In what we hope to be a regular feature of the AVI blog, we will be sitting down with AVI staff members periodically to discuss their role at AVI Systems and maybe dig in a bit to find out who they are outside of work. Last month, we had the pleasure of interviewing two-time Awards of Excellence winner, Karen Rediger from the Shared Services department in the Kansas City office.
Karen and her department are an essential piece of the AVI team and a tremendous asset to the organization. In addition, her role in the yearly Harvesters donation has earned her recognition of going above and beyond within the organization.
How long have you been with AVI Systems?
- It will be 14 years in December.
What do you do at AVI Systems?
- I work in Shared Services in the Accounts Receivable department. Shared Services is the accounting department for AVI. Shared Services handles payroll, purchasing, accounts payable, accounts receivable and general account management. I work in the accounts receivable department and credit administration.
Can you tell us about your average day?
- On most days, I am setting up new accounts and reviewing orders for credit approval. I also do research on new clients to determine credit worthiness. I assist in processing cash, job set up and change order review. I also assist with billing and collections.
How did you get into Audio Visual Integration?
- I was actually hired as a temp back in 1998. AVI had just moved the admin office from North Dakota. Wendy Leigh (currently the Customer Services Manager) received my application from a staffing agency and I was called for an interview. So yeah, I started as a temp and the rest is history. They have kept me so far. (laughs)
What do you enjoy most about your job?
- I like the variety; it’s not the same job every day. One day I spend time on credit, next I am helping the regional offices solve an issues. It’s never the same. That’s why I find it interesting and why I enjoy coming to work every day.
You are a two time Awards of Excellence Winner. Can you tell us a bit about that award and why you were chosen?
- The first award was a quality award. I believe you just do your job the best you can. The second award was based on performance. I feel the regional offices are my customers, so I just try to give the best service I can. I don’t know if it’s going beyond the call of duty, but its nice when your customers are satisfied.
What project/task at AVI Systems are you most proud of?
- Mine would not be an individual accomplishment but one from the company. We started out small, and of course now we are much bigger, but we haven’t lost sight of who we are. I can give an example: we recently were able to make an acquisition without financial funding and were able to seamlessly integrate the company into what we do. It’s really a testament to what AVI is about. AVI has been run so well, and the strength of the company proves that. AVI came in and opened up offices in Detroit, Cincinnati and St Louis. Techs, Sales and Upper Management were quickly brought on to AVI. And we did it all without having to go to the bank. We now have 17 offices throughout the United States and employ over 300 individuals.
You’re the head of the Harvesters Charity program. How did that come about?
- I was driving to work trying to determine what charity my family would take on for the year. I have always liked what Harvesters does in our community. I asked the CFO about it and he was on board with an office food drive. Each year, our office continues to go above and beyond. This started as an individual thing and quickly grew into the whole office doing it -- 100% participation! One person can do only so much, but if we multiply that by a group we can do so much more.
Do you have mentors in the business that inspire you?
- I do! My CFO Randi Borth. He is a great inspiration to me. The way he conducts himself and his business with his employees is very admirable. He clearly takes a real interest in us and in AVI. Four years ago when I took on credit admin, I was learning a whole new field, but Randi was always willing to coach and teach me.
- My supervisor, Wendy Leigh, has also been a big inspiration to me. She is always available with an open door, willing to challenge me to think outside the box and to go further within AVI. She has also given me the tools to succeed. As I moved from a Billing Clerk to Credit Admin, and gained much more responsibility, she has given me ongoing training and support to become an asset to AVI.
We’d like to ask a few questions about how you are outside of work.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
- I love to read and play board games with my 12 year old son. We also enjoy video games. I also enjoy watching him play football.
What is your favorite summertime activity?
- Baseball! I don’t have a team, but I just love to watch a good game.
Favorite type of music/artist?
- Christian Gospel Music. My favorite artist at the moment is Brandon Health.
Your dream car?
- Probably a Cadillac Escalade, but only if I didn’t have to pay for gas (laughs).
Your ideal vacation?
- I’m not much of a world traveler, but I have heard great things about Italy and France.
Chocolate or vanilla?
- Definitely chocolate.
MAC or PC?
- PCs are what I know, but I have heard great things about Mac’s. At this time I would still have to say a PC.
Now that we know you enjoy chocolate ice cream, we have a true sense of who you are! Thanks for your time, Karen.