Since March, Premium’s retail partners have faced unprecedented demand for in-stock products in response to the spread of COVID-19. The spotlight on the services Premium field employees execute every day became more critical than ever. We continue to shift resources to deliver the best scenarios for our employees and our clients. The well-being of our team members is Premium’s top priority, both in terms of health and financially.
Today, Premium Retail Services owners and CEOs Brian and Kevin Travers announced they are forgoing compensation for the foreseeable future. Additionally, executive leadership throughout the Premium organization has taken voluntary pay reductions. Collectively, we are allocating these funds towards purchasing protective gear for frontline employees.
“History will show that as a country, a company, and as individuals, we rise to the challenge when times are difficult and we will come out stronger on the other side.” – Kevin Travers, Co-owner and CEO
As we have all no doubt experienced, hand sanitizer is nearly impossible to find. We explored a variety of avenues over the last several weeks and knew it would require resourcefulness to secure a bulk supply. Premium reached out to ShowMe Beverages, a Missouri-based distributor of craft beer, craft spirits, wine and non-alcohol products. They connected us with Missouri-based craft distilleries StilL 630 andNaked Spirits. Both of these incredible organizations are currently manufacturing hand sanitizer that is being used by a variety of frontline employees, including the St. Louis Metropolitan Police.
Premium received the sanitizer in bulk containers at our sanitary Clean Room within the National Logistics and Distribution Center. As of April 17, our fulfillment team has completed bottling, labeling, packing, and shipping to field employees.
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 Novak, Marketing 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.S. Debbieis 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.
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.
As we reflect on 2019, the Premium family is proud of a year marked by innovation, growth and employee engagement.
This year, we introduced the Premium Launchpad to ensure seamless field execution for critical product launches. We combine in-depth planning and project management with rigid kitting and shipping protocols, comprehensive training and communication strategies, real-time mapping visualizations, and robust business intelligence, all supported by a talented team of Operations Support Specialists. Launchpad comes to life in real time as our workforce executes in store, and we continually refine and communicate to deliver incredible scale within the confines of same-day execution.
Premium’s Launchpad is made possible thanks to our newly-formed Operations Support Center (OSC). By merging Premium’s previously existing Retail Contact Center and Retail Operations Center, the OSC now offers more robust field support and elevated customer service to Premium employees and clients. Over 70 OSC specialists provide seamless omnichannel communication, quality assurance, dependable job knowledge, multi-tiered troubleshooting and a more efficient path of escalation and resolution.
This year, we also focused on increasing engagement through interactive video, reaching remote field teams and retail associates with live or on-demand content. We even started an internal broadcast called Premium Now to keep remote team members in the loop with Premium leadership and happenings.
2019 was also a continued year of growth for Premium. We substantially grew our partnerships in the drug and mass channels, expanded our work in wireless sales, and added exciting brands including Anagram, PopSockets and Lindt & Sprüngli to our client roster.
Along with Premium’s growing business comes the need for expansion, which is why we completed a series of moves. Both of our corporate offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Mississauga, Ontario, moved into larger spaces to accommodate team growth. We also recently moved into a new 130K+ square-foot National Logistics and Distribution Center (NLDC) centrally located in St. Louis, Missouri. The facility increased our on-site storage capacity by 500% and features 12 receiving docks, state-of-the-art security systems and an enhanced pick-and-pack system. We support our Canadian clients with asimilar 100,000square-foot facility in Toronto, Ontario.
Premium’s 2019 Culture Team powerfully delivered on its mission of increasing employee engagement and giving back to our community. Notably, Premium was named a St. Louis Post-Dispatch Top Workplace for the second year in a row. Additionally, the Premium family raised more than $22,000, donated nearly 4,500 items and provided more than 45,000 meals to families in need.
The 13 charitable organizations supported by Premium in 2019 include Ronald McDonald House, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Cardinals Care, American Red Cross, Feeding America, Mississauga Food Bank, Kids Against Hunger, Clean Up The World, Feed My Starving Children, United Way, Alzheimer’s Association, Stray Paws Rescue and The Red, White and Blue Tour.
We’re so thankful to our Premium family – our team members, clients and partners – who have undoubtedly contributed to the successes and growth we realized in 2019. Here’s to a fantastic 2020!
Looking for a new opportunity in 2020? Apply to become a part of the team!