March is here and that means Spring is right around the corner. That also means we have another associate spotlight for you! This time, we’re going to be peeling back the curtains and taking a closer look at RJ Aguillon-Branch! RJ is a very adventurous individual and enjoys traveling, hiking/backpacking, camping, and smoking fine meats! If any of these things sound interesting to you, don’t hesitate to ask RJ about them. Some other interesting facts about RJ is that he used to make golf clubs for a living and has traveled to over 12 different countries! Be sure to read the interview with RJ to find out his favorite countries he’s visited along with his favorite hiking/backpacking destinations. While RJ lives a very adventurous life, he has also worked with SpendMend for more than 10 years. RJ is a critical member of our team and is a true leader! Rebecca Lorentz said “RJ is an exceptional supervisor. He is tech savvy and uses his wealth of knowledge to inspire others on our team to reach our goals. He is a leader by example and sets the bar high for the level of quality we strive to provide our clients every day.” We appreciate everything RJ does here at SpendMend, and it does not go unnoticed. Thank you for all your hard work, RJ!
Interview with RJ:
What is your role at SpendMend?
How long have you been with SpendMend?
How did you first learn about SpendMend?
From a college friend who worked there
What 3 words would you use to describe SpendMend?
Partnership, Growth, Family
Why do you look forward to coming to work?
SpendMend is a team environment focused on providing value to clients and employees.
Before working at SpendMend, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I made golf clubs. Throughout high school and my first year of college, I worked at a small pro-shop called Tee2Green which repaired clubs and sold “knock off” clubs. Either way, I was the one making the magic happen. Clubs are cut to length, heads glued on, and grips added. The best part was I could test any club I wanted out on the course. A great job for a teenager. Too bad my golf game only digressed from there!
What is one fun fact about you?
I have traveled to over a dozen countries.
What would you say your top 3 countries are? –
#3 My first trip out of North America was to France and was particularly special because I attended the 2007 Rugby World Cup. I scheduled my visit and tickets to see the world’s greatest teams: Australia, South Africa, and New Zeeland. At the New Zeeland game, the entire 60k+ crowd went silent as the All Blacks performed the Haka prior to the match beginning. I will never forget the goosebumps. The French bistros and cafes were a plus too. #2 First and only time in Asia, Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok is an explosion of development and culture. Rooftop bars on hundred story sky-scrapers and 10+ block markets selling everything imaginable. Combined with the beaches on the coast and the beautiful of the valleys in the north, it was a trip I will never forget. #1 Read a book about the discovery and exploration of the Galapagos Islands, and you will tell yourself I need to go. The vast majority of the land is protected. The wild-life rules. Imagine a beach stretching as far as the eyes can see covered with thousands of iguanas. Flamingos by the hundreds standing in the bay. Land tortoises strolling along the path as you walk about. Being on the equator, it’s the only place you see warm weather penguins. Don’t forget Darwin’s finches. One interesting aspect of the islands are many of the researchers own and operate the local establishments to aid in funding. Hnorable mention- Portugal, I could see myself retiring there.
Do you have any hobbies or participate in any activities outside of work?
Smoking fine meats (Thanks Dennis!) and hiking/back packing/camping
Where have you been hiking at before? What are your favorite hiking destinations?
I truly enjoy the calm and beauty while hiking. You have no worries, only the next step and what you see along the way. Northern Michigan provides plentiful opportunity for day or weekend trips all along the coast. Nordhouse Dunes, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and the Platt River are some of my favorites. The Upper Peninsula, or UP to those of us below the bridge is absolutely beautiful. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a must. Outside of Michigan I backpacked the Lake Superior trail in northern Minnesota and Olympic National Forest in Washington. After backpacking in a rainforest, I fully appreciate quality rain gear and staying dry.
What type of music or podcasts do you listen to during the workday?
Spotify Daily Mix
What was the best compliment you’ve ever been paid by a client or supplier?
Upon leaving the organization, a client personally thanked me for the partnership and relationship built over the years.
Would you like to give a shout out to a client or supplier?
Namka Petrovic with BJC is a superb advocate that believes in the SpendMend message, and is focused on organization improvement.
What is the best part of serving the healthcare market?
The understanding that healthcare is overly complicated and we provide our clients with analysis to improve and recover cost needed to focus more on patient care.
What is your favorite Recovery Room Activity?
What has been your experience with SpendMend community service events?
We are a great team that turns out for the community.
What is your favorite in house event? (specific potluck, chili cook-off, bring your kid to work day, etc.)
A tie between chili cook-off and our annual outing where we are able spend time together away from work.
Do you want to shout out a co-worker who has helped or inspired you at SpendMend?
Shout out to D-Rip (Dan Hutchins) for being a positive guiding force my entire time with the company.
What advice do you have for perspective candidates who want to join the SpendMend team?
You drive determines your growth. SpendMend will be there to guide and support you the entire way. We are a family which will work to find the best solutions for shared success.
What has been your proudest accomplishment at SpendMend?
Over the years I have become a vocal participant supporting our change and vision as we adapt and improve.
What is something you’re looking forward to for your future at SpendMend?
I look forward to the growth and opportunity we all see in the future. The sky is the limit!