In Episode 26 of The Mission Critical Fire Protection Podcast, Lee Kaiser sits down with Amanda Sweet ORR's business performance manager. Amanda discusses how she moved into a brand new corporate role in the fire suppression industry and talks about mission-critical fire protection with Lee.
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Welcome to MCFP meet the experts where ORR Protections, VP of engineering, Lee Kaiser interviews, industry insiders on all things Mission-critical fire protection.
Lee Kaiser (00:19):
I'm here with Amanda Sweet today. Amanda, thanks for joining me-
Amanda Sweet (00:23):
Yeah, Thank you very much.
Lee Kaiser (00:23):
Your business performance manager for or protection. And, uh, tell me what that means?
Amanda Sweet (00:30):
It's a new role for, ORR, and for myself, it's on the operations team as a strategic partner between the regional operations managers and the support functions to drive a lot of the evolution and growth that we're looking forward to in the next year or two.
Lee Kaiser (00:44):
So corporate role working with all the regions and, and, and helping with, with business evolution. So, you know, how do, how are you going to help the business with that?
Amanda Sweet (00:57):
So much growth and change happening within the industry and within ORR as well, and new technologies, new opportunities, new lines of business within the industry. So I'm working through all of that to really develop the functions and the support structure that we need to make those changes happen smoothly and maintain the culture that's so important to, ORR, and to who we are as a company.
Lee Kaiser (01:18):
Yeah. So culture is, um, very important to ORR, our company, and we know culture starts with our core values. You you've been involved in some of the core values work that we've done over the last year. Tell me about that.
Amanda Sweet (01:29):
Yeah. I originally started with, ORR first in town acquisition and then as a general HR business partner for associate services team. So it's an interesting transition into operations that I'm really enjoying. So is it involved in not developing our core values, but in rolling those out and communicating them to the new associates and helping us live those every day from performance reviews and goal setting to job descriptions, to our most recent technician conference.
Lee Kaiser (01:55):
You know, we we've had core values in the past and, and list of those things. Now we've retooled it. But what, you know, would you say there are major differences and the, the new core values?
Amanda Sweet (02:06):
No, I'd say it's still the premise and the heartbeat of the core values are the same as they were before. A little bit of tweaking, a little bit of modernization to really make it feel like it's coming alive for the associates and be a part of their everyday life.
Lee Kaiser (02:19):
So, you know, the business saying is that core values lead to culture. And so, uh, culture, at ORR again, is very important. What describe what you feel that the corporate culture is.
Amanda Sweet (02:32):
To me, the best example that I've witnessed so far of the corporate culture, we talk all the time about it being a family company, and that's can sound like a little bit of a cliche when you hear it on a, on a blog post or in a marketing seminar, but it really comes alive at ORR. And the first moment that I realized that was at the last technician conference before this most recent one, when I walked into that hotel ballroom, it could have been really stuffy, kind of a cocktail hour situation with a hundred people who I didn't know, and I expected they didn't know each other either. And then I walk in and what I actually see is associates who work across the country. They may only see each other at these events once every two years or so, but they're introducing their new technicians that I just hired to the veteran technicians from their other regions that they've worked with 20 years. They're showing family pictures, the daughter's wedding, their son that just graduated from high school. They remembered not only each other's names, but their wives names and their children's names. And that was really when I realized that we, we meant it when we said we're a family company. That's what it means at ORR.
Lee Kaiser (03:33):
Yeah. It, you know, it's the same in the sales culture when we have sales conferences, just as you said, people are old friends, even though they're across the country from each other. And again, remember all the family members and ask questions and want to really know how our families are doing it. And it's important to know about our associates family lives in a positive way. Right? So, um, I know you used to be in talent acquisition. And so that means that you spent a lot of time really with our technical, uh, people, our field service technicians. So as you would talk to them, what are the things from, our culture and our company that you've observed that you would, you know, talk to a, uh, field service candidate about?
Amanda Sweet (04:18):
I think what it all boils down to. There's a lot of little things here and there, like our 40 hour work week guarantee or the fact that we provide our vehicles and tools, but what it really boils down to is the fact that we think of our technical work, our field associates, the full job from start to finish, and we want to make sure that we're giving them everything that they need to do that job safely and efficiently and productively. So the tools they need, the equipment they need, but also the training, the 40 hours of training per year, that we guarantee each technician that we work hard to make sure each technician has, whether that's in-house or out of the office with a manufacturer. And I know your team's a big part of that as well. It's been a pleasure working with them too.
Lee Kaiser (04:56):
Yeah. So, Amanda, what do you personally like about working at ORR?
Amanda Sweet (05:01):
You can really make a difference at, ORR you can see a need and drive towards it, even if it's not your full-time role and make an impact pretty quickly. It's a big enough company that they have the resources and support that associates need to be able to have productive home lives and take care of their families as well. But it's a small enough company that you can still see an opportunity and carve it out for yourself and for the company as well.
Lee Kaiser (05:23):
I think that balance, isn't it.
Amanda Sweet (05:24):
Lee Kaiser (05:26):
So now that you are an operations and we've talked about your career path to get here, not the traditional way that we bring people into the fire protection business. So are you starting to learn a little bit about fire protection? Are you starting to get the itch?
Amanda Sweet (05:39):
I'm I think I'm starting to learn a little bit. Sometimes I leave a meeting surprised with how much of that I actually understood. It's not always a hundred percent, but it's a lot more than it was two and a half, three years ago when I started here. And a big part of that is that I worked really hard to go out on field visits, especially when I traveled to the different regions or I'm the local teams. I try and spend at least one day out in the field going to different sites. And that's been really beneficial, not only to the relationship that I've built with our technical teams across the country, but also to my own understanding of the business and what we do.
Lee Kaiser (06:09):
Well, you know what they say in fire protection, it's a small business once you get in and started to get out. So welcome to the family.
Amanda Sweet (06:16):
Thank you very much.
Lee Kaiser (06:17):
So again, uh, Amanda Sweet business performance manager for ORR Protection. Thanks so much for talking with us.
Amanda Sweet (06:22):
Thanks. It was great talking to you.
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