Category: Leadership



Each year, Premium recognizes team members who’ve gone above and beyond through a few significant awards. Congratulations to our 2019 award nominees and winners for their outstanding representation of what it means to be Premium! Thank you for exemplifying Premium’s core beliefs of family, partnership, creativity, integrity, and eclipsing expectations. 


Emily NovakMarketing Specialist 

2019 Culture Hero Award 

New in 2019, the Culture Hero Award recognizes the efforts put forth by Premium’s Culture Team. Behind the scenes, the Culture Team cultivates relationships with Premium’s remote and office-based teams, focusing on employee engagement, recognition, and fun. Each year brings new Culture team members and new ideas, so the Culture Hero honors one Culture-er who jumped in with both feet and lived Premium’s core beliefs.

Premium’s first-ever Culture Hero is Emily Novak. Emily started as a recruiting intern in 2016 before transitioning to the marketing team in 2017. She is key to keeping the Premium community updated and overseeing Premium’s social media presence.

Emily’s hard work was instrumental in the Culture Team’s accomplishments in 2019. Culture Captain Sarah Wolfersberger said, “Emily demonstrates endless drive, passion, creativity and genuine investment in Premium’s Culture. She works tirelessly to meet deadlines and to ensure the success of culture initiatives while remaining kind and calm under pressure.”


Michael Taylor, Client Account Manager 

2019 Employee of the Year – Canada 

Winner of the Employee of the Year – Canada is Client Account Manager, Michael Taylor. Michael’s contributions have not gone unnoticed since he joined the Premium team in 2018. Known for his calm demeanor and efficient yet collaborative style, Michael never disappoints and consistently goes the extra mile (or kilometer) time and again.  

Sandy Clarke, Executive Vice President, explained, “Michael is loved by our clients and us. He understands clients’ needs, provides insights and solutions, and navigates our matrix organization well, all while delivering exceptional customer service.” 

Premium Canada donates $2,500 to the charity selected by the recipient of this award. Michael asked that the donation be made to Niagara Dog Rescue, the foster-based organization which he recently adopted his dog, Rascal, from.  


Debbie Dye, Payroll Manager  

2019 Employee of the Year – U.S. 

This year’s Employee of the Year  U.S. is Debbie Dye whose management of the payroll function has contributed significantly to the Premium family. When Debbie started at Premium in 2011, we had less than 3,000 employees. We’re closing out the decade with a 560% increase in W-2 employees.  

Jeff Schremp, Premium’s Chief Financial Officer, described Debbie as, “Reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable and hardworking. She does whatever is needed, whenever it’s needed.  She’s a kindhearted person with great patience. Under her leadership, the Payroll Department has evolved to meet the needs of a growing organization.”  

Over the years (and particularly in 2019), Debbie has worked tirelessly to ensure payroll is accurate and closed on time and monitors compliance with laws across the U.SDebbie is passionate about ensuring each Premium employee is paid, which is certainly something we can all cheer to! 


Mark Mori, Lenovo Training & Sales Specialist 

2019 Field Excellence Award Winner – U.S. 

Since 2017, Premium field leaders submit nominations for the Field Excellence Award. The Premium executive team votes to recognize one standout field team member for outstanding achievement, performance, personal interaction, and creativity. 

Mark joined the Premium family in 2016 and transitioned to his current position on the dedicated Lenovo team in June 2017. He is known for his enthusiasm, entering every store with a positive attitude and purpose. Mark doesn’t just work the minimum; he schedules himself every weekend to ensure he capitalizes on every possible sales opportunity. As a result, Mark has exceeded sales expectations for his market every single month this year!  

Todd Stephens of Lenovo said, “I was lucky enough to go out in the field with Mark. I left that field visit totally blown away by how he owns his market! Mark has amazing relationships in stores, his product knowledge is second to none, and most importantly, he is one of the BEST I have seen at working with customers.” 


Norman Tham, National Field Manager  

2019 Maple Leaf Award Winner – Canada 

The Maple Leaf award recognizes one individual on the Canada team that has demonstrated continual pursuit of excellence in performance, leadership, distinguished service, inspiration provided, and overall positive influence on the team.  

Norman’s manager Sandy Clarke, Executive Vice President said, “Norm continues to drive change and innovation for Premium in the field and online, as well as through gaming and social media platforms. These innovations have expanded our offerings to key clients in both Canada and the United States.” 

Premium Canada recognizes the Maple Leaf Award recipient by donating $2,500 to the charity of their choice. Norman selected Food4Kids – Hamilton which provides packages of healthy food for kids with limited or no access to food each weekend in Hamilton, Ontario. 


John Drevlow, Senior Director, Strategic Accounts 

2019 Founder’s Award 

Ron Travers founded Premium Retail Services in 1985 on a foundation of family, integrity, and service. After Ron passed in 2012, Brian and Kevin introduced The Founder’s Award to honor their father’s legacy, and it is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Premium employee. 

Kevin Travers spoke of his father at Premium’s 2019 holiday party. “He never missed an important event in our lives, never got off the phone without him saying that he loved you. He never compromised what he believed in for the easy path in life. He would do anything to help someone out in need. His life revolved around providing for his family, plain and simple.” 

This year’s Founder’s Award winner joined Premium after spending 13 years at Best Buy. He leads Premium’s Minneapolis office with a focus on teamwork and selflessness.  

From left: 2019 Founder’s Award winner John Drevlow is joined by 2017 winner Jim Malpiedi, CEO Kevin Travers, 2014 winner Jeff Schremp, 2018 winner Bill Campbell, 2016 winner Jessi Curtis, 2013 winner Olaf Strom and CEO Brian Travers. Nancy Wingate, 2015 Founder’s Award winner, is not pictured.


John is widely admired for his glass half full, “Buddy the Elf” positive outlook. He shows respect and appreciation to everyone around him, is always there to help others, and is levelheaded when situations arise.  

Kevin said, “Pilots use the acronym CAVU to describe desirable flying conditions. It means ‘Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited’ and I believe it describes John’s attitude perfectly.” 

Premium recognizes the Founders Award recipient by donating $10,000 to the charity of their choice. John selected First Lutheran Church in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.  

Congratulations again to all of our 2019 award nominees and winners! For our full wrap-up of 2019, read Premium’s Year in Review.





While store traffic is booming and products are flying off of shelves this Q4, customer expectations remain the same: quick and easy shopping experiences. Our efforts during this critical time of year will continue to connect shoppers with the brands they love at retail.

We’re all in this together.
As our current clients know, we’re dedicated to collaborating to truly understand goals and challenges. From Client Services and Training to the Operations Support Center and beyond, everyone at Premium is invested in our clients’ success during this increasingly demanding time.

We’re prepared.
The biggest brands in the world count on us to do what we do best. But that doesn’t worry us, because we know we’ve got the strongest, most hard-working reps in the industry and the best technology, support networks and strategies to support their efforts in the field.

We’ve got this.
For more than 30 years we’ve been delivering beyond what’s expected for our clients. And this time of the year is no different. Your success is our success.

So, this Q4 our clients can count on us to deliver for their customers, connecting them with their favorite products – your products.

Cheers to a successful holiday season!


Bill Campbell | COO David Yenzer | President Dick Doyle | President






We’d like to turn the spotlight on a handful of Premium women tackling key areas of business to deliver innovation and results for our clients. Meet three Premium veterans who have been newly promoted, as well as two new additions, focused on innovation.


Newly Promoted:

Melissa Raethka, EVP, Field Operations

Melissa started at Premium as a Regional Operations Director back in 2010. She took a temporary hiatus from the company for an overseas assignment in Italy due to her husband’s job in the United States Air Force.

However, shortly after her return to the States, Melissa relocated to Premium’s St. Louis headquarters for an expanded role as our Vice President of Operations. As an Air Force veteran herself, Melissa brings unparalleled focus and rigor to the task of ensuring our field team is set up for success. She’s been instrumental in formalizing processes and metrics-based scorecards designed to ensure capacity, proficiency and quality assurance for our clients. Melissa also advocated for Premium to collaborate with a geospatial expert to create efficiencies in routing our reps in relation to store locations.

In her current role as EVP, Field Operations, Melissa oversees about 4,500 personnel from field reps to managers and directors. She also manages Premium’s in-house Retail Contact Center, Retail Operations Center, as well as all of Recruiting. That’s nearly 1/3 of Premium’s total employees! Essentially anyone at Premium who finds, onboards and manages day-to-day operations of our field workforce is impacted by Melissa’s leadership.

Premium President David Yenzer says “Melissa’s deep thought to ensure we are setting up our clients for success has been absolutely instrumental to our growth.”

Melissa is a perfect example of how professional growth opportunities are attainable within the retail service industry. She started as a field rep and credits the many years she spent directly managing reps for the essential perspective she has as a leader today.

Melissa says “I firmly believe that success requires an equal mix of attitude and passion. It directs our thoughts, our energy, and most of all, the actions we take.”


Kris Ventimiglia, VP, Enterprise Compliance

Kris has worked in the retail industry for over 23 years. When she joined Premium 20 years ago as a Regional Manager, Premium was a much smaller company. Kris has climbed the ranks at Premium, moving into an Account Director role, then Team Director, and most recently, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts. This perfect mix of expertise in client service coupled with a background in field operations positions Kris well for her brand-new role. Universally regarded as one of Premium’s most knowledgeable resources, her recent promotion was well-deserved and celebrated by the team.

In her new role as VP, Enterprise Compliance, Kris ensures Premium’s standardized processes are followed as well as continuing to build out infrastructure for our continued growth. Kris personally reviews service requests for accuracy, a process that delivers quality assurance to all client MSAs and SOWs. She proactively identifies contract issues related to store visit length, project instructions or billing, and validates that issues have been corrected prior to execution of service. And no, she’s not Premium’s Chief of Police.

Kevin Travers, Premium’s Co-CEO, says, “Kris’s methodical approach to driving consistent business processes are a key part of the ROI we deliver to clients.”

Jessi Curtis, VP, Strategic Accounts

Prior to joining Premium as a National Training Manager in 2012, Jessi worked as a Field Sales Development Manager for Echostar Communications and spent seven years as Hewlett-Packard’s Training Manager. Today, she continues to lead our long-term and valued partnership with Lenovo operating under three core tenants – decisions based on data, passion for the brand and the product, and people as the #1 resource. After five years of excellence, results continue to get better and stronger with key selling seasons delivering 85x ROI.

Premium President Dick Doyle believes “Jessi’s can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for our clients’ success is at a bar that everyone should shoot for. I am always blown away with the high level of praise and partnership that she’s been able to achieve with her clients and her field teams. It’s a testament to her passion and commitment for the business and her team.”

“Jessi’s can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for our clients’ success is at a bar that everyone should shoot for.”

Jessi is known for visiting stores personally, training herself on every product, and reaching out to every single person on the program regularly. Her focus on respect and genuine care for one another, as well as fostering an environment for learning and growth, is noted by many on the team who describe their program as a family.


Recent Hires:

Kathy Risch, VP, Consumer Insights and Analytics

Kathy has over 20 years of experience at major CPG companies, holding Consumer Insights & Marketing leadership positions at P&G, Neutrogena, Taco Bell, Paramount Pictures, and Anheuser-Busch.

At Premium, Kathy’s focus is wide-ranging. In addition to leading a team of 17, Kathy directs Premium’s best practices for consumer insights and analytics tools and methodologies. A day for her can consist of authoring and leading a shopper survey, conducting 1:1 qualitative interviews with field teams to add context to market data, and uncovering actionable insights from consumer path-to-purchase research. With our diverse toolbox, Premium is able to add layers of insights on top of retail sales data and Esri MPI (market potential index) data to optimize field coverage for the largest possible sales opportunity. She also regularly consults with clients to ensure Premium’s business intelligence dashboards are effective and actionable for the various needs of leadership and field teams down to the market, retailer, and store level.

Kathy’s broad marketing and consumer insights expertise, combined with her strategic thought leadership, have already contributed to the growth of several Premium clients.


Emily Cacic, Director, Digital Strategy

Emily’s expertise in driving 1:1 engagement and customer loyalty in retail evolved over the course of a decade producing integrated marketing campaigns. With her brand and retailer clients, Emily led the deployment of innovative initiatives blending experiential and digital tactics.

After moving from a Minneapolis creative agency to the brand side, Emily managed consumer marketing strategy for internet security products. During this time, she crafted messaging and product training for a dedicated retail sales team and guided the brand’s retail packaging evolution.

With high levels of curiosity and creative energy, Emily is focused on developing omnichannel and shopper-focused strategies for Premium’s brand and retailer clients. To hear more of her perspective, click here.

It’s an exciting time in retail, and at Premium! Meet more Premium leaders here.