First American Business Enterprise

First American Business in Action

Coronavirus Support

When things get tough our team gets going.   The Coronavirus has impacted virtually everyone everywhere.   Last Month one our very own Resource Coordinators (affectionately known as “the Mask Lady”) proactively sprang into action and started to make protective face masks for people in need and even sending some to our own team members and technicians.   She is leading this effort for the First American Business team and has made over 500 masks so far!

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These masks are making a difference at several local Houston hospitals!

Expanded Team

Business continues to grow for First American Business in both the Enterprise and the Government side.   As a result, in the first Quarter of 2020 we brought on 4 new people.

  • Engineers (Tier 3): Sean Poppell, Wayne Page
  • Solution Architects: Hugh Simpson
  • Payroll Administration: Julie Potter

This greatly enhances our support capabilities on Avaya, Nortel, Cisco and Ribbon products.

LAB Build Out

Our lab is now complete!

  • We have made significant investments obtaining and building a formal LAB. The Lab is based in Tampa and contains Avaya CM 6.3, 7.1, 8, Avaya IPO, Nortel CS1K, Cisco, and Ribbon in the near future to name a few. This will allow our engineers to fully recreate issues and test solution prior to moving them into production.
  • We have several projects where staging hardware is a component. Our new lab allows us to test designed solutions; Simulate issues while troubleshooting and provide hands-on training of new software as it becomes available

Remote Workers

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Dealing with the Coronavirus

Things have changed in the business world, and our communities, due to the global pandemic that none of us could have foreseen.   People talk about a “new normal” but we will need to see how the virus plays out over time.   The one thing we do know for sure is that in the short term there is an immediate impact to all of us, and how we address that we believe is critical.

Some of the immediate impacts include:

How are Telecom vendors replying?

Work from Home – It is estimated that 50% of all jobs in American can be done remotely.   Of those currently 45% offer some limited form of work from home.   Many companies provide secure remote VPNs that allow employees to log in and work remote 1 day per week for example.   Some companies like First American Business allow all its employees to work remote full time.   Teleworking first started in the late 90’s and has expanded every year since.

Due to the Coronavirus, major corporations who never had a policy are now forced to shut their office buildings and quickly set up remote working.   Education facilities including grade schools have set up and are conducting remote learning.  Teachers around the country are developing lesion plans and teaching over video!   Imagine… this was not even contemplated in February of this year.

How are Telecom vendors replying?

Collaboration Tools (voice, video, chat)

Due to the C-19 virus, the major telecom companies are rolling out free or reduced collaboration and work-from-home solutions.  Examples:

  • Cisco:   Free Webex worldwide for 90 days
  • Ring Central:  Free (limited) UC collaboration
  • Avaya:   Free Spaces (collaboration) and Contact Center work from home licenses.
  • Ribbon (Kandy): Enabling customer’s workforce with Work@home.  Free and secure video conferencing and collaboration tools.

Virtually all suppliers in the Telecom space have risen to the challenge and are offering their products and services to companies and governments for free.   Now, many of these offers are limited – such as 90 days and have a cap on license volumes but they are there and available now.   The telecom industry has jumped into motion to address the collaboration needs of corporate America.

First American Response

  • We support our clients 7×24 for complete remote offers.
  • First American Business offers cloud-based voice services that we can turn up in days. For example, we now have over 60 end users (4 sites) on our cloud offer today with our customer Hello Destination.
  • We handle implementation and on-going support including working with our customer’s existing carriers and suppliers.

100% of our staff has remained in place during this global pandemic.   We remotely access our customer’s networks to trouble shoot and resolve issues.  We can avoid air travel because we have a nationwide network of over 800 technicians in the field that we can deploy locally if needed.

In short, we are fully operational and supporting our customers every day!

President’s Piece

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Spring 2020!

It was the spring of last year that our newsletter featured information about our 10 years anniversary.   It’s hard to believe we have now reached the year 1 milestone of our second decade!

Things have changed in the business world, and our communities, due to the global pandemic that none of us could have foreseen.   People talk about a “new normal” but we will need to see how the virus plays out over time.   The one thing we do know for sure is that in the short term there is an immediate impact to all of us, and how we address that we believe is critical.

At the family of First American Businesses, we have a high priority placed on the health and safety of our staff.   Thankfully we have had a work-at-home policy in place for years so all of our employees are equipped to log into systems, trouble shoot problems and resolve issues remotely.  We have a full suite of Microsoft collaboration tools that make communicating internally and with clients relatively easy.

We are in full operations mode and continue to work at full speed through these trying times.   Due to travel restrictions our nationwide field services team of 800 technicians is in place so our customer’s continue to support their projects without flying to a remote location.

We truly appreciate our great customers and we are here to help!

Trade Shows

Early this year we attended the Avaya Engage User Group.   Enterprise Connect unfortunately was canceled for March and has been rescheduled for August in San Francisco which conflicts with another engagement of ours so unfortunately we will not be attending this year.   We are still hopeful to be able to attend the Ribbon Sales conference later this spring,

We normally have a First American Business team retreat in Clearwater Florida each spring and bring in our entire team but have decided to delay that until the fall.

Ticketing System

The new First American Business Ticketing System Is up and fully functioning.   This system has made a big improvement in how we open tickets, dispatch remote field resources and pay vendors. This new ticking system will allow our customers to more easily open and track a ticket with us.   Internally it will allow us to update and report key metrics to allow improvements in our delivery.

This new tool is an investment in our overall team’s productivity.   Tool enhancements like the new FAB Ticking System have allowed us to grow efficiently.

Staff Expansion

At First American Business we continue to attract top talent.  We have expanded our Tier III engineering team with both Avaya Certified engineers in Contact Center and UC and have even expanded our Nortel Tier III team.   This is the largest our engineering team has been since business started 11 years ago!

Thanks to you, our customers– we look forward to supporting you in 2020 and for many years to come!

Sincerely,
Mark

Owner, Managing Partner
mark.morningstar@firstamericanbusiness.com

President’s Piece

10 Year Company Anniversary!

I am very happy to report that this May 2019 will be our 10th year in business.   It is with tremendous pride that I can say that the great people we have at First American Business, and those within our partner network, have made it possible for us to not only grow but to prosper in the very competitive telecom landscape.   We have had year after year of increasing sales due to our teams quality and reliable service to the customers we serve.

I want to thank our customers for their dedication and for trusting us to manage and evolve their networks.   We have many small and large customers but to us they are all important and we look forward to serving them as their businesses evolve and continue to grow.

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As we embark on the start of our second decade I see huge opportunities as we expand our portfolio to Cloud and other technologies.

Trade Shows

2019 has started much like prior years with our participation in various partner trade shows.  For the first half of the year we attended, or will soon be attending, the following amazing events:

  • Avaya Engage Users Group – Jan
  • Converge1 Sales Conference – Feb
  • Enterprise Connect conference – March
  • Ribbon Sales Conference – Apr
  • Alliance-IT Sales Conference – June

We had a booth at C1 and Avaya Engage and are active participants in the others.

Ticketing System

The launch of our newly designed First American Business Ticketing System!   This new ticking system will allow our customers to more easily open and track a ticket with us.   Internally it will allow us to update and report key metrics to allow improvements in our delivery.

Staff Expansion

At First American we continue to attract top talent.  I’m proud to announce the addition of another new full time Avaya Engineer on staff.

Team Retreat

Our second team retreat will be held this year in Clearwater Florida May 7th-May 9th. With a virtual structured business model many of our team members talk daily on the phone but never have a chance to meet their colleagues face to face. Last years team retreat was a huge success, we look forward to our second team session. The team retreat consists of team introductions, success stories, new opportunities, new business strategies and the state of the business plus a little team building exercise.

Thanks to you, our customers– we look forward to supporting you in 2019 and for the next 10 years!

Sincerely,

Mark

Owner, Managing Partner

mark.morningstar@firstamericanbusiness.com

Customer Success Story

First American Business Enterprise has just successfully completed a 100+ site and system deployment for a major Fortune 100 financial institution called “Branch Deployment” which also included a major CM7 Upgrade Project.  The project was over 2 years in total and on the very day of the final branch deployment our customer sent us this note which says it all:

 

Darryle, Mike, Don, Rich, Kim, and Val:

It is hard to express our appreciation for the amazing work you have done.  Thank you all for the endless hours that each of you spent/are spending working nights and weekends for the past two years – benching, data gathering, end user training, deploying phones, installing switches, installing gateways, FDOB support, adds, moves, changes, ordering, tracking and shipping hardware, etc.  Challenges have been numerus – and your ability to adapt to the constant change in procedures has been outstanding. The dedication, professionalism and team effort that each of you have shown has been immensely impressive.  Congratulations on a job well done!

 

Lauren and Lin:

Lauren, your diligence, dedication and ownership has been a source of inspiration for everyone on the team.  You and Lin have done an outstanding job in keeping the wheels turning and on track for two years – processing 270 Cisco orders – managing and storing HW – plus weekly deliveries; 167 Avaya orders, and 167 site travel arrangements/expenses, managing and delivering billing on time – it’s been absolutely crazy – and not once did we have a travel hiccup or major invoice delay.  Thank you all for your efforts and for an outstanding job.  

*** Mark – again – you should be so very proud of your team – First American has delivered yet another successful job! **

Wishing everyone the best for exciting times ahead.  I am looking forward to our next endeavor together. 

 

Project Statistics:  Branch Deployment Project:

  • # of sites deployed – 167
  • # of systems deployed per month (max) – 12
  • # of systems reverted back to the old system – zero!
  • # of people on the project – 6 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –22 months
  • # etc. etc. – 2 maternity leaves (diff people)

Project Statistics:  CM7 Upgrade:

  • # of sites upgraded –182
  • # of systems upgraded per month (max) – 45
  • # of people on the project – 4 (include PM)
  • # of months -start to finish –7 months

Getting to Know… Joanna Hunt

You speak with them over the phone frequently, but how well do you really know our amazingly talented employees when so much of our work is completed remotely? FirstABS is on a mission to profile our employees monthly so that you, our valued customer, can get to know us all a little better!

This month, we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Hunt, one of our excellent Resource Coordinators.

Joanna has been with us for 8 years though her background includes 5 years with the Douglas County School System in Douglassville, GA, 6 years with the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta, GA, and 4 years with Prudential Real Estate in Douglasville.

She and her husband, Sony, now live and work out of Merritt Island, FL and have 2 sons, Nicholas and Patrick. The people Joanna most admires are her parents, Leroy and Margaret Lunsford.
Joanna enjoys spending time with family and friends at activities such as boating, Golfing, Bunco and watching her favorite movie, Bridgette Jones Diary. Her favorite sports teams to cheer for are Alabama Crimson Tide (Roll Tide!) and the Minnesota Vikings.

FirstABS would like to say a big THANKS to Joanna for all of her hard work, and for letting us spotlight her in this post, and in our most recent Newsletter!

Getting to Know Us

Lauren Thompson

As First American Business Solutions continues to grow so does the need to increase our support staff and make sure our existing
staff are still at the top of their field. Our goal is to always ensure we provide the service our customers expect and deserve.

FirstABS is happy to have Lauren Thompson join our team! Lauren started with FirstABS in June of 2014 as an addition to our Business Development Team. Lauren is a 2009 Florida State Graduate with a MS in Integrated Marketing Communications.
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Sean Poppell

Sean Poppell

FirstABS would like to congratulate Technical Consultant and Voice Engineer Sean Poppell for acquiring the Avaya Certified Support Specialist (ACSS) – Avaya Aura® Session Manager and System Manager Certification. This achievement certifies that Sean has the advanced level of technical proficiency necessary to successfully support Avaya Aura Session Manager and System Manager Products. Congrats, Sean, and thank you for continuing to make FirstABS advanced and competitive in our industry!

FirstABS is committed to staying abreast of current technology trends and knowledge so as to always provide the most current, competitive and satisfactory services!

Customer Responsiveness – What to Expect When You’re in Need

Customer Responsiveness is one of the most important aspects of business for FirstABS. When you’re in need, we will be there for you.

So what does Customer Responsiveness mean to you?

For us, it means answering the phone in a timely fashion and returning missed calls quickly, responding to emails promptly, and dispatching qualified technicians rapidly when needed. It means frequently posting and monitoring our blog, newsletter and social media, because we recognize these platforms as our fastest and most efficient way to keep in contact with you and with future clients.

FirstABS is working hard to make these service areas a reality, but as always, we appreciate your feedback and thoughts on our progress.

Do these things fulfill your Customer Responsiveness needs?

To ensure that you are properly equipped to get the answers and tools you need – when you need them, make sure to sign up for our e-Newsletter and click through to link to our social media. The links for our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be found at the bottom and top of this page. If you need something quickly, contact us and we promise to assist you in a timely and efficient manner!

Getting to Know… Sean Poppell

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FirstABS is proud to have staff across the country and features different employees each month to give our clients the opportunity to know us a little better.

This month, meet Sean Poppell, an Engineer/Business Development Specialist at FirstABS.

Sean has been with FirstABS for over three years, working and living in Keystone Heights, Florida. His experience includes 18 years designing, engineering, installing, managing and consulting for Avaya Red and Blue (Nortel) product lines.

Sean is a big fan of all things “water,” as evidenced by his favorite book, The Old Man and the Sea, and favorite movie, The Hunt for Red October. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, hunting, watching his favorite college team (Florida Gators) and spending time with family and friends.

Sean is community-minded, and is a volunteer firefighter and active supporter for autism related charities.

According to Sean, his wife is his inspiration. She is, “my anchor that holds me in place no matter how rough the seas may get.”