Jeremy Henrickson – IT Director at Shoppa’s, a material handling company – has essentially followed Cactus Technology Solutions’ Becky Anderson since her previous role/employer and now with her client solutions’ responsibilities with Cactus. Understanding the value of a responsive solution provider is critical to Jeremy; and Becky embraces that role and her client focus is inevitable.
“When Becky called to alert me she was leaving her former employer at the time, I told her to make sure she called me when she made her transition – I didn’t want to lose her. Becky always answers her phone and emails; and that’s not common in our industry,” states Jeremy.
A native of North Dakota, Jeremy was in the opposite role prior to joining Shoppa’s 19-plus years ago. In a former job, Jimmy Shoppa – president and owner of Shoppa’s – was one of Jeremy’s clients. Later, after a bit of time lapsed, Jimmy called and offered the position of IT director to Jeremy, and without hesitation, Jeremy accepted.
“It’s not a fun task to begin the process of identifying, calling and selecting the ideal vendor for any IT or telecom solution; Becky, via Cactus, steps in and handles it for us in a professional, proactive and timely manner. I rely on Becky immensely,” says Jeremy.
Jeremy has worked with both Becky and Jake (Jake Godwin, sales engineer for Cactus) and places his complete trust in them – and Cactus – to make sure they have the best interest for Jeremy, and Shoppa’s. From sending out request for proposals for a customized solution, to reviewing the options and narrowing the solutions that best fit all the needs of Shoppa’s, Becky has Jeremy’s back.
Becky believes its Jeremy’s experience and knowledge that makes it such a wonderful client/vendor partnership. “Jeremy makes my job easier because of his extensive insight; that, coupled with his fun personality, just makes my role worthwhile,” explains Becky.
A recent example includes when Shoppa’s was needing to review and select an UCaaS (Hosted Voice) system. Jeremy explains how Becky did all the leg work and brought solid solutions to meet his checklist of needs and assured the three options being presented to Jeremy and Shoppa’s met the organization’s demands. After reviewing the proposals and respective product demonstrations, Jeremy was able to make a solid business decision for the best interest of his company. Once the selection was made, Becky again was instrumental to begin that task of implementation, training and checking with Jeremy the solution continued to meet his expectations.
“Whenever our contracts are up for any of our IT infrastructure needs, Becky Anderson is my first call,” says Jeremy confidently. “Becky and Cactus are always on top of the latest technology and offerings.”
Raised in a small, farming town of only 150 residents, Jeremy believes his aptitude for IT is from his father. Jeremy’s father played a strong role in Jeremy’s academic upbringing as his math and computer science teacher. A small school, Jeremy’s father was also the superintendent, bus driver, and track coach in addition to the math and computer science teacher. Jeremy also speaks fondly of being one of four in his high school graduation class.
When not assuring Shoppa’s IT infrastructure is up-to-date and running smoothing, Jeremy’s and his wife, Amy, enjoy their two full-bred Akitas and traveling. Jeremy also considers his time in front of his ‘Green Egg’ and ‘Offset Smoker’ as a focus of his personal time, coupled with a round of golf or biking.
The answer was quick and concise when asked what impressed Jeremy most about Cactus Technology Solutions: “Between their personal, friendly service – even the president, Amy Milam, makes a point to come by when she’s in town – and the depth of solutions and resources they have for any need, Cactus is my first call!”, said Jeremy.
With her strong IT background – most recently in digital marketing for the notable IT research firm, Gartner – vice-president of operations for Cactus Technology Solutions, Jazmyne Renfro – brings a depth of knowledge to the team, and most importantly to the customers of Cactus.
Jazmyne understands, and respects, her role in assuring seamless solution implementation for clients of Cactus, is vital to all involved. Regardless if it’s a new client, or a client of several years, the first step after the sale is critical to client satisfaction and Jazmyne embraces that role to its fullest.
“When I become involved with the client, often times they’re new to the Cactus ‘family’; it’s my responsibility to make sure they feel welcomed, and more importantly their relevant client onboarding process with respect to their product(s) is with smooth and they have a point of contact throughout the progression,” explains Jazmyne. “There are many clients who look to me for significant answers when their client solutions executive is not available; and that’s a responsibility I am honored to have and play a role in.”
A native of Houston, Jazmyne moved back to her home state of Texas in part due to her new role with Cactus after her stint with Gartner in Florida. Ready to return to her home state, Jazmyne welcomed the chance. “Though college and job opportunities took me elsewhere and I enjoyed my time in those places, I’m a Texan, and I enjoy being home,” boast Jazmyne.
Jazmyne believes the people – both customers and fellow Cactus colleagues – is what she has enjoyed the most in her role. Servicing the clients and developing deeper, mutually beneficial relationships is paramount to Jazmyne; and, it mimics the culture Amy Milam, CEO of Cactus, deploys with the entire Cactus team. Jazmyne’s attention to detail doesn’t go unnoticed; she’s even has taken such impeccable care of clients, that some refer to her as their primary point of contact via Cactus.
Working in collaboration with the other Cactus project managers, Jazmyne fosters an honest, hardworking culture with her team within Cactus. And, has been able to do it with a strong style considering they are all separated by hundreds of miles geographically.
Understanding the importance of self-care, Jazmyne believes taking care of herself has tremendous impact on her role with Cactus’ clients.
“When I take time out for me, I can return to taking care of our clients in a better mindset, and serving our clients in terms of a deeper, more substantial relationship, is impactful – not just for me, but for all the parties involved,” explains Jazmyne.
Having recently celebrated her 30th birthday, Jazmyne received a spectacular gift – a wedding proposal from her boyfriend of three years, Christopher. When not working or thinking about the clients of Cactus, Christopher and Jazmyne enjoy finding a good television show to watch together – most recently, ‘Fargo’ with Chris Rock.
Jazmyne has a unique perspective on trends, considering the variance of clients and their respective solutions. When asked what she believes businesses’ resources need to concentrate on going into the new year, her answer was immediate. “Unfortunately, due to COVID our focus and respective compliance must be on security. As people continue to WFH (work from home), coupled with increasing hacking threats, it’s essential for businesses to assure they have the best security infrastructure in place.”
Cactus Technology Solutions could be the ideal business model for a company feeling more like a ‘family’ for its team members. From births and deaths, to illness and recoveries, Amy Milam strives to make sure her team members have a work-family to rely on for support, comfort and a source of inspiration and prayer.
A recent illustration of the family mentality includes project manager, Daniel Ke. Daniel and his wife, Lisa, are currently expecting their first child. The recent rains in their community flooded a culvert behind their new home – a home they had not even moved into yet. Amy developed an internal ‘Go Fund Me’ campaign unbeknownst to Daniel. The dollars raised by the team members of Cactus were matched dollar for dollar via Cactus. The monies were presented to Daniel and Lisa as a gift; more than just a gift of money, but a gift of love and support.
Cactus Technology Solutions experiences challenges just as every company does within their internal organization. However, the ‘family’ environment is not felt by every company, and it’s the individual Cactus team members, coupled with Amy’s management style, that assures a strong, cohesive team – a family.
The statistics speak from themselves. Hosted voice – or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a game changer to companies looking to reduce their operational expenses. These systems place the business in the driver’s seat on how they connect with others – as well as assistance with their telecommunications’ budgets, not to mention the improved productivity.
By 2021 Gartner predicts off-premise unified communications (Hosted Voice) will be close to 90%
84% of IT managers report mobility is very important. Thus, mobility is one of the factors for boosted PBX growth.
Market research* shows companies can save 50% to 75% on communication costs using a VoIP, or hosted phone system.
Small businesses using VoIP can decrease the cost of local calls by 40%, and international calls by 90%.
VoIP can trim down initial costs for startup business by roughly 90%.
Businesses utilizing Unified Communication solutions save an average of 191 hours daily and 49,660 hours yearly.
Having a Unified Communication or VoIP system can help employees save an average of 32 call minutes per day.
Manage your system via a computer with an internet connection or a smartphone.
Cactus Technology Solutions in collaboration with Avant, wants you to win – not only within your organization – but with a $50.00 gift card, too! Click the link below, answer the questions and your name will go in a drawing for the gift card. NOTE: All questions with an asterisk * must be answered to be eligible.
With a strong aptitude for sales, Director of Technical Sales for Cactus Technology Solutions (CTS), Jake Godwin’s professional career began within the financial services. Though he saw success within the industry, Jake transitioned to the telecom/IT arena over 23 years ago and hasn’t looked back. His former managers saw strong potential in him and assured he had the best foundation for success with sales training via national programs, including Dale Carnegie and Brian Tracy.
“One thing I learned from my training early in my career was a self-assessment of my sales. I realized I wasn’t spending enough time having thoughtful discussions with my customers. When I made that change, I saw a difference. That foundation (of spending time talking with my customers) is something I strive for every day, even more than 20 years later,” says Jake.
Jake’s role via CTS isn’t unique in the industry. Many IT/Telecom organizations have a Director of Technical Sales or Sales Engineer to assure the customer has a clear understanding of the products and/or services they’re considering for their respective companies.
“Technology is changing every single day. Even though I’m an expert in the field, I still continue learning in order to provide the correct solutions to match the needs and expectations of our customers,” describes Jake.
Jake and CTS’s CEO, Amy Milam, work collaboratively with several customers to assure they understand the complexities or the functional aspects of the technology they have in place or are reviewing to add. “I sell to help people and change their infrastructure for the better. Our task –at Cactus – is to help businesses improve. That role is something I have great passion in,” Jakes boasts.
Jake and Amy have worked together for many years – going back to their respective times at AT&T. Jake’s admiration for Amy is apparent when describing what he has enjoyed the most about being an integral part of the CTS team. Jake is impressed with the strengths and advantages Amy brings to the team and the CTS company.
With hundreds of products in the portfolio of CTS’ offerings, Jake is quick to answer when asked his current favorite product to sell. “UCaaS, without a doubt. It’s a game changer! There’s a multitude of reasons – what it brings to the table, the additional functionality and, what can be the most enlightening aspect for me, it’s a product that enables everyone within a company to see a difference in their daily tasks,” states Jake.
Jake refers back to his need to have healthy discussions with his customers as his best way to stay productive, stating he and the customer typically learn something from each other. However, he finds his motivation in the recognition and appreciation he receives from, not just his customers, but Amy too. “Success breeds success and when everyone is doing well it’s recognized by Amy. When that happens, I find such a strength of inspiration that it just seems logical to pick up the phone and talk with a customer,” Jake explains.
A native of Oklahoma, Jake says his wife of 14 years, Annalisa, is what brought him to Texas. When asked their favorite way to spend a weekend, the answer was simple – “it’s spending time outdoors, regardless if it’s fishing, cycling or grilling…just being active.”
It’s a solid, undeniable statement when one asks Jake about his role at Cactus Technology Solutions, “I’ve enjoyed this more than any other place I’ve been before!” Jake replies.
Of course, there is nothing like hearing this firsthand but if you missed the webinar hosted by our partner, RingCentral, featuring former Dallas Cowboy, Darren Woodson – this is a great read.
Great principles for anything in life.
Darren Woodson attributed Coach Jimmy Johnson’s success to management of his people and recognized four categories of attitudes, not just on the football field, but in the workplace. He called this Darren’s Four C’s of Employee Types:
Content – This is the guy that shows up to an 8:00 meeting at 8:05 wearing headphones. He’s most likely doing this job until he finds something better and doesn’t engage with anyone about work. Most likely, content employees are the first ones out the door at night.
Compliant – This employee has no ambition beyond doing the job they have in front of them, but they show up for an 8:00 meeting at 8:00. They will work their time, but only their time. These employees don’t engage with other employees outside of work in a volunteer or marketing opportunity. They are working to get their paycheck.
Committed – These are the employees that come in and are fantastic at their job, but it is all about “their” job. He compared this mindset to Neon Deon himself, who even when Dallas lost, would tell everyone how it wasn’t on him; he did his job. Woodson talked about how there is no care whether the business profits or gets run into the ground; all these employees care about is hitting some external or internal goal they have set for themselves.
Compelled – This is a star employee. They not only set high goals for themselves but challenge others to do the same, pushing them to be the best they can be. At work, they are the first ones in the door and the last to leave. He reminisced about Michael Irvin, who tried to make Woodson look bad in practice all day, going full tilt, juking and stiff arming. Irvin pulled him aside afterwards and reminded him that there are Jerry Rice’s in the world who aren’t going to take it easy on you, either. Irvin felt he owed it to Woodson to prepare him for Hall of Fame talent when it wasn’t practice.
Great Advice for Those That Will Listen
His advice for these first two C’s: Get rid of them!!! Woodson specifically called them a virus that will infect other workers if given a chance. If left alone and unchallenged, your whole workplace will become like this. He recommended bringing them in, talking about their goals, and challenging them to want more; but, if they won’t change, part ways.
For the committed, he recommended pairing them with other like-minded employees, so for them to succeed, someone else, usually their rival, has to succeed. The goal is to turn them into compelled employees as well and ultimately drive other employees to follow their leadership.
Thanks again to RingCentral, Darren Woodson and all those who joined the call!
Recognized as one of North America’s top providers of Unified Communications, Momentum Telecom has been a trusted provider for Cactus Technology Solutions for several years.
“Our clients rely on us to bring simple, painless solutions to them. It is critical we choose partners, such as Momentum who value the golden rule when building relationships with our clients. Honesty, integrity, and understanding are of the utmost important qualities we look for. The rest is easy,” explains Amy Milam, CEO of Cactus Technology Solutions.
Founded in 2001 as Momentum Business Solution, it began as an internet and business phone provider, but modern-day businesses quickly changed the IT/telecom landscape and Momentum quickly adapted to meet the demands of the marketplace.
With an estimated 30 Channel Managers, Momentum’s channel team is robust. With over 40 years of experience, dedicated Channel Manager Kerri Lytle, and Solution Design Engineer, Russell Smith bring the depth of industry experience and knowledge required to bring solid solutions and support to Cactus’ clients.
Momentum’s culture is far reaching, including assuring their partners and processes are part of the culture; and, for Kerri makes the difference. “Our mentality of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners, like Cactus, combined with our focused collaborative approach from pre-sale all the way to post-sale with our white glove installation is our formula for differentiating ourselves from the competition,” states Kerri.
Both Kerri and Russ enjoy being in front of partners and clients and enjoy having the opportunity to watch the customer discover a new facet of their business. Momentum’s sales process challenges the customer to look at their current telecom infrastructure differently and then identify an area or two for potential added monies to the bottom line. Often, Momentum can uncover an opportunity that will increase efficiencies and bring a premium solution to the client.
For Amy, Momentum’s sales approach has been readily apparent each time she brings a Momentum in to a client. “In sitting on the same side of the desk with the customer, it’s imperative our partners take time to understand the client’s business and goals to customize a solution that will improve the way they do business; not just to sell them something. Each time we bring Kerri and Russ to a presentation, I am confident we have presented a solution that has our customer’s best interest at heart. I can’t stress the peace of mind it brings to our team” says Amy.
Working with the team from Cactus has been mutually beneficial in several aspects for everyone. Often times the members of Cactus and Momentum begin with an early day of appointments and continue till the close of business, and according to Russ, “we are having a blast doing it, too!”
Identifying a partner and developing strong relationships with providers is critical for Cactus Technology Solutions. Those partnerships are the foundation for the success of the clients, Cactus and ultimately the provider. Kerri echoed the sentiments when asked what was paramount for him when working with Cactus and its customer-focused approach. Kerri explains, “Cactus is willing to engage us early in the process and therefore it leads to a true collaborative trust. They are always involving us at the right time and right level. Everything we do together is united, that’s what makes it effective. We win together, and sometimes we lose together.”
With the constant changes of how businesses are communicating, Momentum is staying ahead of the curve, even in light of the pandemic. Companies must support their employees – even those working from home or off-site – and the support means solid voice, network, and security options.
The current ‘work from home’ initiatives have been interesting says Russ, “for voice, we have seen an influx of desire to incorporate the Microsoft Teams to its fullest potential for some clients.” Russ also says the popularity of soft phones has increased, plus the adoption of video. “I was somewhat surprised how popular video is now and people are becoming more comfortable with utilizing it. But then I heard a client say, ‘how can I trust you if I can’t see you’ and it made complete sense.”
Partnerships like Cactus Technology Solutions and Momentum Telecom are the foundation for success – for the clients!
Though she grew up near the cool mountain air of Lakewood, Colorado, client solutions executive Becky Anderson is a Texan – a title she wears proudly.
Becky’s experience in IT/Telecom began after several years of selling airtime for a local radio station in Midland, Texas. A former colleague – and now friend – called and told Becky she was missing out by not joining the then, Southwestern Bell Company (SBC) outside sales team.
Admittedly, Becky says she wasn’t familiar with the industry knowledge of her associates.
“I distinctly remember being at a large table one day at lunch with my new coworkers and how they were all talking about telecom and its vernacular terms; the terms bounced back and forth like a tennis ball in a heated match – I was lost and confused,” explained Becky. “After lunch I asked how long it was going to take until I knew the terminologies – and more so, could contribute – to their work-related discussions. Thankfully they told me only 18 months!”
It’s apparent Becky’s knowledge has become almost like a second language for her when discussing any telecom needs. Becky’s insight and knowledge from her AT&T days (note: SBC acquired AT&T in 2005) is the impressive foundation she uses daily.
Amy Milam (Cactus Technology Solutions’ CEO) courted Becky for some time to join the Cactus team. As former colleagues, Becky and Amy did their initial training together, and Amy knew Becky was just what Cactus needed. Becky also speaks about how fellow AT&T friend Jake Godwin (Sales Engineer of Cactus Technology Solutions) had already joined.
“Once I made the decision, I never looked back. It’s hard for me to find the words to describe how much I enjoy being a part of the Cactus team. Selling and working with Amy is awesome,” boasts Becky. “I’m having fun, coupled with the freedom to manage my sales efforts how I believe they best fit both Cactus and me, personally.”
A recent move to Austin has Becky in new territory again – but just physically this time. As a grandmother to 18-month old, ‘Beck’ – her namesake – there’s no doubt what made her decide to pack up and move from Midland to Austin. Beck and his family live not too far – an easy commute for Becky so she never has to miss out on Beck’s first…like playing t-ball, word development, etc. Becky says there are zero regrets moving to Austin.
Fellow Cactus team members can rely on Becky for her perceptiveness and tips on being productive when working from home; though the entire team has always worked from home. Becky graciously offers great tips like keeping a schedule, always dressing for the day, and a strong routine. Some of Becky’s clients are new to the ‘work from home’ style in leu of COVID-19 and she’s happy to offer some suggestions.
When asked what product or service is her favorite to sell, she answers without hesitation.
“UCaaS (unified communications as a service) …it’s where things are going and it is a must for any organization. With our fabulous solution partners, I can bring solid options for a client to choose from. I enjoy selling the service because I have been able to watch clients save money; plus, I know the remarkable benefits,” says Becky.
Building strong relationships with her clients is an aspect of Becky’s great work with Cactus; and Becky has never not returned a client’s phone call the same day. When asked what she’s missed the most due to COVID-19, Becky answers boldly: “I miss being out and engaging with my clients; so many are now my friends, and I miss that.”
In addition to spending time with her grandson, in her free time Becky enjoys exploring new restaurants, swimming, spa days and her fur-baby, Finn.
It sounds like Becky has found a great home – both with Cactus and in Austin closer to her family.
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