Thank You Kansas City, For Making ServiceMark the #1 NEC Telephone System Provider in Kansas City!

ServiceMark Telecom is the number one NEC telephone system provider in Kansas City! ServiceMark has also been recognized as a top NEC Associate internationally!

• ServiceMark is the only “Double Diamond” NEC Associate in Kansas City which is a result of total annual sales and ServiceMark’s commitment to ongoing technical training.
• Recently ServiceMark Telecom received an International NEC Sales, Marketing and Leadership Award! The awards were created by NEC to recognize outstanding performance in several categories (Community Service, Marketing Innovation and Effectiveness, and Increase in NEC Market Share). ServiceMark was one of 10 winners named annually out of an international group of NEC dealers covering the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

ServiceMark’s distinction as a top NEC Associate is a result of nurturing strong, committed relationships, and ServiceMark’s president Bruce Gibbs believes that the only thing of any lasting value is relationships. Recently at a banquet to celebrate ServiceMark’s 20 years in business, Albert Kelley (NEC Vice President of Sales) said “I work for a big company, and in corporate America you don’t always get to have relationships. We've managed to have a relationship that goes back 20 years, and that’s an awesome thing in today’s times. It just [usually] doesn’t happen.”

When nominated for the leadership award, ServiceMark president Bruce Gibbs was required to submit an essay which provides great insight about ServiceMark’s 20 year history and involvement in the Kansas City community. Below is the essay.

NEC Sales and Marketing Leadership Award Nomination EssaY

By Bruce Gibbs
President, ServiceMark Telecom

Community Service

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University recently reported that “about three quarters (72.5%) of Kansas City area households made charitable donations in 2007. With an average donation of $3,375 per household, Kansas City exceeds the national average of $2,247 (as estimated for 2007) by 50%.” ServiceMark Telecom has played a major sponsorship role in many charities, including a partnership with baseball legend George Brett to benefit the ALS Foundation and the Salvation Army. This extremely generous community has deeply influenced ServiceMark Telecom’s owners and employees, and is part of what makes Kansas City such a desirable place to live and do business.

ServiceMark Telecom was founded in 1995 by Larry Stewart, who was an example of generosity locally, nationally and event “Later with Bob Costas In Kansas City,” benefiting the Steve Palermo Foundation for Spinal Cord Injuries. In the years since suffering paralysis from injuries he sustained while saving two women from being mugged, Mr. Palermo has been a tireless champion for the injured and paralyzed. He has earned his status as a hero, and is a dear friend and charity partner with ServiceMark president Bruce Gibbs. These selfless people and this generous city have nurtured a culture within ServiceMark of giving back to the community that started at the roots of its earliest days, and has grown throughout its 19-year history.around the world. Along with his organized charity work, he was also known for his random acts of kindness. For years he was Kansas City’s Secret Santa, giving $100 bills to people in need at Christmastime. And in its early years, primarily through the generosity of the Stewart family, ServiceMark sponsored the

In recent years ServiceMark Telecom and ServiceMark owners and employees have supported the following organizations:

• Blue Springs Education Foundation
• Churches
• Drumm Farm Center for Children
• Independence School District Foundation
• Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council
• Lee’s Summit Social Services
• Mental Health America of the Heartland
• SAFE (Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund)
• The Salvation Army
• Steve Hagedorn Memorial Benefit Golf Tournament
• Sunshine Center School
• The Whole Person (People with Disabilities Leading Independent Lives.)
• YMCA of Greater Kansas City

In recent years, ServiceMark Telecom president Bruce Gibbs has served on the following boards and committees:

• Birchwood Church (Board Member)
• Independence School District Foundation (Board Member)
• Sunshine Center School (Board Member)
• YMCA of Greater Kansas City (Member of the Property Building & Asset Council)

Increase in NEC Market Share

During the first 11 months of fiscal year 2013, ServiceMark’s sales of NEC products increased by 75% from the previous fiscal year! This increase in NEC market share is a result of nurturing strong, committed relationships. And Bruce Gibbs believes that the only thing of any lasting value is relationships.

The ServiceMark ownership group met Al Kelley for the first time in 1995 when Al established ServiceMark as a dealer. After 20 years, Mr. Kelley continues to be a close friend and advocate. The ServiceMark ownership group has also known David Bukoski, Charlie Setaro, and Bill Kintop since the 90s, and these and countless others have gone above and beyond for ServiceMark for over 18 years.

After being promoted from “NEC Dealer” to “NEC Associate”, the partnership between ServiceMark and NEC reached an even higher level. In addition to our friends in Shelton, CT, ServiceMark has strong advocates throughout the NEC organization, including but not limited to Mary Irwin, Gail Kasek, Wayne Jones, Jim Buxton, Olga Foster, and Peggy Murphy.

ServiceMark has loyal customers and employees. This has been proven true not during times of prosperity, but rather during periods when we were experiencing growing pains and not at our best. The relationships we had nurtured held us together when it mattered. During lean times, the employees of ServiceMark worked as a team out of necessity, and it was clear then, and is still clear now, that our people find great satisfaction in working and problem solving together. Several years ago, at the end of a character-building year, technician Steve Braby said, “I feel lucky to be a part of this group”.

Historically, ServiceMark was not an exclusive NEC Associate. Due to the changes within NEC which resulted in the merging of two NEC divisions, and because of rapid changes in technology in the marketplace, ServiceMark kept their options open. However, during that time, in practice, ServiceMark was an exclusive NEC Associate. So, beginning fiscal year 2013, ServiceMark made the contractual commitment to officially become an Exclusive NEC Associate. We have no interest in being an expert on a wide range of products from a variety of manufacturers. We are now fully committed to the NEC brand. And making the decision to commit to our strong and lasting relationship with NEC was a significant contributing factor in our 75% increase in sales from the previous fiscal year.

Random Acts of Kindness

ServiceMark’s founder Larry Stewart frequently encouraged others to look for opportunities to perform random acts of kindness. One way that Bruce Gibbs has put Larry’s suggestion into action is to look for opportunities to help good people find jobs with good employers. Bruce is proactive in interviewing people even when his company has no job openings, either to simply help write a more effective letter of recommendation, or to make a more positive introduction when a job opportunity is recognized elsewhere in the community.

Although the original intent was to simply help good people find good jobs, this activity began to benefit ServiceMark. Interviewing people to help them further their careers forced Bruce to meet candidates whether or not he was looking for new employees himself. Within the past two years, Bruce hired one of these candidates. She didn’t make a life-long commitment to ServiceMark, but she was so grateful for the job that before she left, she helped us by referring someone who was the right fit, and this person proved to be the very person we needed during a critical transition point in our business.

Our founder’s fondness of random acts of kindness is a good practice for many reasons. If you do nice things for people simply because it’s the right thing to do, you experience the joy of performing a selfless act. Also, you demonstrate to those around you that this habit is rewarding, and they are encouraged to do the same. And, when you find someone to help who has strong character qualities, you may find that this becomes a proactive personnel practice that will help you in your own business. You build a strong, wide-reaching network of good people. And good people do good work.