Team Building at Its’ Best
Our recent quarterly meeting made for a fun afternoon and evening for everyone. We had a lively staff meeting with presentations, service awards and team building activities, followed by a festive gathering at Dave & Busters.
At CC Pace, we’re lucky to have so many tenured employees. As our team members celebrate their CC Pace anniversaries, they are recognized by their colleagues and leadership team for their contributions throughout the years. We kicked off our service awards recognizing Chris Soule, Technical Consultant, for his 5 year anniversary with CC Pace. Chris was hired for an opening we had on our development team for MSRB. His success with this client continues today, where he has become a key leader on the EMMA project working not only on the data base side, but also helping to revamp the user interface. Per our client, Chris is the epitome of a team player! Chris, may you continue to inspire us for many years to come!
George Perkins, Practice Manager, was recognized for celebrating his 25th anniversary with us! George was hired as our first full-time recruiter. Over the years, as the staffing area of the business has evolved, he moved into the role of an Account Manager for some of our major clients. George’s philosophy has always been work hard towards success and have fun while you’re doing so – and he does just that! George, we thank you for your energy, enthusiasm and corporate commitment!
To take advantage of the rare moments our people are actually all together, we used this time to engage in some team building activities that were facilitated by Debbie Shatz, Sudhindra Shetty and the “always up for a good time”, George Perkins. Divided into 5 teams with red Solo cups in hand, our staff took aim at various building and stacking tasks (and, did we mention there were prizes)! Lots of cheering and yelling lead to some pretty hilarious bragging rights by the winners!
EAT. DRINK. PLAY. We kept the party going and had everyone move over to the new Dave & Buster’s in Fair Oaks Mall for an entertaining evening! There was food, drinks, billiards and of course lots more games and plenty of, should we say friendly competition. Together everyone enjoyed some good old fashioned laugh-out-loud fun!
Now that you have hired millennials, this last blog in our millennials series discusses integrating them to become part of your team, and making changes to your organization to fit their professional needs. As with any new employee, it takes time for that person to become acclimated to your organization.
This article, 2018 Millennials at Work Report, touches on managing this generation, millennials in leadership and long-term change. Making small changes across the board to create a more relaxed work environment seems to be a key starting point. Even employees outside of this generation will welcome change as they too seek more flexible schedules, cutting edge technology, professional development and management feedback.
If leaders are willing to take the time to invest in this generation of workers, it will surely make a difference to not only their teams, but their business.
CC Pace was ready when we hosted our Thursday Night Football Tailgate Party, which included both current employees and CC Pace alumni! The evening was filled with a festive BBQ menu, drinks, fun and fabulous door prizes! We were happy to have a number of CC Pace Alumni join us as we gathered and watched the Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh game on the big screen. Luckily, for all the Hokies we had in attendance, Virginia Tech was able to bring home the win in a tight game with a final score of 39-36.
To make the evening even more entertaining, we held a cornhole tournament with single elimination rounds. Champions George Perkins, CC Pace Staffing Director and Tracy Gordon, wife of President, Mike Gordon were the last team standing after a score in the game of 0-14. They pulled off a huge comeback to claim the title and win the grand prize – Congratulations George and Tracy!
All in all it was a win-win evening for everyone!
Meet Bill Lehman, CMB, the Director of our Mortgage Strategy Practice. Bill, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, joined CC Pace in 1982 right after graduation. A visionary and creative process and technology consultant with a proven track record, Bill is an invaluable resource for CC Pace.
Learn more about Bill in the interview below, and, if you are attending the MBA’s Annual Conference in Boston this month, be sure to connect with him there. To reach out to Bill beforehand and/or arrange a meeting at the conference, feel free to contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What was your first client project?
I was a programmer on Fannie Mae’s first securitization system. A few years later, when that system needed to be redeveloped to accommodate the tremendous success of securitization, I was brought back as chief architect for the redevelopment.
What do you feel was one of your most successful client projects and why?
It is hard to narrow it to just one, so I will pick two.
The first was a client where we were really successful leading a business transformation effort that integrated process, technology and organizational changes to align all facets of the operation with an important business strategy change. Afterwards, the client thanked our team by saying “You saved our company.”
The second was with AmTrust, now NYCB Mortgage Banking, where we designed a path for them to increase their emortgage production from 20 per month to 5,000 per month. Our work outlined significant changes that were needed to process and policy and was ultimately very successful because what we were doing had strong support from the client’s business leadership.
In 2011 you earned your Certified Mortgage Banking (CMB) Designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Can you tell us about that experience and what it has meant to your work?
I am embarrassed that I waited that long to get my CMB. A career in consulting, working with everything from broker origination to Wall Street securitization gave me a broader background than most people have to become a CMB, so I think it was easier for me than for some.
There aren’t many CMB’s, so it distinguishes you at a client as “this is someone who can help me with my business.”
The CMB program isn’t something that is “one and done.” I continue to be very involved in the program, including participating in evaluating new candidates. This ongoing engagement helps you keep up with changes going on in the industry, and provides insights into different perspectives on those changes.
Finally, especially since I live in the Washington, DC area, a CMB gives you the opportunity to give back to the industry by educating legislators.
In your 30-plus years in the mortgage industry, what have been the three biggest changes?
The first change was the switch to the agency securitization model and the rise of the mortgage banking model over the S&L (Savings and Loan) model. This was happening just as I started and drove CC Pace’s initial growth.
The second has been the adoption of technology, where I think automated underwriting really paved the way, and the shift in thinking from being an expense to being part of a business strategy. This trend was our bread and butter for years.
Finally, right now, the intense regulation of the industry that has resulted from the meltdown and the abrupt shift from consolidation to deconsolidation. Lenders are still processing what TRID means, and now HMDA and the new 1003 are coming, and what it means to them in their consumer channel.
What is one of you favorite memories from your time here at CC Pace?
A major highlight was about 10 years ago when we had the good fortune to work with Rob Thomsett to advance leadership in Agile Project and Program Management. Rob is an Australian Agile guru whose approach to how we should think about defining, managing and measuring the success of projects has been a game changer for me and many of us at CC Pace.
In addition, since I mainly work at client sites, my fondest memories are compliments from those clients about how we have helped them to solve their business problems and improve their processes.
What do you see as the next major technology advancement in the mortgage industry?
I don’t think the next advancement is a new technology – I think that there is plenty of exciting technologies that aren’t fully utilized. I think the next advancement will be to integrate the existing technologies into the overall value proposition of the business, to improve the customer and user experience, and better address the cyclical nature of the business.
Bill is not all business either, he and his wife have been known to cut the rug with great enthusiasm as competitive swing dancers. Maybe he can show you a move or two if you run into him in Boston later this month at the MBA’s Annual Conference.
The warm weather is upon us and if you haven’t already, now might be a good time to plan your summer vacation. We surveyed the CC Pace staff about their favorite vacation destinations. The results range from the Jersey Shore to all the way across the pond. Here, in no particular order, is a list of the “Top 11 Favorite Vacation Spots for the CC Pace Team” (10 just wasn’t enough):
- Ocean City, NJ – Two of our teammates enjoy the beach and boardwalk of the Jersey Shore. This beach offers so much to do from golfing to boating, and is also known to have great seafood!
- Newport Beach, CA – With West Coast roots, we have one employee who tries to make it back to this beautiful beach at least once a year.
- Hatteras, NC – With its gorgeous beaches and laid back feel, Hatteras is a great place to chill with family and friends.
- Block Island, RI – This small little island off the coast of Rhode Island is purely a hidden treasure. It has that charming New England feel along with great beaches, this gem is a must see!
- Tampa, FL – If you like to fish, this may be the perfect destination for you! Tampa also offers great food and the opportunity to experience some Cuban and Haitian culture.
- Virginia Beach, VA – Just a short drive away from life in Northern Virginia is Virginia Beach! This coastline city offers a great boardwalk and some wonderful restaurants.
- Home, Staycation – That’s right, those who travel during the week enjoy relaxing at home to decompress. But, if they had to jump on a plane, they would head straight to San Francisco, California – a fascinating city with something for everyone!
- Riviera Maya, Mexico – This adventurer likes to explore the Mayan ruins, zip line over the jungles, and do some underground kayaking!
- Lake Washington, WA – In the summer, this beautiful lake offers the perfect environment for relaxation. In the cold winter months, this employee likes to soak up some rays in Mexico. Not only is it a nice break from the cold but you can land some great deals.
- Anywhere International – This world traveler likes to hit different places as much as possible. One favorite is Italy…Rome, Venice, Tuscany, truly a magnificent place worth visiting more than once!
- Bethany Beach, DE – Sun, surf, and pure relaxation. The sights and sounds of the beach offer a truly calming experience that is much needed during a vacation.
Whether your ideal vacation is full of action and adventure or total relaxation by the water, it is important to take time to de-stress and recharge. Proven studies have shown that individuals who do not take vacation are less productive and can burnout much quicker than those employees that take a break. So, now is the time to go explore, relax and make some memories!
In a business world where people are always moving on to new opportunities, what makes someone stay with one company? What makes you say, ‘I think I want to learn and grow with this company’?
This year CC Pace celebrates the 5 year anniversary of two employees, Jenna Bayer and Ashok Komaragiri. Jenna is our Corporate Marketing Manager and Ashok is a Technical Consultant in our Enterprise Solutions practice. CC Pace President, Mike Gordon, recognized both at our Staff Meeting in March 2015. He spoke about each regarding their accomplishments and how they have grown over their tenure with the company. Mike then presented them each a service award and the traditional CC Pace gag gift. We wanted to find out from Jenna and Ashok what drew them to our organization, what have they learned here and what do they see in their futures at CC Pace.
Why did you chose to join CC Pace?
JENNA: Ultimately, I was drawn to the culture of CC Pace. I liked the work-life balance they offered and the fact that there were a number of employees who had been there for a decade or longer. At the time of my hiring, I believe the average tenure was around 11 years. To me, that said there were opportunities for growth and indicated that CC Pace must be a great place to work to have such a low level of turnover.
ASHOK: I first heard of CC Pace from a friend of mine who had worked with them very closely on one of their earlier projects. He spoke very highly about the standards set by CC Pace on that project, and the technical skill set they brought with them to the table. My friend mentioned how without ever losing focus on the client’s needs, the CC Pace team always delivered efficient solutions to complex problems. The fact that they were also at the forefront in using Agile Software Development Methodologies greatly caught my attention. When I was looking for a new opportunity, I was very fortunate that my friend could refer me to CC Pace.
What have you learned while at CC Pace?
JENNA: I’ve learned so much in my 5 years, but I think the most impactful lesson I’ve learned is to not be afraid to take risks or make mistakes. Having the freedom and support from upper management to try things out and really be able to figure out what works, (along with what doesn’t) has taught me more than if I had it all spelled out for me.
ASHOK: The most valuable skills I have learned are the practical application of Agile Methodologies combined with Engineering Practices like Test Driven Development (TDD) and Extreme Programing (XP).
What is one of your most memorable moments?
JENNA: It’s hard to pick just one, but October 2013 when our new website launched was definitely a highlight. It was my first time working on a large marketing project and I was so excited to be a part of it. It was a much larger project than anticipated, but I learned a great deal and it was a lot of fun to see the final product!
ASHOK: The most memorable moment for me so far has to be when we went live with both the Student Tracker for High Schools Rewrite, and the Student Matching applications at the National Student Clearinghouse. It was very gratifying to hear from a client how we greatly improved their productivity and what used to take them a month to process now takes only a few hours. In our world that is a huge success!
What are one or two of your future professional goals that you would like to achieve while working at CC Pace?
JENNA: I’d definitely like to see our blog readership take off (shameless plug: if you haven’t subscribed, now would be a great time to do so!) and I am looking forward to being a part of increasing our marketing efforts.
ASHOK: Personally, I look forward to continue to deliver quality projects by always focusing on clients’ needs and adhering to Agile Principles.
As we look forward to seeing what these two accomplished individuals bring to their futures here at CC Pace, we see that having a work environment that encourages growth and learning are strong factors in why employees make the decision to stay.