vice President of Sales

West Reading

<What are the key ingredients in creating a great workplace culture?

Treat your employees with respect and realize that a company’s employees are their greatest asset. Have fun while working hard and recognize and reward employees for outstanding job performance. While it may sound cliché, one of our strongest core values is work hard, play hard.

Communicate the goals, direction and aspirations of the company on a consistent basis to all employees. This creates a staff that is invested in the business and works hard to achieve the goals as a strong team.

<What has been your recipe for success?

Fraser has provided me with an amazing opportunity to work for a progressive technology company that holds its employees and clients in the highest regard. I’ve been given the opportunity to learn from some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry and have been driven by my mentors to always find ways to improve.

<No one starts out as a master chef or top executive. Who has helped you along the way, and how?

I had several major influences during my 20-plus years at Fraser, but three of these individuals truly stand out for their influence on my career. Without their guidance, I would not be where I am today.

The first two, Frank Formando and Bill Fraser, taught me the sales and sales management part of the business, and Jim Pierce taught me how to understand and run the business from an operational standpoint.  

<What is your company’s training strategy/approach?  

One of our core values at Fraser is continuous improvement. For Fraser to be successful, all of our employees must receive continuous training to evolve and grow in their positions. We believe that in all departments, learning is an essential element in building strong teams and a strong company.

We train all employees on specific job applications, but we also focus on company-wide training. These initiatives center around customer service, dealing with difficult people, leadership and management training and cybersecurity and ransomware training.

Our sales team receives ongoing sales training and coaching from some of the best sales trainers in the country, and our technicians receive more than 125 hours of training each year on the technology they service. This ensures that our customers receive the best service in the industry. …

<What’s on the menu the next year or two for you and/or your company?  

Fraser is always focused on growth. In the next year or two, we expect to continue our fast-paced growth in both the hardware and software solution space.

We will continue to grow our managed network services business, as well as introduce new and exciting technologies that tie into the smart office and innovative collaborative solutions for the business of the future. 

EDWARDS BUSINESS SYSTEMS

Raymond ‘Ray’ A. Fuentes, President

Bethlehem

<What are the key ingredients in creating a great workplace culture? 

First of all, I would say it is mutual respect – at every level of the organization. Respect between employees, no matter what job you do within the company. Respect for our company’s mission statement. And most of all, respect for our clients and their goals.

Another key part of our culture is the dedication to deliver on what we say we will do, both between our employees and for our clients.

And, since we are a family owned business, the next key ingredient is the company’s genuine concern for the well-being of our employees and their families.

<What has been your recipe for success? 

A recipe is made up of multiple ingredients. One of the most important, as mentioned above, is the ability to deliver on what we say we will do. This has always been a cornerstone of our success.

Another key ingredient is recruiting and hiring good people who understand our culture. And then the icing on the top is to empower our employees to let them do their jobs and deliver excellence.

<No one starts out as a master chef or top executive. Who has helped you along the way, and how?  

I was fortunate to have a great manager when I started in this industry, right out of college. He believed in teamwork and he worked as hard for his team as we did for him.

At Edwards Business Systems, I again was extremely fortunate to have Jim Edwards as my mentor. He worked side by side [with] me, believed in me, gave me the responsibilities and supported me in my goals to build our team, to grow our company, and to deliver strength and profitability to our company. He did this from day one and has never stopped.

EBS was founded in 1954 and is currently in its third generation of company management.

<What is your company’s training strategy/approach?  

Training is an integral part of our team strategy. We involve the immediate managers, the specific SME [subject matter expert] and many of our external partners and representatives. We believe in internal training for best practices and we believe in external training to improve our knowledge and solutions expertise.

Training also takes an important role in our ability to deliver excellence in the service and training divisions of EBS. Each year, our service teams win multiple awards for excellence. Some from our industry and many from our clients.

<What’s on the menu the next year or two for you and/or your company?  

As a company, we are focused on our clients’ needs. Our industry is changing rapidly, and we need to be able to be ahead of the learning curve to help deliver the best for our clients.

Specifically, we are heavily engaged in several initiatives that include production print, managed print services, software solutions and managed network services.

Next year, we will be in business over 65 years. Our tag line really does say it all: “Fast forward document technology.”

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