Happy Friday! Welcome to the first Employee Spotlight edition of 2023! For this feature, we are highlighting Jeffrey Zimmerman. Jeffrey is a part of the Data Scrub Team and joined SpendMend about five years ago. When asked what he looks forward to for his future at SpendMend, he said, “When I arrived at SpendMend there were about 80 people. I look forward to our continued growth.” Before Jeffrey joined the SpendMend team, he was in the army where he packed and repaired parachutes in the 82nd Airborne Division. The most interesting part about packing parachutes for Jeffrey was how easy it was to do! The most difficult was learning how to sew and repair the industrial sewing machines. When asked what the most challenging part of the job was, Jeffrey stated, “For most military jobs you go to Airborne school after your job training but Parachute Rigger must be Jump Qualified as part of the job. This then leads to what was most challenging about it, the first live parachute you pack in training, you jump out of a plane with it. The Army’s standard is that you must be able to pack a parachute you are willing to jump out of a plane with, so they make you do it.” Be sure to read the full interview to learn more about Jeffrey’s experience in the army, and his contribution to designing a piece of body armor that today is a standard issue in all US military branches! A fun fact about Jeffrey is that he manages an online gaming community during his free time. During COVID, his participation in gaming events and group activities grew. He joined the community after playing a mobile game called State of Survival. It started as an alliance in a single game, but grew to include an entire server, multiple games, group activities through a Discord server, and even streamed movie nights! If you’re interested in starting or joining an online gaming community, Jeffrey is the expert! Another hobby Jeffrey enjoys is playing Dungeons and Dragons. He started playing about five years ago with his cousin, his cousin’s wife, and his wife. They started incorporating Dungeons and Dragons into their game night, like Euchre! He enjoys quality time with his family the most!
Jeff does a wonderful job at SpendMend, and we had several of his co-workers express how they value him on the team. Dirk Lindquist, Shared Services Supervisor, said, “Jeff is a very important part of the Scrub Department. He does a great job reviewing dupes, returns, and subtypes and is always willing to take on new projects. He is great at researching dupes to make sure only items with good potential make it to WO status. I am very happy to have him on our team!” Thank you, Jeff! We appreciate your dedication to the team!
Interview with Jeffrey:
What is your role at SpendMend?
Data Scrub Team
How long have you been with SpendMend?
Almost 5 years
How did you first learn about SpendMend?
Working as a temp at Robert Half and was set up to interview for a temp position.
What 3 words would you use to describe SpendMend?
Innovative, Limitless, Community.
Why do you look forward to coming to work?
I enjoy the challenges each new day brings.
Where are you located/from?
I am from St. Johns, Michigan.
Where did you go for higher education? What did you study and why?
I went to GVSU where I studied Economics and Finance. I originally started in Accounting but realized I didn’t enjoy accounting as much as my economics classes so I switched my major. Due to switching my major couldn’t graduate on time, so I had an extra partial semester. My counselor pointed out that accounting classes also counted as finance electives and that my GI Bill would pay for the entire semester. So I moved some classes around, switched my ethics class from business ethics to finance ethics, and added required finance courses.
Before working at SpendMend, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I was in the Army and I used to pack and repair parachutes in the 82nd Airborne Division
What piqued your interest in joining the army? When did you join and how long did you serve?
I enlisted after 9/11, I served for 4 years in the 82nd Airborne Division and Michigan National Guard all as a Parachute Rigger.
What was the most interesting part about packing and repairing parachutes?
The most interesting thing about packing parachutes is probably how easy it is to do, the most difficult was learning how to sew and repair industrial sewing machines.
What was the most challenging part?
The most challenging part about being a Parachute Rigger is that it requires Airborne school which is not the easiest of programs. For most military jobs you go to Airborne school after your job training but Parachute Rigger must be Jump Qualified as part of the job. This then leads to what was most challenging about it, the first live parachute you pack in training, you jump out of a plane with it. The Army’s standard is that you must be able to pack a parachute you are willing to jump out of a plane with, so they make you do it.
What is one fun fact about you?
While deployed in Iraq I worked with a team to design a piece of body armor that today is standard issue in all US military branches.
What was your role in the team when you designed the body armor? What were some of the more difficult parts of this job?
My role consisted mostly of construction, but there were some design elements to it as we were limited on supplies. Medics from one of our infantry battalions noticed similar injuries among soldiers wounded by roadside bombs. Essentially soldiers were protected from their front and back but not very well on their sides. The goal was to make something to prevent deltoid injuries. We were in Iraq as part of the 82nd Division Ready Brigade, a unit whose mission is to be in the air and ready to deploy anywhere in the world in under 48 hours, so we had materials and sewing machines. As support for a non-active mission, there was a lot of downtime in Iraq so this gave me plenty of work to do and passed the time a lot faster. Cutting Kevlar without damaging it proved to be difficult. We eventually figured it out and built more than 20 Deltoid Auxiliary Protector proto-types. On January 1st, 2004, we were informed that a Calvary unit wearing out proto-types were hit by an IED and everyone came out of the incident unharmed. About a month later Congress ordered them into production. Today they’re standard equipment.
What type of music or podcasts do you listen to during the workday?
I don’t listen to music much but I do occasionally listen to The Adventure Zone and My Brother, My Brother, and Me.
Do you have any hobbies or participate in any activities outside of work?
I manage an online gaming community, take part in competitive gaming, and occasionally play Dungeons and Dragons with family.
When did you join the online gaming community?
I joined them after a few days of playing a mobile game called State of Survival. I started playing the game during Covid and my participation in events and group activities grew.
What games do you host and what are the most popular games played?
Essentially it started as an alliance in a single game but grew to include our entire server, multiple games, group activities through a Discord server, and even streamed movie nights. The community has shrunk a lot post-Covid lockdown and is mostly just playing and talking about the State of Survival these days, but some of us still get on Discord for other games and the occasional movie night. Most recently a half dozen people from multiple countries got together to watch the latest season of Letterkenny together.
When did you start playing Dungeons and Dragons?
I started playing Dungeons and Dragons around the same time I started at Spendmend.
Who introduced you to the game? What family members do you play with?
I play with my cousin, his wife, and my wife. He had been playing for years and suggested it as a game night idea, sort of like playing Euchre or Bridge, and that’s been what we’ve been playing ever since.
What is your favorite part about playing and why?
I couldn’t really say what’s my favorite about it but it’s probably just the time spent with family.
Can you describe an interaction when you helped a client or a supplier that stands out in your mind?
When I was an auditor I worked closely with a vendor and transitioned them from non-compliance to my favorite vendor to work with on audits.
What was the best compliment you’ve ever been paid by a client or supplier?
I had a vendor email me when they took a job at another company saying they would miss working with me.
What is the best part of serving the healthcare market?
Knowing what some of our clients do with the money we help them find. It lets me know I am not just helping our clients but their patients too.
If you work at the Grand Rapids headquarters, what is your favorite Recovery Room Activity?
Easily the ping pong table.
What has been your experience with SpendMend community service events?
I have only donated, I haven’t taken part in any of the events.
Do you want to shout out a co-worker who has helped or inspired you at SpendMend?
Cindy was incredibly supportive when my family went through a difficult time.
What advice do you have for prospective candidates who want to join the SpendMend team?
Do it, you will learn a lot during your time here.
What has been your proudest accomplishment at SpendMend?
The one I have yet to achieve.
What is something you’re looking forward to for your future at SpendMend?
When I arrived at SpendMend there were about 80 people. I look forward to our continued growth.