A Program That Can Strengthen Any Company

Bruce Hamsher is Leadership Coach for ProVia

By Bruce Hamsher

There’s certainly no shortage of training going on here at ProVia. We have installer training, IT training, and skills training in a variety of disciplines, all very practical in their applications. So when we decided to roll out a different type of training program – aimed exclusively at cultivating leadership skills and character development – we weren’t sure what our employees would think. We announced our first leadership class with 10 available slots, and soon we had 39 applicants! Clearly we have many who are hungry to learn, grow, and develop in a leadership capacity.

ProVia Leads

The development of qualified leaders can sometimes be an afterthought, but we decided to prioritize this important topic. In 2015 we started “ProVia Leads”, our in-house leadership coaching program. We completed our first class last fall, and you can see the happy faces of our successful participants in the photo below. Our goal for this program is to be proactive and to “get people ready before there’s a role to fill.” Everything is centered around servant leadership, where we lead by serving with humility.

The ProVia Leads Class of 2015 (left to right): Kari Crilow, Nick Schwartz, Heather West, Jason Cunningham, Wanda Seilhamer, Doug Irvin, Joel Herman, Jon Miller, Kim Troyer

A Learning Laboratory

Our group meets for a 90-minute session on Wednesdays, three weeks per month. It’s not really a classroom setting, it’s more of a “learning laboratory”, very much a mixture of instruction and a hands-on approach. As you can see, that’s a considerable resource commitment on ProVia’s part. But we have the kind of leadership who are investors and they’re givers, and they know this is going to make a difference all the way around.

From Fear to Success

Take for example the topic of public speaking. This is one of the things that people fear the most! So I go through some how-to training and explain how to put together a presentation, and we’ll look at some examples. Then I let them know that in three weeks, each person will be giving an eight-minute talk. I remind them they don’t have to freak out because I’ve given them a systematic formula for approaching this, and they’re ready. To the amazement of all, they survive their eight-minute talks, and indeed excel at them because now they know the proven techniques for success. As a bonus, there’s a bonding that takes place as they conquer their new challenges together.

A Valuable Ticket

At this point I should clarify, the ProVia Leads program is not an automatic ticket to a promotion, and our participants know this ahead of time. This educational journey is for those who really want to know how to become a better leader. We also talk about what that means in their homes, as a spouse, as a parent, their relationships in their social networks, their churches, and obviously at work. So it’s a ticket to something much more valuable than a job promotion…it opens the gates to a more rewarding and successful life.

Life-Changing

I had one participant last year who’s amazed because his wife says he’s a different father. And his kids are telling him he’s a different dad. We’re able to provide an environment where he’s taking it home and changing his life. Similarly, many of our ProVia Leads participants have experienced a profound impact on their lives overall.

Highly Recommended

This kind of program not only strengthens the individual – it can also strengthen any growing organization. I highly recommend it. If you decide this is something you’d like to put in place at your company, I encourage complete buy-in from your top executive team. That will steer the ship for success. If you’re a ProVia dealer and have questions, or simply want to brainstorm the possibilities for your company, feel free to give me a call at 800.669.4711. I’ll be more than happy to help think about ideas for your company.  

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Can't Do This Alone

Craig Mullet is Vice President of Corporate Care for ProVia

By Craig Mullet

Most of us in the building products business are sticklers about quality. At ProVia, quality is one of our core values, and an area where we never compromise. But we live in an imperfect world, and things sometimes happen during the ordering or production process that prevents a product from being sold. However, the product is often in perfectly good working condition and it would be a shame for it to go to waste! That’s why we’re glad to be a partner with World Vision, the organization we donate to when we have reordered product.

Participating in World Vision does much more than avoid wastefulness. It’s perhaps the most useful way to manage reordered product because donations are ultimately helping children and families in need. Recently I spoke with Mary Garcia, Corporate Engagement Director for World Vision, to discuss how building products manufacturers can help fill these needs while also benefiting their own companies.

Craig: It’s possible that some of our readers aren’t familiar with World Vision, so please tell us a little bit about the organization. I notice that your slogan places an emphasis on children.

Mary: World Vision is a not-for-profit Christian humanitarian organization that operates in nearly 100 countries throughout the world with approximately 46,000 employees worldwide. We started as an international child sponsorship organization, and are now one of the largest and most respected community development and relief organizations in the world. We hire local people and work alongside communities to tackle the root causes of poverty. We focus on providing access to clean water, food security, basic healthcare, quality education, and more. It’s not a hand-out; it’s a hand-up.

Here in the U.S., World Vision has been working with community partners to improve the well-being of vulnerable children and youth since 1981.  

World Vision donations helped Pascal and Donna Harsh rebuild after their home was destroyed by fire. Pascal, who is disabled, is beloved in his community for donating several hours per day transporting dozens of children to tutoring and mentorship activities.

C: The great majority of ProVia’s donations go into World Vision’s product donation program in Appalachia, West Virginia. How does this program work?

M: We work to fill basic needs that many Americans take for granted: providing families in need with essentials such as personal hygiene products, household cleaning items, clothing, and school supplies.

More costly resources such as doors, windows, flooring, and paint can help create and renovate safe, affordable housing in distressed neighborhoods. We receive donations from many building products manufacturers who send us plumbing materials, drywall, shingles… you name it. World Vision distributes building materials to individuals and partner organizations benefiting children and families in need and impacting local communities.

C: Are you also involved in disaster relief?

M: When a disaster happens we adopt a first-in, last-out approach. Our local staff are on the ground to provide immediate aid, including clean water, emergency food, hygiene kits, tarps, and more depending on the needs of the community. Then, we work alongside the community to rebuild.

In May 2013, a deadly twister struck near Oklahoma City. With wind speeds of over 200 mph, the tornado exceeded every world wind record except one: the more than 300-mph reading measured during the Moore, OK, tornado in 1999. During the storm, James and Michelle Hoke and their two children waited in an underground shelter. When the family emerged from the shelter, they found their home completely demolished and the entire neighborhood destroyed.

ProVia’s siding was one of the products donated for the rebuild of their home. When asked what these donations meant to her family, Michelle was moved to tears, explaining, “The donation of building materials gave us back hope.”  

Michelle and James Hoke rebuilt after a record-breaking tornado in Oklahoma.

C: What should building products companies know about making donations to World Vision?

M: First, we do everything we can to make this an excellent business solution for companies. If a company is unable to deliver product to us, we’ll pick it up, at our cost. We also provide a receipt for tax purposes, provide support for corporate social responsibility programs, and ensure that any typical product warranties are waived so the transaction carries no long-term commitment. Companies appreciate this because there are complicating factors such as not being installed by a certified installation professional.

We’ve actually created a video invitation especially for building products companies! I encourage folks to watch this video because it tells the whole story of how our programs work. It’s important to realize, no one can do this job alone. But by working together we can truly change the world for the better.

Watch this video to learn more about Building Product donations.

C: The reason we wanted to share your story is to build awareness for your programs. There might be other companies out there that can create a win-win working with World Vision. Can they contact you for more information?

M: Absolutely! I’ll be glad to personally help with any questions and further information. Feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or give me a call at 412.735.6680.

Folks are also welcome to visit our website at www.worldvision.org/corporate to learn more.

C: Thanks for all your excellent work Mary. We enjoy partnering with you and World Vision.    

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