Get to Know RELYCO – Janet McKay, Order Entry Specialist

We love Janet for her sense of humor. She’ll crack an unexpected joke, pair it with an infectious laugh and the rest of us can’t resist joining in. Meet Janet in her own words here.

Janet McKay serves as an Order Entry Specialist, which means she does a bit of everything within the sales process. She was hired in early March 2022. We love Janet for her sense of humor. She’ll crack an unexpected joke, pair it with an infectious laugh and the rest of us can’t resist joining in.
 
When asked to describe herself, Janet said “fun, reliable and a good cook.” After learning more about her during this interview, I’d like to add resilient to that list. Janet told me that starting a new job during this time in her life was the best thing for her; learning something new kept her busy.

Janet McKay
Janet McKay, Order Entry Specialist

I heard that her first grandbaby arrived just a few days after this interview. With “grandmother,” Janet now has another new role to learn, and undoubtedly it’ll keep her busy as well. Congratulations, Janet!

Meet Janet in her own words below:

What’s your favorite season?
I like the warm weather, but don’t get me wrong, Christmas is my favorite season! [she laughs]

What skills / hobbies / habits have you picked up during COVID lockdowns?
I learned to purge a lot of stuff out of my house that I did not need. [she laughs] I got in the habit of sterilizing everything, so I have my wipes still around, wiping everything down. And to try and get closer to family.

Where did you grow up?
Somersworth, New Hampshire.

What’s your favorite smell?
Cut grass. [We have a few people at RELYCO who have said this; Janet joins Tonya, Donna & Kim!]

Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have two dogs.

What do you listen to in the car?
I like 70s rock ‘n’ roll. I like country music and a little bit of blues, some classical. I like it all, but the main thing is 70s rock and country.

Describe your happy place.
My happy place is sitting on the beach. Short Sands [in York, Maine]. My uncle lived there for years when I was little, and I basically grew up there. My favorite spot is Short Sands, and I won’t go anywhere else!

What’s your favorite song to dance to?
Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock n Roll. [Alexi also chose that song. Maybe it’s time for a RELYCO dance party?!]

What would you choose for your “last meal”?
If I had to choose right now, it would be seafood. It would be haddock, shrimp, clams, lobster…not squid. That’s too chewy. [she laughs] I’m not into raw fish or anything of that, just give me the good cooked fish, and I’ll be happy.

Where is/was your favorite place to visit while traveling?
My husband was from Colorado, and we traveled out there and I really enjoyed that. So I’d probably say going out to Colorado. I’ve been to Pikes Peak, been to the Grand Canyon, been to the Four Corners – because we drove out from Colorado, we had a wedding to go to in Phoenix, Arizona. So we just took the week to drive out and went to all those places.

If you could hang out with someone (living or deceased) for the day, who would you pick?
I’m going to start crying. It would be my husband. He passed away six months ago tomorrow. He died of COVID, and I wasn’t able to be with him until I was able to go say goodbye. So I’d pick my husband. We were going to be married 35 years in August, and we have a first grandbaby due anytime.

Do you have one favorite holiday tradition?
My favorite holiday tradition I’ve been doing since I was a little girl, and I still have these aluminum foil cookie pans – making Christmas cookies. And I still do it, even if it’s just me and one other person.

To contact Janet, send her an email at jmckay@relyco.com. To contact RELYCO, give us a call at 800.777.7359. You can also click here.

Our Journey to B Corp – Part 4

Over the next several months, you’ll see more from us about this. Here’s a sneak peek at two really exciting announcements.

A blog series. Read parts one, two and three.

What’s next

Over the next several months, you’ll be seeing more about our B Corp journey. We’ll also be implementing more surveys of suppliers, customers and employees.

You might have noticed something was afoot when we started hinting at our sustainability goals and employee-focused changes. Now that we’ve made the announcement that we’re working towards B Corp certification, we’ll share even more of what we’re working on. Some examples include adopting a responsible sourcing policy, investing in sustainable products and green initiatives for the home/in-office work environment.

Part of our B Corp journey will involve more transparency in several aspects of our business, particularly our charitable giving and goals around sustainability. We’ll be sharing more initiatives in the coming weeks, but here is a sneak peek at two really exciting announcements:

  • 1% of all online sales will be donated to charitable causes starting in Q3 of 2022
  • Sustainable alternative products will be added to the REVLAR product line by 2030

Stay tuned for more information about these goals and others!

Putting it out there

We plan to submit for B Corp certification within the next 6-9 months. That’s kind of a scary thing to put out into the world. There is some hesitancy to admit to a big goal in such a public way. What if it doesn’t happen? But, as Bruce mentioned, we’re learning the lesson of vulnerability.

We’re striving to be successful in this endeavor, and regardless of the outcome, the positive changes we’re making to our company are long-term. These efforts are making us a better company, and we’re committed to that work.

Our Journey to B Corp – Part 3

Working towards B Corp certification has been a huge learning experience for us! We detail those discoveries here.

A blog series. Read parts one and two.

Learnings from BLD New England

Amber Trudell and Steph Oeser recently attended the 2022 B Corp Leadership Development New England Conference. They met attendees from other New England businesses who are currently B Corps (or working towards certification, like we are). They met interesting people during highly collaborative sessions, where folks were encouraged to share their ideas, experiences, challenges and suggestions. Everyone was there to learn and grow, which made it a very inspiring and informative conference.

Strong emphasis was placed on how crucial it is for companies to hone in on who they are and what they do best because every company is so different. When you do that, it becomes clear how your company can uniquely do business for good, which is what B Corp is all about!

What have we discovered so far?

In looking at the B Impact Assessment, we quickly realized that we need more processes in place. Some changes were quick and easy, like adding policies to our handbook that we were already practicing, but did not have documented. Other updates will take more time. Our mission, vision, policies and goals need to be updated and recorded in a more formal way so that we can focus our efforts and hold ourselves accountable.

This process illuminates the value of communication and employee engagement. We need more robust systems in place to measure and survey our performance as an employer, so we can attain 360-degree feedback. We’re also diving deep into our supply chain and working closely with our vendors to understand our impact.

According to Bruce, “This journey is a lesson in vulnerability and introspection. You have to get really clear on what you are trying to accomplish as a business, and why. Being true to yourself is the best way to do this.”

Next steps & goals

In the next installment of this blog series, we’ll detail some of the specific goals our team is working towards.

Continue reading

Our Journey to B Corp – Part 2

What prompted us to go for B Corp certification? It all started with an email to the University of New Hampshire.

A blog series. Read part one.

What prompted us to go for B Corp certification?

In the fall of 2021, Bruce Steinberg, our CEO, reached out to the University of New Hampshire to inquire about any programs or resources they might have to assist businesses who were looking to become more environmentally sustainable. The reply from UNH indicated that they thought their B Impact Clinic might be a good fit for us.

Through this clinic, companies that are working to complete their B Impact Assessment (BIA) are matched with a team of undergraduate students. These students are trained in the BIA and are supported by faculty mentors. The students act as project managers, researchers and consultants to help businesses complete the assessment.

“My first thought after learning about B Corp certification was, wow, that’s really cool! I was interested in becoming a B Corp. I thought it would be a slam dunk, and we’d easily reach 80 points. We are a company with a long history of giving back to our community, and we genuinely care about people, so of course we use our business to do good,” explains Bruce. “But once I dug into the assessment further, I realized that we could use some help. Many of our processes were not formalized in the way that would be required for measurement, so we needed some recommendations for that.”

Designating a B Corp champion and team

After learning that the journey to becoming a certified B Corp can take months or even years, Bruce decided to pull in Amber Trudell, our Director of Supply Chain & Operations, to become our company’s B Corp champion. With her oversight of our supply chain, she’s well-suited to the B Corp mission. Bruce was also impressed with her organizational skills, and he felt she could get a long-term project like this over the finish line.

Amber and Bruce participated in UNH’s B Impact Clinic together, and they were really appreciative of the support and recommendations they received from the students. After the clinic ended, they decided they had enough of a starting point to pull in additional members of the RELYCO team.

That’s where Steph Oeser, Marketing Manager; Dennis Veilleux, Controller; and Kelsey Dexter, Inside Sales Manager, were asked to join in the effort. They represent the communication, financial and training aspects of this undertaking, respectively. With more departments involved, we gain more perspectives, while increasing excitement about our mission.

What have we learned so far?

We’ll share all that we’ve discovered in the next installment of this blog series.

Continue reading

Our Journey to B Corp – Part 1

We’re excited to announce that our company is pursuing B Corp certification! This is a huge step for our company, and we’re really looking forward to taking you on the journey with us.

We’re excited to announce that our company is pursuing B Corp certification! This is a huge step for our company, and we’re really looking forward to taking you on the journey with us.

What is a B Corp?

B Corps are transforming the global economy; they are unified around the idea that business can be “a force for good.”

B Corps are passionate about doing the right thing for their teams, their communities and the planet. In the business world, they lead the charge on high-quality standards for employee benefits, charitable giving, supply chain practices, environmental impact and more. Sounds awesome, right?

According to B Lab, the non-profit network that manages the certification process, “We mobilize the B Corp community towards collective action to address society’s most critical challenges…by harnessing the power of business…[and] helping them balance profit with purpose.”

B Impact Assessment

The certification process allows “business as a force for good” to be quantified in an objective way. The B Impact Assessment (BIA) is a rigorous point-based tool that is broken into five impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. In order to meet the performance requirement for certification, a business must earn a minimum of 80 verified points on the BIA.

Every question answered on the assessment must have documentation to back up any points claimed; transparency and accountability underpins everything during the assessment. Points are verified by the B Lab during their extensive review process, and all businesses are required to undergo the process every three years to recertify.

Why do we want to become a B Corp?

Clearly, this is a serious undertaking, and we’re just getting started! Businesses don’t just become B Corps overnight. You can be assured that when a business is a certified B Corp, they don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk.

Beyond the obvious desire to become a better company, we feel strongly about the social and environmental issues that B Corps are addressing. Learn even more about why we decided to pursue this certification in the next installment of this blog series.

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Get to Know RELYCO – Alexi Fish, Account Manager

With experience bartending and managing a dive bar, we knew that Alexi was going to have excellent people skills. We were not disappointed! Read all about her here.

Alexi Fish was initially hired as an Order Entry Specialist in March 2022, and she now serves on the Account Management team. Alexi came to us with experience in the restaurant industry and, more specifically, she previously bartended and managed a dive bar in Hampton, NH. We knew that if she could do that, Alexi would have excellent people skills and be accustomed to a fast-paced environment.

We were not disappointed – Alexi has totally delivered! Within a few weeks of Alexi being here, one of our longtime employees unexpectedly went out on medical leave.

Alexi Fish
Alexi Fish, Account Manager

On top of assisting her own customers, Alexi jumped in to handle the hundreds of customers who had years-long established working relationships with someone else. Alexi is cool, calm and collected, and we’re so glad to have her on our team! Learn more about Alexi in her own words:

What skills / hobbies / habits have you picked up during COVID lockdowns?
I drank more, I ate more, but I also painted more, I like to paint. I think that’s pretty much all I did – eat, drink and paint. [Bobby also did some painting during lockdowns!]

Where did you grow up?
Syracuse, New York. Not technically Syracuse. It’s a town called Fayetteville-Manlius – it’s like farmland out there, kind of. [Asked how she ended up here] I actually have a bunch of friends that I went to high school with that ended up moving here! So like my best girl friend lives in Maine now, but she was in Portsmouth. And two of my best guy friends lived here, so I came to visit the year before I moved here and I loved it. My buddy bought a house and he was flipping it, and he had an extra room, so I just said screw it and moved away from home!

What’s your favorite smell?
Oh God that’s tough. Probably my grandparents’ house. It’s a very nostalgic smell.

What do you listen to in the car?
Music. I don’t know, I like 70s, 80s, 90s music. I was listening to Dave Mattthews Band on the way here.

Describe your happy place.
Being with my family.

What would you choose for your “last meal”?
That’s really tough. But I think since I moved here, it’s become an easier question to answer. Probably lobster pie from Petey’s.

Your house is on fire, what’s the first thing you grab?
Oh! I have a box filled with like, I don’t know, old pictures and I have sand from when I went to Iceland and money from other countries. But yeah, it’s full of sentimental things. Probably that. I’d probably grab my boyfriend too! [she laughs] 

Where is/was your favorite place to visit while traveling?
I would say probably Block Island. My family, my cousins – we have a huge family of cousins, but I see the ones that live in Rhode Island more often than I see the other ones – so every summer we go to Block Island and get a little cottage. We spend the week there. It’s wicked fun! Last year, we got a really big house, but usually it’s like a little tiny place and we’re sleeping on the couches or on the ground, wherever we end up.

What’s your most used emoji?
Oh probably the face palm. 🤦

If you could hang out with someone (living or deceased) for the day, who would you pick?
Probably my grandfather that I never got to meet. He died before I was born, he seemed like he was cool.

Do you have one favorite holiday tradition?
Every Christmas Eve, we used to go to Lights on the Lake, and then we would go to a Japanese hibachi restaurant. It’s so random, but it was right down the street from it, and we were always starving after Lights on the Lake because it’s like an hour drive. That’s probably one of my favorites.

What’s your favorite song to dance to?
I would say probably Come On Eileen gets me pretty pumped up, if I’m thinking weddings. I just went away this weekend and I was dancing to every song that was played, so it doesn’t take much! Or Old Time Rock n Roll.

To contact Alexi, send her an email at afish@relyco.com. To contact RELYCO, give us a call at 800.777.7359. You can also click here.

This Month with Bruce – May 2022

Learn about the important role charitable giving plays in RELYCO’s story – past, present and future.

Charitable giving has been an important part of our business since its inception in 1989. When my father, Mike Steinberg, founded the business, he made sure that his core values were reflected not just in how we interacted with our customers, but also in regularly giving back to our community. He instilled those same values in me.

You can learn more about our history of giving back, the organizations we support, our Community Service Team and how our employees have stepped up with a voluntary charitable payroll deduction system on our community support page. Many team members have served on our Community Service Team over the years; the current team members are Joni van Gelder, Bobby Crowley, Cassie Duranceau, Amber Trudell, Kat Steinberg and myself.

Our new initiatives

Our new initiatives

Our team is currently looking at ways we can engage more with our local community. We conducted a survey of employees in February to gather some data on their charitable interests. We’re taking on new programs and organizing group volunteer events based on those results.

The first of those events involved helping out during a Dover Clean Up day recently. Mike Chambers, Matt Zottos and I spent a wonderful day raking and working on flower beds at Henry Law Park.

In June we’ll be doing a food drive to support the Barrington, NH branch of End 68 Hours of Hunger, which has an extended program into the summer months to support families year-round. Our very own Kim Gibson is a program coordinator there, and she initiated the connection.

Another recently implemented new initiative includes an optional 8 hours of paid time off for each employee to use towards community service work each year. This supports their interests on a more individual level and has the added benefit of broadening our scope of giving.

Building on the past to grow the future

Building on the past to grow the future

My ultimate goal is to take the efforts from the past and build on them. One of the major benefits of streamlining our business is that it enables us to maximize the funds we can allocate to charitable giving. We are in the process of creating a more structured system to make formal commitments and allocations, measure our impact and share our progress. Stay tuned as we roll out announcements around this in the coming months.

Reach out to me at bsteinberg@relyco.com if you would like to chat about this or anything else!

Get to Know RELYCO – Kim Gibson, Account Manager – Sales Representative

Beyond having an easy rapport with customers, Kim is simply a fun person to be around – she’s always down for a laugh and always “all in.”

Kim Gibson joined RELYCO in December 2021. She serves as an Account Manager – Sales Representative. She’s really outgoing and upbeat; Kim describes herself as “definitely an extrovert” and that rings true! Her role involves assisting customers within her large portfolio of accounts, as well as gaining new business by reaching out to new customers.

Beyond having an easy rapport with customers, Kim is simply a fun person to be around – she’s always down for a laugh and always game.

Kim Gibson
Kim Gibson, Account Manager – Sales Rep

When I joked that our last meal question below is pretty dark, and (sort of) pre-supposes that she has committed a heinous crime, she responded with a boisterous laugh, “Oh, I’m all in!” And that’s why we love Kim.

Learn more about Kim in her own words:

What skills / hobbies / habits have you picked up during COVID lockdowns?
Some great walking with friends, drinking some wine and, you know, reconnecting with family and friends in a more meaningful way.

What’s your favorite season?
Oh summer, 100%.

What’s your favorite smell?
Ooo, fresh cut grass. [Same as Donna & Tonya!]

Do you have any pets?
I do. I have a pug, who is six. I have a cat who is the favorite of the entire family, he’s, I don’t know, I think close to six. And we have one fish. And I don’t even know its name!

Describe your happy place.
Lake Winnipesaukee, Whortleberry Island.

If you could talk to your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give?
Own who you are.

What would you choose for your “last meal”?

I’ll probably have a filet steak with roasted cauliflower, and some shrimp. And a whole thing of brownie batter.

Your house is on fire, what’s the first thing you grab?
My kids. [Asked how many kids she has] Two. Sixteen and eighteen.

What’s your favorite song to dance to?
[Big laugh] It’s um, ACDC. [Starts softly singing] Kept her motor clean / she was the best damn woman that I’ve ever seen / she had…what is that? It’s not Back in Black, is it? [It’s actually You Shook Me All Night Long. A truly excellent choice, Kim!]

What’s your most used emoji?
The one with the hearts in the eyes. 😍 Or maybe just a heart even? ❤️ Or the party hat. The party thing. 🎉

If you could hang out with someone (living or deceased) for the day, who would you pick?
I’m going to get in trouble if I say my dad because my mom will be sad, but I’m going to say my dad.

Do you have one favorite holiday tradition?
Our whole Christmas day is a beautiful family tradition, starting with Christmas Eve. We go to Christmas Eve service – we’re not super religious – but we always go to that. We always have Chinese food after that. And then we wake up as a family in the morning, and have these sticky buns that we get from Portsmouth and that whole sort of experience with the family is really great.

To contact Kim, send her an email at kgibson@relyco.com or connect with her on LinkedIn here. To contact RELYCO, give us a call at 800.777.7359. You can also click here.

This Month with Bruce – April 2022

Bruce Steinberg, RELYCO’s CEO, explains how we can help you avoid delays caused by raw material and supply chain challenges.

Like many businesses, we continue to face raw material and supply chain challenges. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it, I know I am! But I bring it up because it’s important that we talk about it openly. Our goal is to assist you in managing your business. In order to do that in the most efficient, timely and professional way, we need to be transparent about the circumstances we face.

Help us help you

Help us help you

The best advice I can give right now is to be proactive about placing your orders early to avoid delays. Delivering on our promises is wildly important to us, and that works best when we partner with our clients. When we understand what’s coming up on your horizon, we can be prepared ahead of time to supply the materials you’ll need.

With shortages of certain raw materials and essential components, we’re still experiencing a volatile and fragile supply chain with our manufacturers. There is a lack of flexibility right now, which forces us to tightly manage our expectations, and those of our customers. The good news is that we have a variety of resources and options available to us through the robust partnerships we’ve nurtured over the years.

Supply Chain

Q3 & Q4 orders

The more we know about what you may need, the more informed our decision-making can be. The name of the game right now is planning and forecasting – more and earlier than we’ve ever needed to before. Right now, we’re already placing orders for September and October deliveries.

With that in mind, please reach out to your RELYCO representative and make sure they know what you might need and when. We want you to have the best possible experience with us, and we really appreciate your support. As always, reach out to me at bsteinberg@relyco.com if you would like to chat.

Get to Know RELYCO – Anabela Machado, Accounting Administrative Assistant

Bela is a wonderful asset to the Accounting team (and RELYCO as a whole). Beyond her accounting skills, Bela is also trilingual, which we’re forever impressed by!

Anabela Machado is an Accounting Administrative Assistant. She started at RELYCO in April 2021 as a temporary employee, and she was hired full-time that fall. Bela is responsible for cash entries, collections and credit card receipts. Her friendly and helpful approach to communication with customers is strongly appreciated. Bela is a wonderful asset to the Accounting team (and RELYCO as a whole).

Bela is trilingual; she is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Anabela Machado
Anabela Machado, Accounting Administrative Assistant

We consider ourselves really fortunate to have a team member with such impressive language skills! It broadens our ability to connect with customers, which is really important, and something we highly value.

Her parents are originally from Portugal, and you’ll see that influence referenced in some of her answers below. Learn more about Bela in her own words:

What skills / hobbies / habits have you picked up during COVID lockdowns?
Playing cards with the family is mostly what we did. Portuguese Sueca. 

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lowell, MA.

What’s your favorite smell?
Fresh flowers. [Asked if she has a favorite flower] Lilies.

Who was the last person you texted?
Oh, that would be Donna! [she laughs]

What do you listen to in the car?
Oh, a lot of music. Mostly country music.

Describe your happy place.
That would be…home, actually.

If you could talk to your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give?
I would tell her, at that time, don’t wait to go to college when you’re forty-three years old. [she laughs when I express shock that she’s over forty-three] Yeah!

Where is/was your favorite place to visit while traveling?
That would be the Azores Islands.

What’s your favorite song to dance to?
Oh my goodness gracious. There’s a lot! I’m trying to the think the name because it’s in Portuguese. Oy. How am I going to say it in Portuguese, or should I say it in English? It’s Uma Casa Portuguesa, it’s House of Portuguese. I’ll just do it that way.

What’s your most used emoji?
It’s usually the one with the blow kisses. 😘

If you could hang out with someone (living or deceased) for the day, who would you pick?
Or deceased? Probably my grandma.

Do you have one favorite holiday tradition?
Christmas. [Asked what she does to celebrate.] With Christmas, I’m usually with my side of the family, my husband is not. He’s usually with his side of the family. Ah, so usually on the 24th we go house hunting, like to everybody’s houses and then we open presents. We’ve always done that since we were little kids. And now we’ve grown up, everybody has their own kids, we do the same thing. Then on the 25th, I just go to my parents’ house and have dinner there.

To contact Bela, send her an email at amachado@relyco.com or connect with her on LinkedIn here. To contact RELYCO, give us a call at 800.777.7359. You can also click here.