A consumer-friendly solar car build by Iowa State University students is making its way around Iowa this month, and Clickstop was lucky enough to get a visit on June 21st.
PrISUm, ISU’s solar car team, is comprised of 120 students. The car, called Penumbra, will visit all of Iowa’s 99 counties in June as part of an annual outreach to showcase the fully sustainable vehicle, as well as promote renewable energy and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Clickstop employees and community members were excited to check out the car. Penumbra will be competing in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia this October. The car is certainly a head turner, with its aerodynamic design and bright Iowa State University color scheme. The car took two years to design and manufacture, and has many features that can be found in present-day motor vehicles, including four seats, Bluetooth audio and wireless charging for cell phones.
Instead of gasoline or diesel fuel, Penumbra is powered by the sun. This recharges the on board batteries as the vehicle is driven. Completely charged, Penumbra delivers up to 200 miles. On a sunny day, a constant speed of 40 mph can be achieved without using energy from the batteries.
Employees at Clickstop were excited to see the innovation and hard work that went into the creation of this car.
To find out more information, visit http://www.prisum.org
I recently read an article about gratitude. In this article, the author talked about gratitude exercises; spending five minutes a day to think about or write about what you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be big and earth shattering. Your gratitude can simply be for the cup of coffee you had this morning. It can be about the new band you found that gets you jamming on the way to work. Whatever made you smile, laugh, or just put you in a great mood. Think about those things and reflect on them. What about it made you feel good? How can you bring that back into your life each day and share your experiences with others?
A simple exercise like this can truly change you.
At Clickstop, we love showing our gratitude for each other and for things in our lives.
For the last few weeks, employees had the chance to come to the media room and do a quick video showing appreciation for one or many of their co-workers. And even though many people are completely intimidated by the video camera, we had a good 30 or so people participate. Employees from every team came to express their gratitude towards the many hard-working, dedicated friends they have right here. Being behind the camera capturing these moments is exciting. Not only does it give me a daily dose of gratitude, but reaffirms the reasons I have chosen Clickstop as my career.
Last week we tied all of our gratitude together into one big celebration. For the afternoon, employees came outside to try to dunk a leadership team member in a dunk tank! Employees who recognized someone automatically earned a softball and anyone else could purchase softballs – all of the money going towards Clickstop Cares. We had basketball and bags games going throughout the day and Peppy’s Ice Cream even came to help everyone battle the heat. The day was a success and left everyone feeling refreshed and ready to conquer another week!
So if you ever need a pick-me-up in the middle of your day, just pause for a few minutes and think of the things you are grateful for. Let it soak into you and refresh your mind. Trust us, it is worth it.
Communicate: To share or exchange information, news, or ideas.
Openly: Without concealment, deception, or prevarication, especially where these might be expected; frankly or honestly.
Confidence: The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
Respect: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
We take our core values seriously at Clickstop, and Communicating Openly with Confidence and Respect helps keep the entire company moving in the right direction.
Communicating Openly with Confidence and Respect is an expectation at Clickstop, but is also second nature to all who work here. We all work so well together, it just happens, though doesn’t make it any less important. In order for us to improve as teammates, as individuals, and as a company, we have to hold ourselves accountable to great communication. We are always seeking to improve and grow, and through this core value, and efforts made by individuals throughout the company, we are hoping to do just that.
One person who has been running a program to get good and timely communication and feedback from employees is Britni Graham. Britni is our Talent & Engagement Specialist and has been with the company for 4 years. For almost a year, Britni has been conducting Pulse Surveys for our company. The Pulse Surveys are set up to… well, take Clickstop’s pulse! We want employees to have a way to anonymously give feedback around various topics. We then use that information provided by employees to strengthen or adjust things throughout the company.
Britni gave us a closer look into the processes and goals of the Pulse Surveys. Check it out!
Tell me about your role at Clickstop.
“I work to get out and promote Clickstop. I conduct phone interviews; screen resumes and partner with company leaeders to make hiring decisions that are highly aligned with Clickstop and our Core Values. I drive strategy for the development of high employee engagement and programs that support those initiatives; with this I am responsible for the development, organization, and administration of gathering the pulse of employee engagement and quantifying that information for the company as a whole.”
Why did Clickstop start doing Pulse Surveys?
“I had identified a need for the company to have real-time feedback. Our current avenues for this served the company well when it was smaller, but as we grow we need to ensure that our efforts to connect people and make them feel heard and appreciated are held in the highest regard. This is a way to connect leadership and the entire company with what employees are thinking, feeling, and perceiving.”
What type of information are we trying to find out?
“We want the good and the constructive. We want to promote open communication about various topics from company safety efforts to satisfaction with company leadership.”
How does Clickstop use the results?
“Leaders and contributors alike are given the results. We set an expectation of open and transparent communication, so all in the company can see how any individual team is doing. Putting the information into action is an expectation. Leadership uses their report to discuss themes that occur on teams; sometimes this can mean something needs to happen or a course needs to be adjusted because what is discovered.”
What are your overall goals when conducting these surveys?
“To embrace and cultivate a culture of open feedback. When people feel heard and connected, levels of engagement go up. A highly engaged workforce means that people have both an emotional and professional connection to their work and the organization. Clickstop works very hard to hire great people, and we have a responsibility as a company to create an environment that fosters everything that we stand for in our Core Values.”
Pick a Core Value and explain how it ties into the Pulse Surveys.
“I have two in mind. Communicate Openly with Confidence and Respect – None of what we do here or plan on doing in the future would be possible without sharing what we know, what we think, and what ideas we have. Personally, I am driven by Be Adventurous, Embrace and DRIVE CHANGE – specifically driving change. I am always eager to see the impact in what I am involved in. I am committed to making Clickstop even better than it is today.”
Where do you see Clickstop in 5 years? How do the Pulse Surveys help get us there?
I see Clickstop at least doubled in size, with the possibility of other locations. If this is the case, we will have the task of ensuring all are heard and connected. We have to set ourselves up with a sustainable program that keeps what is important to the experts that we hire, top of mind for the company. Pulse can play a huge part in the future of Clickstop.
As you can see, Clickstop has programs and people in place to keep the company moving forward. Pulse Surveys will continue to help us improve our processes, keep employees engaged, and help bring forward the best possible Clickstop.
Today we continue our core value blog series with our California boy, Sean Waters.
Sean joins Wesley, who showed us what Making Time for Fun and Family was all about; Rhonda, who knows the importance of Communicating Openly with Confidence and Respect; and Justin, who Expects Greatness in Himself and Inspires it in Others. Sean is easy to spot at Clickstop because he is the poster child of our core value Promote a Winning Team Spirit.
Sean started at Clickstop almost 2 years ago after moving to Iowa from California. Since the day he walked through the doors at Clickstop, he has truly embraced the culture, the people, and the work. Sean is a sales specialist on the Bing team, where he helps customers and supports our Eco Foil, Fasteners Plus, Space Savers, and Just Plastic Boxes brands.
“Sean brings energy and positivity with him every day,” said the Bing General Manager Tammy Karr. “He cares deeply about the spirit of the team and will go above and beyond to make sure everyone at Clickstop is having fun while at work. He definitely makes our team energy AWESOME! Each of us brings different strengths to the team and Sean owns and embraces his strengths to make the team successful.”
The core values are our foundation and building blocks. They propel us towards meeting our mission statement. Sean understands the importance and knows the core values influence each and every one of us to be better, in turn making the company better. “Believing in our company and leadership gives me the motivation and excitement to drive a winning team spirit in all others. It’s very exciting thinking about where this company came from and where it is going. Just thinking of this gets me pumped and drives me to creating a fun and entertaining work place. Being able to put smiles on people’s faces is what it is all about. A happy smiling face is contagious, and I feel people are more productive when they are in good spirits.”
Tammy definitely agrees with Sean and sees the core values in action through Sean daily. “Whether it be on Thrive, filling the need of an additional board member for Clickstop Cares, motivating us in the gym, or recognizing when someone needs a smile put on their face, you can count on Sean to jump in and make a difference. And let’s be real. Have you ever met anyone with so much energy?”
Reflecting on being the first ever recipient of the Core Value Award for Promoting a Winning Team Spirit, Sean thinks of the dad from A Christmas Story. “It is amazing, a true honor. I won my own leg lamp!”
Finally, Sean encourages everyone to stay positive and motivated. Embrace the core value by talking with as many people throughout the day as possible. Send funny, positive memes or messages through email, or just make sure everyone knows they are valued.
Congratulations on this “Major Award” Sean! It is well deserved!
Clickstop is excited to announce the winners of the 2017 Dream Big! Scholarship.
Clickstop is committed to supporting the dreams and goals of youth in our surrounding community. These students are our future talent that may someday work alongside our existing workforce. It is important that we strongly support continuing growth and the career pathways of youth; investing in our future talent is critical to the success and sustainability of our business.
“After receiving 20 applications, our scholarship selection committee was inspired.” said Sarah Watson “The students are doing exciting things in the community through activities, volunteerism, continuous learning, and overall having fun! It was a great experience to learn more about their future goals and desire to make a long-term impact in the area.”
The committee included Clickstop team members from various teams/roles in the company: Warehouse, Finance, Sales, Manufacturing, and Talent Enrichment. The committee discussed all twenty of the applicants and narrowed it down to the final four. The scholarship recipients were determined based on:
- Relation to our Core Values
- Community involvement
- Characteristics from their recommendation letter
- Taking time to enjoy life and have fun!
- Overall fit of a future Clickstop team member
The four winners are Alexa Brooker, Aspen Hepker, Emily Blake, and Rylie Conway. Check out the winners future goals and accomplishments!
Alexa Brooker is a senior at Center Point-Urbana High School and plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall.
Alexa plans on pursuing a career in genetics after a biology class helped her discover her love for it. “I have always been amazed how everything works and I want to know more. I want to know why some people have higher chances of getting illnesses than others. I want to help people cope and find a way for them to live a longer life even with an illness.” said Alexa. To get to this point, she is going to get her masters and work as a genetic researcher. “I have been fortunate that I have had few relatives with cancer, but other families are not so lucky. I want to find genetic markers and find ways to prevent cancer, cope with pain, and live healthier lives.”
Alexa is an active member in her church, participating in the fall festival. She is also an altar server. Alexa has also volunteered at Vinton Saves the World. She coaches u13/u14 girls soccer, and is active in softball, cross country, soccer, basketball, the student council, math team, Spanish Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the National Honor Society.
Congratulations Alexa on all of your accomplishments and winning the Dream Big! Scholarship.
Aspen Hepker just finished up her senior year at Vinton-Shellsburg High School and is planning to attend the University of Northern Iowa in the fall.
“I recently had the privilege of interning with Mrs. Mathis’s 1st grade class at Tilford Elementary.” said Aspen. “That experience has reinforced my decision to follow my passion for teaching. Helping to guide young children and making a difference in their lives are my ultimate goals. I want to take part in shaping the values of our future generations and be able to impact the lives of children.”
Aspen keeps busy working with various organizations, including VPRD, Vinton Public Library, and Tilford PTO meetings. Aspen thrives on helping others but also finds value in networking and building up relationships with people in the community. She has organized blood drives, supported community events, assisted with children’s programs, pitched in to help communities overcome natural disasters, and has done fundraising and helped initiate the development of new community programs. Aspen is truly making a difference in her community.
She is also active in VS Fellowship of Christian Athletes, she is the Cheerleading Cheer Captain, is in the Treble Choir, a member of Prairie Creek Christian Church, and part of Vinton-Shellsburg FFA.
Aspen has shown through her high school career that she is enthusiastic and creative. She believes in teamwork and understands the importance of giving back.
“It is not only rewarding and strengthens my character, but it is the foundation of building a network of valuable connections. I understand the importance of family in your personal and professional life.” said Aspen. “Communication is key to successful relationships. Never stop learning and growing. Life is about achieving success, but it’s also important to have fun and make memories along the way.”
Congratulations Aspen on all of your accomplishments and winning the Dream Big! Scholarship.
Emily Blake also just finished up her senior year at Vinton-Shellsburg High School. Emily plans on attending the University of Northern Iowa to pursue a career in elementary education.
“My career goals are to attend UNI to earn my degree in elementary education and a minor in either math or science.” said Emily. “I have felt a connection to younger children for as long as I can remember and have always felt the need to volunteer and support my community. My desire is to inspire young people to become leaders by getting involved in their community.”
Emily strives to be a role model for young children by showing them kindness and promoting goodness in others. She knows that honesty, character, leadership, and enthusiasm are all traits of a successful person. “Teaching gives me the opportunity to share these important qualities to children by example. I will mirror these values that are important in making good, honorable, future leaders.”
Emily has volunteered throughout her community, within the school, and specifically with Vinton Parks and Recreation. She even started her own volunteer project for The Birthright Center of Cedar Rapids where she purchases, designs and donates baby onesies, bibs, and socks to mothers in need. She is involved in her local church, being an altar server for the past seven years. In school she participates in band, choir, softball, volleyball, basketball, golf, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is the NHS Treasurer. She also interns at the elementary school as a teacher associate in a 3rd grade classroom.
Congratulations Emily on all of your accomplishments and winning the Dream Big! Scholarship.
Rylie Conway is a Senior at Center Point-Urbana High School and is planning to attend Central College in the fall.
Rylie has had a dream to be a teacher ever since she was little. She is going to major in Elementary Education and minor in Spanish to make that dream come true.
“I absolutely love kids.” said Rylie. “I have had previous experience working with kids during high school work experience. I worked with two different Kindergarten classes, and I loved every second if it. I didn’t hesitate to take the class again this year. I love being able to work with kids and help further their education. I cannot wait for the day when I have a classroom of my own.”
Rylie has set several goals for herself after high school, including attending Central College. She plans on being an active member of campus, and would like to be a member of the choir so she can continue her passion for singing. She also has set her goals high, planning on studying abroad. “I love Spanish and traveling, and I think it would be an amazing experience to be a part of a different culture and see their traditions.”
Rylie finds volunteering and community service to be a big part of her life and a big part of her character. She volunteers at her church and school. She has volunteered at Vacation Bible School and the church’s Fall Festival. In school she has helped organize a dance marathon with the National Honor Society where the event raised over $7,000 which was donated to the Emmalee Jacobs Foundation. She is also active in volleyball, jazz choir, large group speech, individual speech, Spanish Club, the spring play, Take Charge, and is the soccer team captain, the show choir dance captain, the student council secretary, and the National Honor Society secretary.
Congratulations Rylie on all of your accomplishments and winning the Dream Big! Scholarship.
Clickstop owns and operates several different brands, our biggest being US Cargo Control. The majority of our employees work under the USCC brand, doing a variety of work. From talking with customers and making sales, to picking and packing orders, we employ some incredibly talented people to make it happen. Two of those people are Leslie and Allen from the purchasing department.
Our purchasing department… well, they purchase! They are the ladies and gents behind the scenes sourcing products, filling our warehouse, and helping us find great quality items at good prices. The team works closely with all teams in the company and help keep us efficient and nimble.
Recently, two of the Purchasing employees made a trip to China to visit a few of our vendors. Leslie Lowdermilk, our senior buyer who has been here for over 6 years, and Allen DeHeck, our Customs Compliance Manager and Procurement Specialist, who has been here 8 years. (Whew! Someone is going to have to talk to Allen about shortening up that title!) Allen and Leslie were representing Clickstop while they were in China for 11 days, touring many factories and experiencing the culture.
So, we had to find out the details of this trip from Leslie and Allen. Check out what they had to say!
So far in our core value blog series we have seen how Wesley McElwee has been a prime example of how to Make Time for Fun and Family. We have also learned how important it is to Communicate Openly with Confidence and Respect through the examples set by Rhonda Giebelstein. Both Wesley and Rhonda show living the core values can help you achieve great things personally and professionally.
Another employee who is a core value champion is Justin Taylor.
Justin Taylor sporting his Expect Greatness t-shirt.
Justin Taylor started at Clickstop almost 3 years ago. He started on the Marketing team and transitioned over to the Business Intelligence team, where he has been rocking through data ever sense. Justin is a true Clickstop advocate. The people, the great opportunities for growth, the creativity, and the flexibility all keep Justin engaged in his work and the company. He knows how to pace himself, set big goals, and achieve anything he sets his mind to, which is why he was recognized for the core value Expect Greatness in Yourself and Inspire it in Others.
“Justin shares ideas and asks questions in a way that pushes everyone around him to be better.” said Director of Business Intelligence Krystal Talbert. “To continue producing the kind of results we expect at Clickstop, we have to keep pushing ourselves and the people around us to grow. Justin is a great example of someone who does this.”
Expecting Greatness means leading by example. Promote growth by listening, caring, and investing your time in other people’s development.
“Our core values provide a baseline for bringing people on board.” said Justin “When we can align behind these values, it makes everything else we do operate at a consistent high level. The values challenge people to improve and encourages accountability everyday.”
Justin knows the importance of having core values, such as Expect Greatness. “It is how we continue to accelerate people’s careers to meet their personal goals. It is how we continue to retain high performers and promote collaboration between co-workers.”
Everyone achieves more when we work together to identify our strengths and weaknesses as a team. When we build each other up, we build trust. With trust comes communication and success.
Justin wants to encourage others to expect and inspire greatness throughout the company. “Expecting greatness can take form in several ways. It is demonstrated through taking extra time to explain the process behind a decision. It can also be taking a chance on someone that may not have had the experience but is willing to learn. Additionally, it can be simply asking questions and working with others to achieve the best outcomes.” These are the behaviors we love to see our employees engaged in. When we take the time to learn and grow within our roles and even outside of our expertise, and then communicate what we have learned, the company can only grow stronger.
Justin is a little shy though when being recognized. “To be singled out in a company with so many people that exemplify these values everyday was a bit shocking. It is nice to be recognized and I feel encouraged that taking time to grow our staff and build up co-workers is valued at Clickstop.”
Well, we’re excited to see Justin is our first quarterly winner of the core value award Expect Greatness in Yourself and Inspire it in Others. Congratulations Justin!
Rhonda Giebelstein started at Clickstop in June of 2015. She is our Customer Service Manager and brings her A-Game every day.
Last week, Rhonda was one of six recipients of our first quarterly awards recognition for employees who are living out the core values. Anyone who knows Rhonda would not see this as a surprise. She is an employee that takes the core values to heart and is seen living them out daily. In particular, Communicate Openly with Confidence and Respect.
Great communication is vital to the success of Clickstop. We strive to be great communicators; sharing information, collaborating, being respectful, honest and open – these are all signs of an employee who understands the importance of great dialog. Alex Ledger, the VP of Sales, recognizes this in Rhonda every day.
“Rhonda does a great job of Communicating Openly with Confidence and Respect! She does a great job of being proactive, and is on top of sending important updates and reminders to the team. She holds herself and others accountable. I don’t know what we would do without Rhonda, she accomplishes so much for our team.”
For Rhonda, this is almost second nature. She loves being on a team and part of a company that encourages employees to collaborate on issues. When people are willing to take a moment and discuss problems and work to find the best solution, everyone wins.
“I believe communication is the key to success in most situations.” said Rhonda. “Simply communicating is not enough though. In order to be heard and understood you have to be sure you are being open, confident, and respectful. If you do not exude these qualities, it is likely that your audience will not hear what you have to say, and the line of communication will be hindered.”
We have so many unique and talented people at Clickstop.
When not busy at work building marketing campaigns, making sales calls, balancing the books, or turning out ratchet straps, they are at home with their families, hanging out with their friends, or having fun with hobbies. And we have so many different activities and hobbies that our employees excel at. So today, we will feature an employee that somehow, between work, planning a wedding, and sleeping, still has a million different hobbies. That person is Nate Merrifield.
Nate poses for the camera after an awesome performance of the Toxic Avenger.
Nate has worked at Clickstop for just over 2 years. He works in the small shipping department and his high energy and enthusiasm keeps him ready for anything.
Nate’s hobbies include writing DnD campaigns (for those who do not know, DnD stands for Dungeons and Dragons), singing and songwriting (Nate is in a couple different bands), theater, and is pretty big into the Final Fantasy series. The thing about all of these hobbies… if Nate is interested in stuff, he gives it his all. He spends a lot of time nurturing each of his hobbies, becoming better and more enthusiastic every time he dives in.
This past weekend, a couple months of practices, singing, and hard work finally were presented to the masses. Nate co-stared in the musical The Toxic Avenger. This was Nate’s third performance on the MMU stage, so he had worked with the director, Jason Alberty, a couple times before. As soon as the show was announced, he listened to the soundtrack and was sold immediately.
The Toxic Avenger, in short, is about world pollution. It brings light to the subject that we aren’t taking as good of care of the earth as we should. In the show, a small town has become the victim of toxic waste. The corrupt mayor thought she could earn a couple extra dollars by subjecting her town to pollution. The hero, Melvin Ferd the Third, takes it upon himself to save the town to impress the blind librarian. After an unfortunate turn of events, Melvin is thrown into a vat of toxic goo and turns into the Toxic Avenger. Many songs and terrible jokes later, the hero saves the day and wins the heart of his true love.
One of the great and fun things about Clickstop is the amount of recognition we like to give each other. Whether you notice a co-worker stepping up their game and present them with a nice note and gift card, or if you are noticed by leaders as a quarterly Rock Star, we love seeing employees be recognized for their achievements. For going above and beyond and living like a true Clickstopper.
So last week, and the end of the first quarter of 2017, Tim surprised us with a new award program, the Quarterly Core Value Recognition. Together, the leadership team worked to decide which employees truly embodied the core values.
“The discussions we had about the core values and our teammates were incredible.” said Monica Steffeck, Co-VP of Talent Enrichment. “It was so fun to hear about all of the things our employees do everyday, going above and beyond to live out the values. So many good vibes during our discussion, it was awesome.”
Paired with comments from the leaders and seeing these employees embody the core values everyday, Tim set out to surprise 6 people with a custom t-shirt and a $100.00 bill.
The winner of the first quarterly recognition for the core value Make Time for Fun & Family was our very talented Web Developer, Wesley McElwee.
Wesley has been with Clickstop for 3.5 years and works on the Technology team.
“Wesley is great to have on the Technology team.” said Tom Altman, VP of Technology. “He has so many things that fit well with our core values – and he acts them out every day. Wesley is the first to jump into an issue or problem – and makes sure to bring the team along with him. And Wesley expects greatness in himself – he loves to learn and this ties into everything. When you use the core values to guide the way you work, it just super-sizes it all.”
“Having core values paints a clear picture of what it’s like to work at Clickstop and what is important both personally and professionally.” said Wesley. “I think for a business it is easy to disregard having a mission statement and core values and put emphasis on the culture of a company. If you don’t intentionally define the culture and values, you can suddenly become a place that isn’t so great. I’d be shocked if any truly great place to work has a good work culture by accident. It must be deliberate.”
Wesley is someone who takes the core values to heart and shares the desire to make Clickstop a great place to be for everyone. One of his favorite parts about working at Clickstop is being with great people. His colleagues keep him pushing himself to have the biggest positive impact he can.
“Make Time for Fun & Family means that putting emphasis on your personal life will make you happier, more engaged, and more productive at work.” said Wesley
“Clickstop knows that by defining the company culture and putting an emphasis on work/life balance it will create a more successful company and make each employee individually happier and more successful as well.”
Tom sees a lot of potential in Wesley and knows he will make waves at Clickstop. “We need top notch developers and I can see Wesley growing into a role where he can be a leader and a teacher. Wesley is a good listener and very well-liked by everyone he interacts with. I always describe Wesley as quiet-confidence. He knows what is right and wrong – he just handles it. You can see that is also the way he parents. It is not a lot of talk – just quiet confidence.”
The great thing about Clickstop is EVERYONE has the chance to be successful; to be the best versions of themselves. Having work/life balance is critical to this success.
“I’m going to borrow something that a former pastor of mine would say in church. “Keep the main thing the main thing”. In this context, it means don’t neglect your personal life for the sake of work. Yes, we all want to be part of a successful company and want to make as big of an impact as we can here. But the main thing is your personal happiness and family life. Neglecting that will over time lead to less value here at Clickstop as well. Balance is the key and doing well at one will make you better at the other.”
Finally, we had to ask Wesley how it felt to be the first ever recipient of the Make Time for Fun & Family award. “Each and every core value is important to the long term success of the company. Being recognized as fulfilling this value, or any of the core values for that matter, is a great honor. I want to give a big “thank you” to Tim G for being committed to such a great place to work. Also, my co-workers who also embody the six core values and live them out every day… I’d like to thank everyone I have ever met and while I’m at it, all the people I haven’t met yet. That is all.”