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May 2020

Welcome to The Information Exchange, a place you will find insight on everything that is happening at United Access.

Company Updates

I’m incredibly excited to embark on the next phase of our journey to integrate the BraunAbility Retail / Arch Channel Retail Operations under one umbrella.  While we and the rest of the country are currently navigating unprecedented and challenging times, there are multiple reasons why this integration is going to create an even brighter future for all of us.  I’d like to share some of these, plus answer some initial questions and provide clarity on our future organization.  You’ll no doubt have additional questions and we’ll provide plenty of opportunity in the coming days to address them.  In the meantime, here are just some of the reasons we can look forward to what’s ahead:

  • Our size will make us stronger: Collectively we become a business of over 400 employees, 49 locations, and original 2020 planned revenues in excess of $223M and growing!  This size and scale make us the second largest Mobility retailer in the US – one that’s even better positioned for growth, plus better equipped to weather any challenges.
  • We are committed to becoming the premier dealer group in Mobility:  Our vision is to lead the industry in both customer experience and service.  We’re partnered with the leading product brands in the industry, starting with BraunAbility!  We’ll achieve our vision by fostering an environment of open collaboration amongst our own stores and other partners, as well as a mindset toward innovation and creation of new best practices.
  • We’re already unified by a common purpose – While we each have a unique identity, we share a common purpose and passion, which is to make life a moving experience for all and ultimately change lives.  In this way we’re already connected, and our integration will only enable us to make an even larger impact.

What does this mean for you?  You are now part of an organization with more resources, tools, and support than ever to help you serve our customers and grow our business.  As part of a larger retail organization it also means you’ll have more opportunities for growth and development, not only across our retail businesses but within the larger BraunAbility enterprise.

What doesn’t change?  The Arch Retail Channel is rooted from more than six mobility dealer groups with similar but unique cultures.  What rings strikingly similar across all our entities – as well as with BraunAbility – is the values we share.  These values center around integrity and doing what’s right, care for one another, teamwork, innovation, and our passion and commitment to our customers.  As we continue to work to integrate the business, we will do so with an inclusive approach, and one that leverages the strengths of each company that is part of our umbrella today.   It’s important to understand that no one entity is absorbing the others.  We are instead creating a new best-in-class mobility enterprise from the diverse strengths of our founding organizations, and with what I believe are the best employees in the mobility industry.

What does our organization look like?  I’ve highlighted the Arch leadership team below, and I’m fully confident in the abilities of this team and each of their commitment to you and to our customers.   Chad Blake will continue to lead Ability Center and I will lead United Access, ADA and Kersey. That’s noted as such on the organization charts.  Long-term, we envision an integrated organization that manages our markets regionally.

Your Arch Leadership Team:

  • Chad BlakeSenior Vice President Sales & Store Operations.  Chad will retain his responsibilities as President of Ability Center, and in his Arch leadership role will be responsible for vehicle inventory management, service excellence, and all store sales & business performance.  Chad will also lead the migration from separate entities toward a regional model.
  • Bill Liacone Arch Finance Leader.  For the time being Bill Liacone, Chief Financial Officer of BraunAbility, and his team will provide the Arch organizations Corporate Finance support. Bill and his team have been instrumental in helping us improve our financial data consistency and approach, in line with our new DMS capabilities. The Arch Finance teams will continue to be organized by business entity and will also work to align with our regional leaders as business partners.
  • Brandy Beaupre Senior Director, Human Resources.  Brandy’s responsibilities will include staffing, performance management, employee development, compliance, plus she’ll partner with BraunAbility HR for benefits and compensation support.
  • Laura Walter Director, Digital & Brand Marketing and Call Center Operations.  Laura will partner with the entities to ensure we leverage our strong back-office marketing capabilities to provide a consistent image to the market behind our brands and support the stores with lead-producing marketing initiatives.  Laura will also work on developing a plan to extend the UA Call Center capabilities across the organization.
  • Monique McGivney Director, Field & Partner Marketing, and Public Relations.  Monique is a long-time industry veteran who is agile in partnering with our stores and partners alike.  We are delighted to capitalize on her strengths to define a new approach towards influencers and partners and to create a more engaging marketing presence within the stores.
  • Cutter Meyer Business Resource Partner, IT.  Cutter will lead IT strategy, implementation, and support for the organization.  He will also serve as the liaison between Arch and BraunAbility Corporate IT to ensure our strategic pursuits are aligned and prioritized to support the Arch Channel priorities as well as those of Braun.

The Sales & Store Operations Leadership team will lead our 49 locations, as well as oversee critical functional leadership roles.  Chad’s leadership team will be comprised of the following:

  • Jason Taylor – Director, Vehicle Inventory Management.  All Arch inventory will be centrally managed by Jason and his team.  Reporting to Jason will be Michelle Milligan and Matt Contarino.
  • Drew Lawless – Senior Manager, National Service & Parts Inventory. Drew will oversee our development and standardization of our service operations, and centrally manage our parts inventory in the stores.
  • Bobby Bryson – Regional Vice President, UA Region 1 – including Kansas City, all Missouri locations, Tennessee, and New York.
  • Kevin Landeck – Regional Vice President, UA Region 2 – including Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Portland, OR
  • Mary Zatopek – Regional Vice President, UA Region 3 – including AZ, Utah, and Texas.  Mary will also serve as Co-Lead of ADA with Lesli Driskill
  • Lesli Driskill – Co Lead and Finance Director or ADA
  • Ruth Rabdau – Regional Director, Kersey Mobility.  Ruth replaces Mike Kersey who advised of his intent to retire a couple of months ago.  Mike leaves a rich legacy as a long-time industry veteran and leader, and he will remain a part of our extended family.
  • Scott Santos – Regional Vice President, Ability Center (Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona)
  • Kevin Horn – Regional Director, Ability Center (Northern California)
  • Terry Barton – Regional Director, Ability Center (Southern California)
  • Jim Thurmond – Director, Commercial Sales

While there’s much to look forward to and many reasons for optimism, I also recognize that the COVID-19 crisis has changed much about this year.  It has introduced significant concern for our wellbeing and that of our families.  We have experience shelter-in-place orders, social distancing, significant financial hardship and necessary furloughs as a result of lower sales.  Our integration coupled with the severity of our economic hardship has also resulted in the need to part with a handful of friends and teammates, which is never easy.

Please know that each action we’ve taken has been focused on preparing us to emerge stronger and more capable of delivering on our vision of being the benchmark mobility dealer in the industry.  Each of you are what makes us unique and special in the market.  Ensuring our business continuity for our customers starts with ensuring you all have an environment that is safe, fiscally sound, and capable of supporting an increasingly dynamic market.  As things return to a new normal, I look forward to continuing my journey to meet you in the stores and support you in creating the singularly best mobility dealer team in the country.

We will schedule an Arch-wide Town Hall in the next few days for you to engage in dialogue and answer any questions you may have.  Again, I continue to be excited about our future and the important part that each of you will continue to play.  Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe!

Thank you,

John

Sales and Operations Updates

Sales and Operations

Check back next month for an update.

Service

The service department continues to drive revenue through service. We are also working on creating a path in Salesforce dedicated to our service customers. The more we can start of track and measure our activity, the more we are going to be able to deliver to our overall growth.

There is more communications to our customers regrading service. Emails continue to go out to remind everyone to schedule their preventative maintenance. Now that we are working toward integration, we’ll be able leverage other resources to make our service department better than its ever been.

Commercial Sales

The Commercial Department is still running strong even though most of our customers are on lock-down and we have placed a big focus on outbound marketing in April. We appreciate the leads we received from many branches this month and want to say thanks to David Hamlet in Oklahoma City and Dan Skornia in Kansas City for providing leads that we closed. An exciting change was made in DealerStar that now allows the Commercial department to run the deals completely through the branch. We feel this will help positively impact each team member at the branch which will lead to more collaboration and lead sharing in the future.  We have also been working with Braun on a Commercial marketing mailer that will start up in the near future and be released in several markets. Jay and the Commercial team are currently in the process of creating training material that can help prepare branches in the targeted markets to assist with the increase in commercial leads. More specifics will come on this soon.

Department Updates

Customer Care Center

Happy May!  The CCC is excited to let you know that Inbound Calls and Internet leads are trending back up!  We have been reaching out to many of our customers to check on them, offer our assistance and just to remind them that when they are ready, we are here for them!  Many of our customers have been so appreciative just to hear us call and check on them and it brings a smile to our faces to know that we are making an impact.

DMS

This coming weekend, 5/1/20 – 5/3/20, DealerStar will be locked while data is being migrated/uploaded in preparation for the Ability Center go live on Monday, 5/4.  Please make note of this and prepare any transactions to be closed prior to close of business on 5/1/20.

As Ability Center will be coming onto the system on Monday, we will be ramping up our support so that our current users see as little disruption in support and wait times as possible.  We appreciate your patience as we add another 75+ users to the system.  Although it is not anticipated, if you do experience any oddities, system slowness, etc. please communicate to us immediately so we may address the issue in a timely manner.

Finance and Accounting

Check back next month for an update.

Human Resources

Unemployment is Taxable Income

I am not trying to offer advice on what is best for you or how you should handle unemployment compensation, but just want to remind everyone that unemployment compensation  is taxable income. I understand some States application for Unemployment are very clear about it and others are not.  Nevertheless, this oversight could lead to taxpayers who didn’t withhold taxes from unemployment benefits owing on their federal and state income tax returns.

The states regulate unemployment benefits, but not all recipients understand their related tax responsibilities. You must actively undertake the process to withhold taxes from unemployment benefits; taxes aren’t automatically deducted, unless you select that option on line or when you registered over the phone.  This differs from W-2s, where employers are required to withhold these taxes from your paycheck up-front.

Stay Well!

Rich Venhaus

Inventory

Check back next month for an update.

Marketing

April was an interesting month in terms of marketing. Luckily, that month is now behind us and we are focused on making May one of our best months in terms of lead generation.

There are so many changes happening companywide. You can count on our marketing efforts to remain strong. We have a stronghold on our paid search efforts today. Now its time to try something new –  Programmatic Advertising.

What is programmatic advertising?  You know when you visit a website, social media site or really, any online channel, you probably find that the paid advertisements and promotions displayed to you seem to be predicting your needs and reading your mind with scary levels of accuracy. That programmatic advertising and that’s what we’ll be doing as of today. Programmatic advertising will give us our biggest bang for the buck. The goal for this new initiative is to build awareness as well as driving leads to your store.

You can expect to see more automation and innovation coming out of the marketing department moving forward.

Technology

Check back next month for an update.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Employee Rewards and Recognition Program

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BIRTHDAYS

NameBirthday
Jacob BaliseMay 2nd
Kevin QuesenberryMay 5th
Blake LaClairMay 6th
Beatriz GonzalezMay 8th
Ryan GreenMay 8th
Joseph TittleMay 13th
Chris TinderMay 20th
Dewitt EudaleyMay 21st
Allen KapugiMay 21st
Kyle KopkeMay 21st
Chip StoeckerMay 22nd
Tim ThompsonMay 22nd
Jemal MfundshiMay 26th
Van WrightMay 26th
Rich VenhausMay 27th
John BeeringMay 28th
Art DasczynskiMay 28th
Chevy SaldivarMay 28th
Mary BennorthMay 29th
Kent PowersMay 31st

ANNIVERSARIES

NameAnniversaryYears
Isabel GonzalezMay 2nd4 Years
Angel RodriguezMay 6th7 Years
Murray SkillestadMay 6th1 Year
Scott SellenriekMay 8th13 Years
John PasterMay 9th4 Years
Mary ZatopekMay 12th10 Years
Dewitt EudaleyMay 13th4 Years
Darryl HarrisMay 14th7 Years
Thomas ReedMay 14th8 Years
Randolph JohnsonMay 16th12 Years
Lauren BrummettMay 24th9 Years
Janet BrunoMay 26th11 Years
Michael BradshawMay 29th5 Years
David HamletMay 29th5 Years
Hayden BerryMay 30th3 Years
Gary PerryMay 31st6 Years

If you would like to contribute to the newsletter or have any suggestions, please contact us with your ideas.

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