BlueGrace Indianapolis Central www.bluegraceindy.com was named BlueGrace’s Franchise of the Month for the month of September, 2014. Franchise owner, Peter Foradas, opened BlueGrace Indianapolis in June of 2013, and has grown over 60% in his first year. The company plans to add two jobs to its growing franchise by the end of this year, doubling his numbers in the past few weeks.
Foradas is very thankful to receive this award and he doesn’t believe it would be possible without the support team he has at BlueGrace headquarters. The passion and energy that executives at BlueGrace corporate exemplify to grow the BlueGrace brand as a whole. Foradas feels it’s great to have such a good support system behind you.
“I feel honored to be Franchise of the Month with all the competition in our network, this is truly amazing. They key is to try and drive your business with honesty and integrity and the success will come.” – Pete Foradas
This month, the BlueGrace Training department launched the first ever management training program. The training course is set to take place bi-annually and is geared for BlueGrace Front Line Managers at both the corporate and franchise locations.
I had the opportunity of attending this training and was able to see and participate in the activities first-hand. The training took place over a course of 2 days (September 3rd and 4th) and focused on the several aspects of management. The training sessions were held by BlueGrace’s very own trainer, Patrick Wheeler and was located in the new training room at BlueGrace headquarters.
On day 1, the class reviewed personalities in the workplace and different management styles. It was clear the purpose of day 1 was to bring awareness to different communication styles that exist in the workplace. It was fun to assess your own personality traits and how they may or may not affect those around you… or those you manage.
Additionally, the content of day 1 included tips on how to better manage your employees, help them grow and develop into roles within the company and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of you and your teams.
What I found interesting is that as BlueGrace continues to grow, managers will benefit from this training course because they will be faced with new scenarios and personalities that reflect the current state of the company.
The course was overall interactive, from reviewing the contents of slides, watching informative videos and completing assessments (day 2). Pat-rick Wheeler overall was very helpful in consistently engaging the members of the course. One interesting feature of the course was the emphasis on culture and community. While we continuously find ways to increase employee happiness and provide a home-away-from home atmosphere for our employees we try to keep a healthy balance of work and fun. Front line managers are here to coordinate workflow, know how to address issues as they arise, in-form and educate employees about the various programs and functions available to employees.
This isn’t an easy task, but a necessary one. It requires a tremendous amount of organizational skills in action to ensure the development and happiness of employees remains at an all time high. The training covered these topics and clearly reflected the way in which our top-down approach fosters a healthy, compatible work-place with excellent managers on the front end. Each manager had the opportunity to share their BlueGrace story, and learn how to create environments which allowed employees to have their own #BGExperience.
“It was exciting to launch our first semi annual management training. The managers really had a chance to connect and collaborate gaining several new ideas to implement within each of their departments. The fact that we noticed managers executing objectives before the week was even over was beyond gratifying! Looking forward to the next training in Q2 of 2015,” says Vanessa Castillo, Director of Training and Business Development of BlueGrace Logistics on the completion of BlueGrace’s first-ever management course.
Patrick Wheeler, who conducted the course used a variety of training practices which included role-playing to assist managers in applying example to real-life scenarios.
Overall the training gets 5 stars for the effort, execution and engagement.
For more information on Training Sessions available, please visit the Vault or email [email protected]
I believe I suffer from a wonderful condition called ADHD… like most entrepreneurs do. Either that or I’m as stubborn as my wife says I am.
I decided from a very early age that school and the classroom were not for me and I couldn’t be convinced otherwise. Not that my parents, teachers, and counselors didn’t try I just was’t hearing it! At the time I couldn’t find any reason why I needed to be sitting in a classroom learning (X-Y+Z = 3) or memorizing the elements on the periodic table.
I felt these formulas and theories did not apply to my quest of owning a business. Whether this was a correct way of thinking is another topic in itself.
I never envisioned myself climbing the corporate ladder. I always planned on building my own ladder and didn’t need to climb someone else’s to get to where I wanted or needed to be. When I get an idea and know the direction I want to go there is no force on this planet that will sway or derail me. It’s just how I’m wired. Not everyone’s path is the same. There is no “right” or “wrong” path to take in my opinion.
In bypassing the college route, I had a much earlier start in the s0-called “real world” than if I had gone to college and partied for 4 years. This is how I envisioned college.
I had done enough partying in high school for a life time and it was time to start working, making money and gaining real world working/business knowledge that would benefit me when the opportunity came to start my own business.
I knew I would benefit more from “real world” experiences over sitting in a classroom for four years being lectured about them. I am a hands-on learner, and the only way for it to stick was to learn from my mistakes.
To me, each job I worked was like earning credits toward earning my “major” in business. The opportunities were about learning the business and thinking of ways to do the job better as if it were my own.
I didn’t work for paycheck, I worked to live the dream… I worked to learn how to become an entrepreneur. The older I get, my thirst for knowledge grows tremendously. There is a part of me that wishes I would have pursued an education at an earlier age and one of my goals is to do so in the future. I am not one who shuns education alltogether. In fact, I have placed education on a very high pedestal and will do everything in my power to put my children on the path to a higher education when their time comes. I guess I was just a unique case.
The biggest thing I lacked from not going to college was building strong organization, time management & processing skills that I ended up having had to learn the hard way. This is an aspect of business that I lacked for some time.
If you’re trying to decide what path you should take to live your dream (whatever that may be), I would say think long and hard about it. Entrepreneurship is hard enough as it is, so don’t set yourself back to the beginning if you don’t need to.
There are VERY valuable skills that one develops at college outside of the classrooms and books. Life has a funny way of showing these things and they become clearer as you get older. To be an entrepreneur, you must realize that you’re going to have to be more driven and self-reliant than ever. Skipping college doesn’t mean that your education is over, it’s really just the beginning. So take every opportunity to learn from your peers and take it upon yourself to self-educate and stay ahead of the curve. Be creative and listen to those around you.
You CAN do it, it’s just gonna take a little more fine tuning on your own. But again everyone is different and no one knows YOU like YOU do. At the end of the day you are accountable for your decisions and no one else.
This month’s Q&A is with BlueGrace Fair Oaks Sharon McWilliams, owner since 2011. From lawyer to franchise owner, Sharon is a great example of a successful Business Woman. She just happens to be part of our network.
Q: When did you become interested in a BlueGrace Franchise and how did you find out about it?
A: I was so excited back in 2011 when President and CEO, Bobby Harris decided to franchise BlueGrace. I had known Bobby from a previous freight job and I found it to be a fascinating segment of the shipping industry. When Bobby started Blue Grace as a freight franchise system, I was immediately interested in focusing my business efforts solely on freight.
Q: What has helped make your business successful?
I have found having good employees is the primary thing that has helped me be successful. My employees treat every customer like they are important. We have a great retention rate of our customers because they know we will work smarter and harder for them than other logistics companies.
Q: What challenges have you overcome to be successful?
A: I would say, my only challenge of being a franchise owner would be not having enough hours in the day.
Q: How have you juggled having a family and flourishing business?
A: Instead of beating myself up over the fact that I can’t give 100% to both my business and my family, I look for ways to be more efficient. It can be hard juggling family life and a business, but these years with kids at home are short and I feel lucky every day that I have control over where I devote my time. When I decided I needed to spend more time with my children after school with homework and activities, I hired an additional person in the office, which eased up some of my office workload.
Q: What is your greatest success as a Blue-Grace Franchise Owner?
A: The joy that I feel in coming to work every day. I enjoy all of my employees and I get to work with amazing customers and freight companies.
August’s Franchise of the Month is BlueGrace Tallahassee, led by franchise owner Bob Bankston!
Bob was one of the orignal franchisees to join the BlueGrace network and he is always looking for ways to grow his business. He is currently seeking and assessing hiring steps, looking to hire new employees to better run his department. Bob is thankful his office operates as a team and he sincerely values the opinion of each of his core players in the workplace. Since Double Up 2014, Bob has been extremely excited to double his business. In fact, he is currently working on his painted picture to define culture in his office.
“I’m really excited to be announced as August’s Franchise of the Month!” - Bob Bankston, Franchise Owner
On Thursday, August 21, 2014 BlueGrace Baltimore donated school supplies to Perry Hall Elementary. Perry Hall Elementary is a small school built in 1956 with about 700 students enrolled. Donna Bergin is the Principal for the elementary school where it’s the Home of the Gaters football team. BlueGrace Baltimore office with the help of Staples raised about 100 lbs of school supplies to donate to Perry Hall Elementary. Amanda Dudley – a 3rd grade teacher greeted Michelle Welk and Margaret Zarzecki who hand delivered the supplies to the school’s lobby.
“It was so cool. When we got there the principal (Bergin) made an announcement,” said Welk.
“Everyone please welcome BlueGrace that are delivering school supplies, went over the entire school.” -read the announcement from Principal Bergin
Teachers and students greeted the Welk and Zarzecki in the lobby.
“Everyone looked so surprised and appreciative for the supplies,” said Zarzecki.
Dudley received her own bag of supplies to keep in her room for students to use throughout the year.
The personal book bags were given to Kathy Cooney (Student Counselor) to give to students personally as gifts. BlueGrace Baltimore is proud to come together on behalf of our Giving Grace Charity program and make this outstanding donation. We just want to say how much we enjoyed being involved in this Back to School Drive and the happiness it brought to us today when we saw the amazement on the faces of the school staff.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” – On behalf of BlueGrace Baltimore.
Did you know that BlueGrace has an inbound vendor compliance program?
Many times when calling on new business we hear the term “vendor routed.” Many businesses think that they are not paying the freight when indeed they are. If there is a line item on your purchase order that says “Freight” with a cost, then guess what? That is the freight cost. We have come across many customers that have no visibility over those costs, and in lots of cases the manufacturers are uplifting that freight cost for added profits. At BlueGrace we analyze those inbound freight costs and set a price to make sure they come in lower than the manufacturers’ preferred carrier. We then draft a letter to be signed by your vendor, making them responsible for calling BlueGrace so that we can book a shipment with a least cost carrier.
Please call us at 800-MY-SHIPPING if you have any questions or would like to know more shipping with us!
July’s Franchise of the Month is BlueGrace NJ Metro, led by franchise owners Dennis Schanstra and Anthony Franco. Dennis and Anthony met in the freight industry and decided to put their 25 years of freight experience to do business for themselves, and in January 2013 they became owners of a BlueGrace franchise. By focusing on sales and getting new activations, they have doubled their numbers in the last few weeks. NJ Metro will soon be seeking for employees to hire. They have formulated a combination of inside and outside sales, utilized the contracts they have in place and pushed insurance to bring them to this success today.
“With only being franchise owners for the last 6 months, this is a huge success for New Jersey Metro. We couldn’t be more pleased with how much we’ve grown and look to grow in the future. Our goal is to double everything.”
– Dennis Schanstra, Franchise Owner
Imagine one day, while living your life, completely happy and healthy, you start noticing some changes with your body. You start noticing your hands are weakening and you have random muscle twitching. You don’t think much of it but decide to see a doctor. After months of testing and visits to a specialist, you are told you have ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Your immediate thought is AL, what? At that point you don’t even realize the severity of the disease because you never really heard much about it. It doesn’t take long for both you and your family to read up and learn that this is one of the most devastating diagnoses you could ever receive. ALS is an immediate death sentence.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what my family was faced with back in 2012. My stepfather was diagnosed with ALS at the young age of 55. While statistics show the average life expectancy of a person with ALS is 2 to 5 years after diagnoses, we were only given 10 months with him. In those 10 months we suffered with him as we watched him lose his ability to walk, talk, eat, and move. He was fed through a feeding tube and required a BiPap breathing machine at night. During this time family and friends who were once there are not coming around as much. They don’t know what to say or how to act as they are grieving already. As his condition worsened, the BiPap machine could not keep up. It was his wish to not to be put on a ventilator which is a hard decision every ALS patient and their family need to make. He lost his battle on December 9, 2012.
Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe. It is like being buried alive while being completely aware of your fate. ALS does not discriminate and affects people of all races, gender and age.
Prior to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, The ALS Association struggled to collect donations which are needed to fund research. The pharmaceutical companies are not as involved with ALS research since the disease is not an easy money maker. ALS is not as common as other diseases like cancer and people really don’t talk about ALS. Like our family, when you lose a loved one, you feel defeated, like being a lonely soldier in a war against the world. Seeing the attention brought to ALS is extremely uplifting for those of us who’ve suffered loss from ALS or are currently fighting. Whether you have the means to donate or you just spread the message with a happy video of ice water dumping on your head… it is appreciated and it is helping in so many ways! For more info visit www.alsa.org