Category: People of Premium




Premium recognizes team members who have eclipsed expectations through a handful of significant awards each year. Congratulations to our 2020 award nominees and winners for their outstanding representation of what it means to be Premium!


2020 Culture Hero Award

Jennifer Hovestadt, Senior Manager – Training

The Culture Hero award was first established in 2019. It recognizes the efforts put forth by a phenomenal member of Premium’s Culture Team. Behind the scenes, the Culture Team cultivates relationships among Premium’s remote and office-based teams, focusing on employee recognition, engagement, and fun.

Jennifer joined Premium in 2011 as a Field Representative. In 2012, she started working full-time as a Trainer and has since been promoted to Training Supervisor and now Senior Training Manager. She is instrumental in developing training for several clients and retailers and most recently spearheaded the creation of the University of Premium.

On the Culture Team, Jennifer is known for going above and beyond, always with a positive attitude and kind-hearted approach to our initiatives. She displayed leadership, consistently coming with ideas and repeatedly volunteering to lead projects – all with a full workload on her plate.


2020 Canada Employee of the Year Award

Sean Frydman, National Field Manager

Our Employee of the Year awards recognize outstanding Premium team members whose hard work and dedication are unmatched.

Premium Canada’s 2020 winner drives results through continuous innovation, leadership and excellence in program management. Sean joined Premium in 2018 to lead our Microsoft Best Buy Store-Within-a-Store program. In 2019, his responsibility expanded to all of Microsoft’s field marketing in Canada.

Sean’s commitment to the success of the program has inspired greatness with our Microsoft team exceeding targets for 17 months in a row.


2020 U.S. Employee of the Year Award

Pavin White, Senior Logistics & Distribution Manager

Pavin started on the Client Services team in 2016, making an early impact by streamlining a system to meet the needs of a complex break-fix program. Pavin joined the team at our National Logistics & Distribution Center (NLDC) in 2018 where he helped lead our massive NLDC expansion which enhanced the services we offer to our clients.

In 2020, as the pandemic hit and disrupted every part of our business, operations at our NLDC never stopped. Pavin showed grit and tenacity when procuring essential face coverings and other supplies became a paramount need.

While adhering to new protocols, Pavin and his team continued to safely execute major initiatives for our clients and performed at a higher level of excellence than ever before.


2020 U.S. Field Excellence Award 

Peter Rivera, Reset Project Coordinator

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

Peter joined Premium in 2012 and has been promoted several times over the last eight years: Merchandising Representative, Zone Specialist, Team Lead, Project Leader, Project Manager, Zone Leader, Market Specialist and Reset Project Coordinator. Read more #GrowWithPremium success stories here.



Peter sets our clients up for successful reset projects, managing teams of up to 30 people. Not only is Peter a hard worker, but he embodies Premium’s core beliefs of family and eclipsing expectations.

He often travels to areas outside of his own territory to complete work – even during COVID-19. To date, Peter has traveled to 25+ states. Store managers often request Peter to be the project Team Lead in their stores.


2020 Canada Maple Leaf Award 

Madison Farris, Recruiter

The Maple Leaf award recognizes one individual on the Canada team that has demonstrated continual excellence in performance, leadership, and an overall positive influence on the team.

Madison joined Premium as a Recruiter in 2018 and immediately made a substantial impact on finding the right talent for each of our unique businesses and clients.

Year-to-date she has recruited 460 employees and staffed an entire holiday program in 3 weeks, all during a pandemic.


2020 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.

As you know, 2020 presented challenges that we never thought were possible. We faced circumstances out of our control with no idea how this crisis would impact our company and the world.

There is simply no way to award the Founders Award to just one person. Instead, we’ve chosen to recognize the entire Premium family as the 2020 Founder’s Award recipient.

We are so proud to work with each and every one of you. Thank you for your dedication to Premium, especially during a demanding year!




In honor of Veterans Day, Premium is highlighting some #PeopleofPremium who have served in the United States military. Read their stories below!


What was your role in the military?

“I was a Drill Sergeant and a Squad Leader then progressed to a Platoon Sergeant and finally a First Sergeant overseeing 250+ soldiers.” Jeffrey Champ | Walmart Retail Specialist | Army for 21 years

“I served in the US Army as a military policeman during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. We were like the highway patrol of the desert until the air war started then our mission changed. We guarded the generals calling the war moving troops.” Vonnie Wiggins | L2 Technician | Army for 6 years

“I served one tour in the Southern Helmand province of Afghanistan in 2012 and finished my Marine Corps career in 2016.” Joshua Burrell | Walmart Wireless Sales Pro | Marine Corps for 6 years

“After serving a one-year tour as a combat helicopter platoon leader in Pleiku, Vietnam, I became an instructor pilot at Ft. Wolters, TX, training German, Vietnamese, and Warrant officer candidates to fly helicopters.” Jon L. Van Leer | Pet Ambassador | Army for 5 years

“I was stationed in Ft. Polk, LA as part of an Airborne Infantry Battalion tasked with training all US Army infantry and special forces.” Scott Pierce | Field Sales Manager | Army for 4 years

“I served at Camp Pendleton, CA, as a Crash Fire Rescue Paramedic / EMT, Mounted Color Guard and security. Had four great years serving during Desert Storm and several local natural disasters.” Kimberly Jensen | Retail Market Manager | Marine Corps for 4 years

Kimberly Jensen | Retail Market Manager | Marine Corps for 4 years


Why did you join the military?

“My primary reason for joining the Air Force was to take advantage of the robust educational benefits offered as my parents could not afford to help me with college. I also had several members of my family who were military, so I wanted to do my part to serve our country.” Melissa Raethka | EVP, Operations | Air Force for 6.5 years

“I joined the military in 1983 for a better chance and a better life.” Bradley H. Fredrick | Instructional Designer – Training | Air Force for 5 years


Bradley H. Fredrick | Instructional Designer – Training | Air Force for 5 years


“I wanted to serve in the military since I was 12 years old. I have always been a protector as well as a fighter.” Tevin Myles | Operations Support Specialist | Army for 6 years

“In 1966 I was attending the University of Minnesota, and due to losing my job was unable to pay my tuition. In June I was mailed a letter from the draft board telling me to report to selective service to complete a physical exam. I had been drafted into the US Army.” Jon L. Van Leer | Pet Ambassador | Army for 5 years

“I always told myself if I had the opportunity, I would serve my country for those who couldn’t themselves.” Joshua Burrell | Walmart Wireless Sales Pro | Marine Corps for 6 years

“My father’s service made me feel so proud that before I ever got into high school, I knew I wanted to be an Engineer in the US Army. Jeffrey Champ | Walmart Retail Specialist | Army for 21 years

“I knew I wanted to join the military because I grew up in a military family. I’ve had many family members serve in the Armed Forces, going back to WWI.” Andrew Walters | Sr. Client Account Coordinator | Army for 2 years

Andrew Walters | Sr. Client Account Coordinator | Army for 2 years


What did you learn from the military?

“My time in the military really helped shape who I am today. The missions we served required a high level of accountability and willingness to learn. I needed to be detail-oriented and push myself outside my comfort zone as often times there were responsibilities that had grave consequences had I not done my job correctly.” Melissa Raethka | EVP, Operations | Air Force for 6.5 years

“My military training taught me to be detail-oriented and to pay attention to all things that go on around you – every sound you hear, every movement you see. I learned to work hard for the betterment of myself and my country. As an Instructional Designer for nearly 20 years, those precision skills enable me to write and create training materials and courses at Premium.” Bradley H. Fredrick | Instructional Designer – Training | Air Force for 5 years

“The Army teaches you how to be an adult very quickly and matures you to a certain degree.”Tevin Myles | Operations Support Specialist | Army for 6 years

“My entire military experience was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. The draft helped me get a true picture of what I really needed – structure and opportunity.Jon L. Van Leer | Pet Ambassador | Army for 5 years

Jon L. Van Leer | Pet Ambassador | Army for 5 years


What led you to Premium after your time in the military?

“What led me to Premium was the idea of a company that provides not only great leadership but the opportunity to showcase your own leadership.” Joshua Burrell | Walmart Wireless Sales Pro | Marine Corps for 6 years

“I acquired a passion for working with people and discovered retail to be the best avenue for it. After years in retail management, I retired but didn’t want to stop being around people. Therefore, I searched for a part-time position that allowed me to work with people and found Premium to be the best fit!” Jeffrey Champ | Walmart Retail Specialist | Army for 21 years


What would you like to share with other Veterans on this day? 

“I salute all Veterans who served and I’m forever in debt to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”Andrew Walters | Sr. Client Account Coordinator | Army for 2 years

“I wish to thank all my brothers and sisters that are serving or have served, you have my deepest respect!” Jeffrey Champ | Walmart Retail Specialist | Army for 21 years

“There is a bond among military members. If I meet a stranger and find out he/she was in the military, the connection is immediate. I have a sincere appreciation for all who have served/are serving, their family members and, with my deepest gratitude, those who paid the ultimate price.” Melissa Raethka | EVP, Operations | Air Force for 6.5 years

Melissa Raethka | EVP, Operations | Air Force for 6.5 years

As a proud participant of the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership program, Premium is also committed to recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining military spouses.

Thank you to all of our military veterans, as well as their families, for your service. Your dedication to our country, and now to Premium, inspires us all. #WeArePremium #PeopleofPremium



Premium is thrilled to announce Sonya Verheyden as Vice President of Business Development and Customer Success for Premium Canada. In her role, Sonya will spearhead business development activities across Canada by building successful new client engagements and bridging best practices from all of Premium’s geographies and market segments.

With 20 years of experience in global marketing and sales channel leadership roles, Sonya has built and led B2B, B2C and retail programs across North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Most recently, Sonya led go-to-market efforts for a consumer health tech start-up, driving customer segmentation, acquisition and digital strategy.

When asked, what attracted her to Premium, Sonya said,

“Premium brings experience to the table that other partners only talk about and never deliver. Using technology as a key lever with an in-house development team allows Premium to create custom solutions. When I discovered those key differences, I knew I had to be part of Premium.”



Sonya went on to explain, “One of Premium’s core beliefs is eclipsing expectations. Premium lives up to this belief every day and clients feel it with every execution. The proof is in the long-lasting relationships Premium has with clients who retain the partnership time and time again.”

Sonya brings to Premium her passion for the evolution of omnichannel retail. For years, brands have struggled with how much focus to put into online retail versus in-store. Propelled by the pandemic, the fight between online and retail has disappeared in terms of prioritization.

This omnichannel trend forces retail organizations to elevate their game. It drives a clear wedge between players that can keep up and those who cannot. In order to stay afloat, companies like Premium must drive seamless experiences through innovation and technology.

Brands have high expectations of agility in the field, transparency with analytics, and cutting-edge technology. The innovation that Premium drives in the US market will empower brands and retailers in Canada to do the same.

Sonya explains, “I get really excited when I see the opportunity to bring tangible, game-changing innovations that truly evolve how brands and retailers are served on the ground in retail.”

Sonya currently resides outside of Toronto with her partner Chris and three kids. Welcome to Premium, Sonya! #PeopleofPremium