Happy Friday! For this installment of the Employee Spotlight Series, we got the opportunity to learn about the wonderful Ron Bianchi! Ron is one of our Support Analysts and has been a part of the SpendMend team for two years. When asked why he looks forward to coming to work every day, he states, “Always learning! Learning new ways to solve problems and improve our environment in an open collaborative atmosphere.” It was great getting to know Ron better, and hearing about his hobbies and passions! Before Ron was at SpendMend, he owned his own computer store for seven years! His favorite part about the store was all the great people he got to help and learn to know! Since Ron’s business was located in a small town, he had loyal customers and they often would stop by and chat frequently. The most challenging part was juggling the work/home life balance and managing all aspects of the business – from finance to sales. It doesn’t surprise us that Ron had loyal customers, he helps our internal employees solve complex IT problems every day! A fun fact about Ron is that he has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do! From a young age, Ron was fascinated with martial arts, so he started Tae Kwon Do at the age of 16. Other than it being fun, he enjoyed the competition and the tactical aspect of the sport. His biggest strength was his devotion to learning, Ron states, “In class when it was time to spare, the higher belts were last to be paired with. I typically stepped in and sparred with those who were better than me. I lost a lot of those sparring sessions but scored a fair amount and it helped me get better exponentially.” Ron struggled the most with the extreme flexibility the sport required. He was able to kick head high, but that took lots of practice! If you have any questions about learning Tae Kwon Do, I am sure Ron is the one to ask! Another fun fact about Ron is that one of his favorite hobbies is playing in a rock band! He can drum, sing, and keyboard! Ron started the drums in elementary school, and then joined the jazz band, as well as formed a rock band in high school! His favorite type of music to play is rock from the 70’s to the most recent rock hits. His favorite song to play in One Day Remains by Alter Bridge, and his favorite song to sing is Simple Man – The Shinedown version. Check out the full interview below to read about Ron’s funny story of running into his old bandmates!
Ron does a wonderful job for us as a Support Analyst, and we had several coworkers tell us how great it is having Ron on the team. Clint Lang, Support Analyst, said, “Ron has a lot of great experience, he’s very knowledgeable and good at what he does. I’m very pleased to be working with Ron because he’s a notable team player and able to keep up to date with the constant changes in technology. Everyone here contributes to this being a great place to work and Ron is no exception, he’s very resourceful and easy to work with. If I could pick one quality that stands out when Ron is providing support it would be that he’s very good at explaining things to others when they don’t have the experience with it.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! We appreciate all of your hard work, Ron! Thank you!
Interview with Ron:
What is your role at SpendMend?
How long have you been with SpendMend?
How did you first learn about SpendMend?
When looking for a new company
What 3 words would you use to describe SpendMend?
Innovative, Flexible, Skillful
Why do you look forward to coming to work?
Always learning! Learning new ways to solve problems and improve our environment in an open collaborative atmosphere.
Before working at SpendMend, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I owned my own computer store for 7 years. We had a store that upgraded and repaired computers and other tech. We also were a WISP (wireless internet service provider) with 5 towers that transmitted the internet out to those who couldn’t normally get it. I’ll admit, owning your own business was very stressful, however, the knowledge and experience I gained were immeasurable.
What was your favorite part about owning your computer store?
We built our business in a small town, and it had some marvelous people. That’s what really sticks with me the most. We had an amazing technician that contracted with us for most our tenure there. Our customers were very loyal, entrusted us with their business, and would sometimes just stop in to talk. It almost felt like a barbershop sometimes. We had so many inspiring, supportive, and unique characters come through our store!
What was the most challenging part?
It was hard work and a lot of sacrifices, for our families most of all, as I was away from home 12 to 18 hours a day. You must wear all the hats when owning your own business. Manage, purchasing, finances, marketing, sales, and of course doing the actual work. There were many ups and downs and like I mentioned the learning curve and experience were tremendous.
Any funny or interesting stories at the computer store?
I remember one time we had a tower down and was onsite until 3 A.M. in the middle of the winter on a super cold night. If you notice most towers are typically off the road in a field and have a little shed at the base. It houses transmission equipment, computers, switches, etc. This equipment doesn’t mind the cold so there was no heat. It was so cold that we couldn’t work for more than 15 – 20 minutes at a time. So, we shoveled a path to the shed, pulled the car up to the door, as close as possible, and pulled the wires through the window of my car so we can work on the tower equipment and settings in some warmth. It was a long night and that sort of thing was not unusual for us.
What is one fun fact about you?
I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Yeah, it’s good to know how to defend yourself but the art and discipline involved is really cool. Not to mention an unbelievable workout!
What made you interested in learning Tae Kwon Do and when did you start?
As far back as I can remember I was always fascinated with martial arts. I started when I was 16. I liked the competition and the tactical aspect, plus it was fun. Taekwando specializes in hands and feet techniques emphasizing on flying and spinning kicks. I’ve been in several competitions and have won some medals. I liked it because it came naturally to me
What was your biggest strength and weakness when learning this skill set?
I was really devoted. In class when it was time to spare, the higher belts were last to be paired with. I typically stepped in and sparred with those who were better than me. I lost a lot of those sparring sessions but scored a fair amount and it helped me get better exponentially. The thing I struggled with was extreme flexibility. I mean I could kick head high, which was kind of a necessity, but getting there was difficult. The little-known fact that I don’t tell people is I literally have stretch marks on the backs of my legs.
What type of music or podcasts do you listen to during the workday?
I typically don’t listen to music during the day. However, on the way into work, it’s usually rock, comedy or talk. On the way home it’s stock news.
Do you have any hobbies or participate in any activities outside of work?
So many things. In general, my interests lean toward technology and science, gaming, stocks, and crypto. I’m also into self-improvement. I’m always interested in some type of personal development. Wow, written out this is very geeky! Well, I’m also a drummer in a rock band. I drum, sing, occasional keyboards, compose, mix etc. I’ve played in 100’s of live shows in serval bands over the years. Of course, they are electronic drums! I just put together a second set so that I don’t have to carry back and forth to practice.
When did you get into playing and singing music? How did you get into the rock band?
I started drums in elementary. I moved to a drum kit, joined the jazz band and formed rock bands in high school.
What are your favorite songs to play/sing?
I like to play Rock from the ’70s through now. One of my favorites to play lately is One Day Remains by Alter Bridge. A favorite to sing is probably Simple Man, the Shinedown version.
Can you tell me your favorite story about playing for an audience?
Funny story – There was a time we were playing for a packed house, I mean the club was standing room only. I’m concentrating on putting on a good show. We don’t normally take suggestions, but someone in the crowd kept sending up names of songs, on little scraps of paper, directly to me. The song titles were familiar, but I couldn’t quite place any of them at the time. My concentration was on the task at hand. There are so many distractions when playing live that I had to just ignore them. We were rocking it out and the place was pretty crazy. On one of our breaks the club owner comes up to me and says “there is a couple of guys wondering why you are ignoring their requests”. I was and surprised thought what the heck is this all about? So I went to investigate. Come to find out, the requests were coming from a couple members of my first band when I was in as a teenager. We were kids making original songs and they were requesting those songs by name. These guys drove 100 miles one way to catch our show and I have no idea how they knew I would be playing there that night. What a surprise reunion! (with a little egg on my face for not recognizing those old songs and ignoring their requests. Oops!)
Can you describe an interaction when you helped an employee that stands out in your mind?
I help our internal people. I don’t have any specific instance to share but my goal is to provide excellent customer service to everyone. Technology can be frustrating when it’s not working correctly. I strive to take that away as much as possible so our employees can concentrate on what they need to do and not struggle with computer issues.
What was the best compliment you’ve ever been paid by an employee?
I received employee of the quarter last year. That was a nice surprise and a great compliment. Again, no specifics but in all honesty, I find most everyone at SpendMend to be very kind and grateful.
What is the best part of serving the healthcare market?
We improve healthcare efficiency. I used to work in the healthcare industry. The burden of finding profit leaks, identifying losses due to incorrect billing, etc. was put on us in tandem with our normal job. We did not have the tools, time, nor expertise to accomplish this with any effectiveness. SpendMend not only helps our clients be more profitable by exploring, uncovering, and in many cases correcting these things but saves our clients countless hours so that they can concentrate on the care of people.
What is your favorite Recovery Room Activity?
I haven’t had a chance to play any of the activities but I like ping pong and shuffleboard.
What has been your experience with SpendMend community service events?
I am proud of the fact we are active in, and support our community.
What is your favorite in-house event? (specific potluck, chili cook-off, bring your kid to work day, etc.)
I’m a foodie! So, anything that involves tasting and enjoying different foods. I’m in. Hey, can I put that in as a hobby? 😊
Do you want to shout out a co-worker who has helped or inspired you at SpendMend?
My IT team. Alan, Joel, Zach, Clint, and Dominic. Great team!
What advice do you have for prospective candidates who want to join the SpendMend team?
I do many of the IT orientations. I let them know this is a great company.
What has been your proudest accomplishment at SpendMend?
It’s not technical in manner but, I’m proud that I designed a detailed orientation and IT onboarding procedure that eases new employees into SpendMend. Next to HR we are the second voice they hear. I give them a refresher if needed on any of our systems. I fully teach them functionality if they’ve never dealt with something in the past. I’ll introduce them to our terms. I let them know that we are here to help and not to struggle. I feel if we take the time to introduce our systems with a friendly, thorough intro, this will lessen frustration and help with retention in the long run.
What is something you’re looking forward to for your future at SpendMend?
Continual improvement is the name of the game. My interest in technology always seems to expose new methods. I love learning new ways to solve problems and improve our IT environment.