ATSI Awards Recap

Reported by Donna West

There was an electric charge in the air that had nothing to do with the violent thunderstorms that raged sporadically throughout the ATSI convention. It was Friday night, the awards dinner. In moments, the announcements would be made. ATSI would recognize the people and companies that had made a difference in our association and in our industry.

To kick off the awards part of the evening, President Dennis O’Hara announced that two of our vendors had met the criteria for ATSI certification. The stringent requirements for this honor allow all of us to compare our platforms and our statistics and know that a second, a hold, or a ring in one platform is the same as a second, a hold, or a ring in another platform. Roger Young accepted the certification plaque for Telescan, the first certified vendor. Dan Feis and Steve Newell accepted for Startel, which was certified earlier in June.

Beth Cooper gave details on the newest ATSI award program, the Certified Agent of the Year, which was created to recognize the important role that frontline agents play in the success of our call centers. These are the people our clients think of when they picture a call center. The goal is to increase the inherent value of call centers and agents in the business community by promoting an awareness of the professional standards of today’s ATSI certified call center agent. The program is open to ATSI members in good standing. The nominated agent must be ATSI certified at the time of nomination submission and spend at least 90 percent of their time as a frontline agent.

Martha Mina, an employee of Focus Comm Centers for nineteen years, was the first recipient of the Certified Agent of the Year Award. In accepting the award on Martha’s behalf, Donna West said, “She is a leader, a mentor, and people try to live up to her expectations of them. She consistently scores over 97 percent on our in-house evaluations, and she has had several 100 percent Award of Excellence and Award of Distinction calls. There could not be a more deserving person than Martha.”

Dennis then bestowed the President’s Award to Terri Paffile of Answer 1 in Phoenix, Arizona. Dennis stated, “Every year there is one person who rises above the rest in the amount that they give to ATSI. This year, so many people gave so much that it was difficult to single out only one person. However, Terri Paffile truly stood ‘head and shoulders’ above the crowd. Her contributions to the convention, to the marketing committee, to Answer OnLine, and to the membership committee – in fact, to just about every segment of the board and committees – were invaluable!

Dennis O’Hara also inducted Darlene Campbell into the ATSI Hall of Fame by saying, “Our ATSI Hall of Fame inductee is well-known within the industry as a past president of our association, a previous convention chair, and the current chair of one of most active committees. This person exemplifies service to the industry and the association. Everything Darlene has done for ATSI has been willing and energetically undertaken.”

Darlene serves as the chair of ATSI’s Advocacy Committee and has worked closely with our lobbyist, Dave Wenhold. Dave said, “Working with Darlene has been a real pleasure. She has an innate understanding of the political process and was a pro during our Hill walk in Washington. ATSI is fortunate to have her engaged in an advocacy role and protecting the profession. I consider myself lucky to be able to work with her and congratulate her on induction into the Hall of Fame.”

Larry Goldenberg then took the podium to talk about the LBA Award. “Learning by Association – Sharing Is What We’re All About” is the slogan that truly describes ATSI. The recipients of the LBA award are voted on by the entire membership. There is no list of candidates; it is done by members casting their vote for three people. “The trophy,” Larry pointed out, “depicts three figures rolling a ball up a hill. No one could do that alone; it takes a shared effort. It is a visual representation of what ATSI is – what we do.”

Marcy Hewlett announced the LBA award for Tom Gelbach of ACT Teleservices, in Newington, Connecticut. Gary Pudles presented this year’s award to Jannemieke Keener of Keener Communications in Glen Allen, Virginia. Lastly, Mari Osmon and Dee Hawkins presented the award to Gary Blair of Tele-Page, Montreal, Quebec.

In his farewell address, Dennis O’Hara shared these thoughts: “As I took office a year ago I had many goals for ATSI. It was all about providing products and services that would positively affect the bottom line of our membership. We have achieved an impressive list of things that will directly or indirectly help our members grow their businesses. None of our accomplishments could have been achieved without the hard work of your board of directors. I want to say that I believe this has been the finest board of directors in recent history. They worked tirelessly for the good of ATSI. I thank them, and also Charlene Glorieux – she works in the background, but what she does for the board members, for the president, and for this organization is invaluable!

“I want to thank the many people who have become my friends during this year. One of the unspoken benefits of serving on the ATSI board is the lifelong friends that you will make. I want to reach out to every member and urge you to volunteer. Help in any way you can; don’t wait to be asked. If there is something you can do, do it. Give back to ATSI – we need you! I promise that you will get ten times more out of volunteering than you will put into it! Finally, let me thank the membership for the honor of representing you this past year, it was one of the best experiences of my life, and one that I will never forget.”

Then it was time for Larry Goldenberg to share some of his vision for the upcoming year.

“In thinking about the concept of ‘generally where are we going,’ I tried to simplify our general goals by developing what I am calling our “Five C” concept. There are five words that should help shape our future direction. Those words are Cooperation, Continuity, Consistency, Cohesiveness, and ‘Cynergy.’ (Okay, I took a little literary license with that last word!)

“Bottom line means we all have to work together – members within ATSI, and ATSI and the user and affiliate groups. We need to make the effort to maximize the value we each derive from belonging to these organizations. It also means that the concept is not reinventing the wheel every year and continually changing what we are planning on the whim of a new president. We have many good programs that are alive and well in ATSI right now. All you have to do is look at the list on your table – most of which Dennis reviewed. We need to have the consistency and continuity to keep those programs going, improving them if necessary. We need your help and your feedback. You can let us know at any time your ideas and suggestions and needs.”

ATSI has been in very good hands, and it will continue to be in good hands with Larry Goldenberg at the helm and Mike Fultz ready to take over at this time next year.

(Read more about the convention in the ATSI Update section.)

[From Connection Magazine Jul/Aug 2009]