Just another Friday at ABG

It’s Friday and you know what that means… Your weekly ABG Capital recap! This week we have a good bit of things to share with you. Let us first give you an update on a few of our portfolio companies:

VoIP Innovations:

Last week while members of our Executive Team were in Orlando for the Gazelles Fortune Leadership Summit, we had two VoIP Innovations employees, Tim Linn and Joe Aponick, attend an invitation only training session with Sansay. They got to spend time with the Sansay Engineers and other engineers like themselves, from all over the country. We’re proud to say that both Tim and Joe are now Sansay Certified Technicians.


As you know, we have recently launched a brand new ABG Capital website. That’s not the only website that has seen a facelift! Inspira has been growing very quickly over the past few months and it was time for their websites to reflect that growth. So far, we’ve updated Total IRA and Pinnacle IRA. We’re planning to release a new Payday IRA website in about two weeks and their Twitter account is already up and running! You might want to take a second to go and follow them. 🙂 The main Inspira site is the next one in line to be updated and we’ll be posting more details and a completion date soon. In the meantime, you can visit them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google+.

We’d like to mention a few more company announcements before we let you go for the weekend. We’re HIRING! ABG Capital, along with all of our portfolio companies are experiencing extremely rapid growth and we need more “A Players” to add to our team. Below is a list of the positions we are looking for. If you think you might be a fit, please email your resume to our HR Manager, Sharon Kolesar, at sharonk@abgcapital.com. She’ll be able to get you more information on these positions.

  • Technical Services Representative – VoIP Innovations
  • Customer Service Representatives – InspiraFS
  • Website Designer (with a concentration in website coding) – ABG Capital
  • Java Developer – ABG Capital

Giving back to our community is something that we value very much here at ABG Capital. We’re always doing something that can benefit the organizations we support. The biggest giving back initiative that we focus on each is granting wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last year we were able to grant two wishes and this year we’re shooting for three! The current fundraising effort we have going on is selling raffle tickets for a basket full of Martini related items. Unfortunately we can’t sell tickets for this basket to everyone in the world, but if you’re interested in supporting this fantastic organization on your own, visit the Make-A-Wish website and make a donation!

ABG Capital Martini Basket

Speaking of our giving back initiatives, today is the day that we’ll be heading to the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies to volunteer. We went last year and it was such a great experience. We’ll be cleaning headstones and helping to construct the Avenue of Flags in preparation for their Memorial Day services. Stay tuned for pictures of the day. We’ll be posting them on our Facebook page later today.

Next week, you can expect to see some great blog posts showing up on the ABG Capital blog. The first will be on how Big Data can help to improve the customer experience and the second will be on choosing the best health plan for your employees. If you don’t want to miss these great posts, then simply enter your email in the subscribe box and you’ll get them delivered right to your inbox!

That’s all we have for you this week, we hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!

Just another Friday at ABG

Welcome back to this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital! Today we want to share some things that were announced in our month end company meeting. But first, we want to once again give a huge thank you to Sara Warhold, our Office Administrator, since Wednesday was Administrative Assistant Day! Sara is a fantastic employee and makes our office run smoothly. Thank you for all that you do for us, Sara! If you missed this holiday and didn’t get to thank your Administrative Assistant, then stop what you’re doing and go thank them right now! We all know that they are one of The Most Important Assets You Have!

As for our Month End Meeting Announcements, we’d like to congratulate the following people on their dedication and passion for their jobs and for ABG Capital.

ABG Capital Employee of the Month

Joe Aponick and Sharon Kolesar!

  • March Employee of the Month – Joe Aponick
  • April Spotlight of the Month – Denise Breide
  • March Honorable Mention – The VoIP Innovations Team

Also in today’s meeting we had to congratulate our Lead Systems Engineer, Tim Linn, on qualifying to be a member of Mensa! In January he took their “at home” practice test and scored pretty well. After reviewing his score, Mensa suggested that he should take the actual admissions exam to see whether or not he is eligible for membership. In mid-March he took the test and was notified that his score qualified him to become an official Mensa member. This is a fantastic achievement and we’re happy to spread the great news about one of our ABG Capital employees! Congrats, Tim!

We also want to take a minute to recognize and share the message of another employee. Jessica Young is planning to participate in the MS-150 Bike Ride in June to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The route is a 150 mile trip from Pittsburgh to Lake Erie and she is hoping to raise $500 for the National MS Society through generous contributions from friends and family. If you’d like to help Jessica reach her goal, then please visit the National MS Society, Western Pennsylvania Chapter website and make a donation!

Since ABG Capital has been rapidly growing, we need to be on top of the rules and regulations for employers and employees. We just recently exceeded 50 employees and one of the new things we need to get familiar with is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A few members of our executive team attended an all-day training workshop yesterday to learn the ins and outs of FMLA so we can be the best resource for our employees if they have questions about it.

That wraps up this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capita! We’re glad you got to stop by and read about the great things happening in our office. Make sure to check back next week for another great post.

Just another Friday at ABG

We should have really changed the name to Just another Thursday at ABG Capital for this week’s post! Since tomorrow is Good Friday, we realized that there are going to be numerous people out of the office, so they might miss this post. We don’t want anyone to miss this, so that’s why we decided to post it today.

As we mentioned in last week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital post, we have a few job openings that we’re still recruiting for. If you or someone you know is interested in working with us, please send your resume and cover letter to sharonk@abgcapital.com. The positions we have open right now are:

  • Technical Service Representatives
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Web Developers (please know that we’re looking for experienced candidates for this position)

In other exciting office news, WE GOT A PING PONG TABLE! The idea of getting another game for the office has been bouncing around for months. It’s gone from air hockey to foosball but we finally decided on Ping Pong. All in all, we say it’s a pretty awesome choice! Check out these pictures of the table in action!

ABG Capital Ping Pong Table

The last piece of ABG Capital news we want to share is that part of our team spent all last week at a VMware Boot Camp. Members of our IT, Engineering and Development teams attended the 10 hour-a-day sessions to learn exactly how our VMware software works. We place a high value on training and development so losing these employees for a week was something that had to happen. Understanding how to properly work with the VMware software is what will bring ABG Capital and its Portfolio Companies to the next level. In June we’ll have a second group of employees attend this Boot Camp, which means we’re going to have an office full of VMware experts!

We’re glad you made it to the Just another Friday (Thursday) at ABG Capital. We hope you have a fantastic weekend and a very happy Easter!

Just another Friday at ABG

Welcome back to another great Just another Friday at ABG Capital. This week we got a few more pieces of artwork added to our office. There are only a few more projects left to complete before the office is finished. Here are some of the projects we have coming up next: a giant collage of employee pictures, a Make-A-Wish wall (to remind everyone in the office that this is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts) and a sports wall to represent the four major sporting activities we have each year (Bowling, Kickball, Softball, Football). Below are some pictures of the new things we added to our office walls. We also want to mention that Sir Speedy has been printing and installing all of this artwork. They have been fantastic to work with and have done a great job with everything. Thank you to everyone at Sir Speedy!

ABG Capital Mission Statement

ABG Capital Portfolio Companies

ABG Capital C.O.R.E. Values

Yesterday two of our employees went out with Jeff and Jason Tapolci for their Lunch with Leadership. Chris Wallet and Jenn Williams have been with us for more than 30 days (which is usually when we have our Lunch with Leaderships), but they were just recently able to go. Both Chris and Jenn are working for Inspira and we’re happy to have them as part of the ABG Capital family!

ABG Capital Lunch with Leadership

Jeff Tapolci, Chris Wallet, Jenn Williams, Jason Tapolci

As we mentioned in last week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital post, we have a few job openings. If you or someone you know is interested in working with us then please send your resume and cover letter to sharonk@abgcapital.com. The positions we have open right now are:

  • Technical Service Representatives
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Web Developers (please know that we’re looking for experienced candidates for this position)

As we close out this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital, we’d like to get your opinion on something. We posted an article to our social media sites yesterday that talked about France making it illegal to handle work emails on mobile phones or computers after they leave the office. This may seem absurd to some of us, but it’s affecting 200,000-250,000 employees in the French workforce. What would you do if you had to abandon all forms of communication that tied you to your job once you left your office? At ABG Capital, we always need to be available for any issues that could potentially affect our customers. On the positive end of the spectrum, making this kind of ruling could help employees create a better work/life balance and reduce the number of burnt-out workers. While making it illegal to send emails after work hours might seem ludicrous, it could be the future of something that creates a healthier workforce!

What benefits and drawbacks do you see with having a ruling like this in place? Let us know in the comment section below!

We’re off to play our Annual Kickball game. Check our our Facebook page later to see pictures! Have a great weekend everyone. 🙂

Just another Friday at ABG

Happy Friday everyone! How has April been treating you? It’s been great so far for everyone here at ABG Capital. We want to start off by giving you a little recap of the blog posts we’ve featured this week. They both revolve around customers and offer great tips on what you can do at your organization to be more successful.

The first post we had was called, Does Your Business Need a VP of Customer Success? Your customers should be your primary focus. If you don’t have someone to manage that, then it might be something you want to look into! Did you realize that having a VP of Customer Success could help direct your team to a more customer centric focus? Did you know that a VP of Customer Success could also help boost sales? Well, both of those are true and there are even more benefits outlined in the post.

The second post that we had to share on the ABG Capital blog this week was, Enhancing Customer Experience Using Big Data. If you’ve never heard of big data before, just know that it is defined as data that is too large and complicated for traditional tools to capture, store and analyze. The article explains that utilizing this data can give you a better understanding of your customers, which makes your job as a business owner much easier. More importantly, it makes your customers happy and that’s ultimately what every business strives to accomplish.

Just to make a quick announcement, we are currently recruiting for the positions listed below. Our HR Manager, Sharon Kolesar, recently attended a job fair at CCAC and while, she met some great candidates, we are still searching for new employees.

  • Technical Service Representatives 
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Web Developers (please know that we’re looking for experienced candidates for this position)

If you are interested in any of these positions, please send your resume and cover letter to sharonk@abgcapital.com.

While we’re looking for new people to add to our team, we can’t forget for recognize some of our current employees! Let’s share some of the birthdays and anniversaries that we have coming up in April:

  • Birthdays
    • Rhonda Taylor-Boles – April 9th
    • Dustin Campbell – April 10th
    • Dan Ravenstahl – April 18th
    • Kimmie Rivetti – April 28th
  • Anniversaries
    • Jerry Eddy – 6 years on April 3rd
    • Mark Fleckenstein – 4 years on April 16th
    • Jennifer Williams – 1 year on April 16th
    • Nate Rupp – 6 years on April 25th

While we’re talking about celebrations, we have to announce something on behalf of one of our portfolio companies, VoIP Innovations. Today they are taking the afternoon off (their support staff will still be working) to celebrate hitting a fantastic revenue goal that has been escaping them for years. A giant ABG Capital congratulations goes out to everyone who is part of the VoIP Innovations team. You are all A players and we couldn’t be more proud to have you as part of our amazing organization. Keep up the great work!


This week we also had Brad Withers join us for the second year in a row to do a workshop with our managers. This year he focused on team building strategies and our managers had a VERY interesting day because he came ready to do all kinds of activities. Any speaker can come in and read a manual to your for 8 hours, but Brad explained the value in teaching the concepts behind the content. Our mangers built index card towers, spaghetti and marshmallow skyscrapers and they even played a little catch with noisy stuffed animals. It wasn’t the activities themselves that taught them about team building; it was the debriefing once the activities were over. There was a great deal of valuable information talked about during this workshop and we can’t wait to see how these mangers put their newly learned skills into action! Here a few pictures from the workshop.





Before we close out this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital, we wanted to let you know that next week we’ll have our annual kickball game. This is the second sporting event of the year and we can’t wait! Below are a few pictures from last year’s game.

ABG Capital Kickball Game 1

ABG Capital Kickball Game 2

ABG Capital Kickball Game 3


Just another Friday at ABG

Welcome back to a new Just another Friday at ABG Capital blog post! Today we want to recap the events from this week, go over some things you can expect to see next week and then we’ll fill you in on some company updates from our Month End Meeting.

Let’s start with the blog post we featured this week that concentrated on employee health and wellness. Did you know that active, healthier employees make more productive employees? Well, it’s true! Some employees get so caught up in staring at their computer screen for 8 hours a day that it causes them to be unhappy and it ultimately drags down morale. One way to bring those employees back to life is to institute some health and wellness initiatives. Without them, your business might begin to suffer. Check out the article because it talks about some of the major implications associated with unhealthy employees.

While we do not have a formal health and wellness program in place here at ABG Capital, we have instituted “Tend to you at 10 and 2” breaks. These breaks encourage our employees to get up from their desks twice a day and go outside to walk around, play catch, roller skate; whatever they like as long as it’s some kind of physical activity to get the blood moving!. We also recently set up a basketball hoop that employees are free to use at any time. Our company Portal is also stocked with plenty of handy health and wellness information that is always available to our employees.

Staying active at ABG Capital

Here are two great posts that we have coming up next week on the ABG Capital blog:

  • Does Your Business Need A VP Of Customer Success? – Self-centered organizations often define jobs by their internal function, but cutting-edge companies are taking their viewpoint to heart by creating roles that are truly customer-centered.
  • Enhancing Customer Experience Using Big Data – Large amounts of data generated through client interaction allow businesses of all size to gain a better understanding of their customers. Amazon’s “suggestions” are just one example of how well this can work.

Shannon Hogan, Inspira Customer Service RepNow for some important ABG Capital updates! This week was the official start day of a new Customer Service Representative for Inspira and her name is Shannon Hogan. Welcome to the team, Shannon!

While we’re on the topic of new employees, Justin Sparks celebrated his 30 day milestone and had his Lunch with Leadership with Jeff and Jason Tapolci at the Rivers Club!

ABG Capital Lunch with Leadership

Here are a few announcements from our Month End Meeting:

  • February Employee of the Month – Collin Ballantine
  • February Honorable Mention – The Inspira Call Center
  • March Spotlight of the Month – Tyler Weimerskirch
  • Events coming up:
    • Our Annual Kickball Game will be held on April 11th
    • Our Annual Volunteering event at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies will be held on May 23rd.

We also want to mention that we had a great time with the students from the Entrepreneurship Program at Canon Mac High School today. They visited our office last year and we’re so happy they returned again this year! Here are a few pictures from their visit:

Canon Mac Visits ABG Capital

Canon Mac Visits ABG Capital

We even brought out the Cruisin’ Cooler for them!

Thanks for stopping by for another great Just another Friday at ABG Capital blog post. We hope to have you back again next week!

Just another Friday at ABG

Today we’re having our St. Patrick’s Day festivities! Every Friday we have a delicious lunch that’s provided by ABG Capital and then once a month we have different lunch committees put together the lunches instead. On holidays we usually have an awesome Pot Luck Luncheon that gives everyone the chance to bring in their signature dishes. Here are some pictures from today.

St Patty's Day at ABG Capital

Yummy homemade hummus from Sally!

St Patty's Day at ABG Capital

Paul is so excited!













St Patty's Day at ABG Capital

Delicious grape salad from Trichelle!

St Patty's Day at ABG Capital

There’s some Karate chopping happening at the chip table!














Have you stopped drooling over all of our delicious food yet? Good! Now let’s talk about what’s been going on with the ABG Capital blog this week. We featured a guest post that highlighted the importance of keeping employees educated. Sometimes employees start to get bored and unmotivated in their jobs and it’s a good idea to look into education programs to get them excited again. At ABG Capital, we offer quarterly Lunch & Learn programs as well as various other training workshops throughout the year.

Next week we’ll talk a little more about employees and their retirement plans. This sounds like something that Inspira would be interested in reading! The whole article is going to focus on how offering excellent retirement plans actually encourages employee loyalty and productivity.

If you’re worried about missing this blog post, or any other ABG Capital news from the blog, please enter your email and subscribe! By doing this you’ll be sure to get an email every time we have a blog post to share with you. The subscribe button is right at the top of our blog, you can’t miss it!

Now that our blog post has come to an end, I want to wish everyone a safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day! May your weekend be filled with pots of gold and happy leprechauns!

Just another Friday at ABG

ABG Capital has had another busy week! We had a great blog post, hired another new employee, put our managers through a training webinar and added some more fantastic artwork to our walls. Let’s start by talking about the blog post we had this week and the one that you can expect to see next week.

The blog post we featured this week explored the benefits of using Customer Development to help shape your business. There are four parts to Customer Development that an entrepreneur must consider if they want to ensure their business will fit the needs of the market. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, then this article is for you!

Next week on the blog, we’ll explore the benefits of employee education and online degrees. Having employees that are well trained and eager to learn is a key recipe for remaining successful in your industry. For example, ABG Capital offers various Lunch and Learn workshops throughout the year that help to grow employees personally and professionally. Just this week all ABG Capital managers were invited invited to join a webinar that focused on managing and motivating the 7 most challenging employee types.

Chris Wallet, ABG CapitalIn other big news, we’ve hired another great Customer Service Representative for Inspira named Chris Wallet. Chris actually started a few weeks ago as a temp to fill in for an employee who was out due to an injury. Chris fits right in, and since we saw a need to hire another new employee, it was a perfect match! Welcome to the ABG Capital team, Chris!

Last week we showed you some pictures of the new artwork in our office. Today, we want to share a few more pictures that are the final touches to Phase 2 of our office decoration plans. Phase 3 is under way and we’ll share pictures when we can. The first pictures below are our ABG Way Tree and the elements that make up the ABG Way. We still have some additions to make to the tree, but it’s getting close to being complete.

Just another Friday at ABG Capital


Just another Friday at ABG CapitalJust another Friday at ABG Capital

We want to give a huge shout out to Trophy Works for creating these beautiful awards for us. Our front lobby looks amazing!

Just another Friday at ABG Capital


Just another Friday at ABG Capital


Before we end this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital post, we want to share a few updates from our February Month End Meeting (we know it’s a little late, but we had to reschedule it the first time!).

  • Employee of the Month: Collin Ballantine
  • Honorable Mentions: The Inspira Call Center
  • Spotlight of the Month: Tyler Weimerskirch
  • Upcoming Events:
    • Kickball in April
    • Cleaning Headstones at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies May
    • We raised over $300 selling flowers for Valentine’s Day! These proceeds will go towards out Make-A-Wish fund.

Thanks for checking in with ABG Capital this week! We hope everyone enjoys their weekend. 🙂

Just another Friday at ABG

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in the person’s determination,”

-Tommy Lasorda.

What a great quote to start off with for this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital post! While we’re on the topic of determination, let’s bring up the post we shared this week: Business Development by Numbers. Setting a large goal is easy, but the path to reaching it is hard. If you have the determination to reach it though, you’ll do everything you can to make it happen. One simple way to make the goal easily reachable, is to break it up into smaller goals. The blog post goes into much more depth about how having weekly or monthly tasks is better than having one, giant yearly goal hanging over your head.

Next week on our blog we’ll be posting an article called, Develop Your Business Using Customer Development. Customer Development is a framework for discovering and validating your idea in the marketplace, building products that will truly solve a need, determining the best ways to get customers, and creating an organization with sufficient resources to scale the business.

In other ABG Capital news, this week Ron Eggert (President) and Jeff Tapolci (CEO) traveled to Nicaragua with other members from PghSE Organization that they are a part of. We haven’t been able to have much contact with them, but Jeff has been interacting on our social media sites so we take it they’re safe and sound. We look forward to having them both back in the office next week!

Over the past few months we’ve been working to revamp our office and make it feel more like a home. The construction part of this process has been completed for a few months now, but we’re continuing to add some ABG Capital flare to the office. As of yesterday, we’re officially moving on to Phase 3. The first phase was when we added the Tree, Timeline, and 12 Chimes of Life Clock to the walls. Part of that phase also included a custom wall for VoIP Innovations where they can display their annual goals along with themed cardboard cutouts of their mascot, The VI Guy.

Phase 2 consisted of some finishing touches to Phase 1, including title banners for the Tree and 12 Chime of Life Clock. We also added banners for our Employee of the Month and Gerard F. Tapolci awards. The banners weren’t the only thing we added to the tree; our C.O.R.E. Values were added to the signs that rest underneath the tree and the elements that make up the ABG Way are also represented on the wall. Part of the ABG Way is our Business Philosophy, which is An American’s Creed written by Dean Alfange. This was given its own wall and was designed beautifully. The two final pieces to Phase 2 include a 6.5ft x 6.5ft ABG Capital logo that will be the center focus on our Awards Wall (coming as part of Phase 3) and an 18ft x 3ft logo for Inspira to mark their new space.

We already have our plans ready for Phase 3 and the next step is to start designing everything. We’ll be tackling some final elements of Phase 2 and adding things to our Call Center and the multi-purpose room. We also have plans to create a collage that will take up the wall across from our vending machines. There are a few more parts to Phase 3, but we can’t give away all the details today!

New ABG Capital Office Art 1

New ABG Capital Office Art 2

New ABG Capital Office Art 3

New ABG Capital Office Art 4

New ABG Capital Office Art 5

Our Business Philosophy – An American’s Creed

New ABG Capital Office Art 6

One of our C.O.R.E. Values

Just another Friday at ABG

ABG Capital would like to wish everyone a very happy Friday! Later today we’ll all be heading to Latitude 40 to do some bowling. Employees from VoIP Innovations, Inspira and GlobalPOPs will be joining us as well. Not to worry though, we’ll still have a few people in the office for each company who will be assisting customers on any and all support issues. We’ll be taking pictures and Vine videos the whole time so make sure to check our social media sites to see everything!

ABG Capital 2013 Bowling

Now let’s take a look back on our week… We featured an awesome blog post that highlighted some of the reasons why it’s important to understand that all employees are representatives of your brand. If a customer is on the phone with a Customer Service Rep and that Rep is rude or unknowledgeable, then that customer might consider taking their business elsewhere. On the other hand, if that employee is pleasant and well-versed in the company and its products, then the customer is at ease and is more likely to tell others about how awesome your company is. If ALL of your employees can’t sell your company to current or potential customers, then you might run into some problems down the line!

This week one of our newer employees, Yvonne Iwanejko, attended her Lunch with Leadership. This is something that ABG Capital does with every employees on their 30 day mark. Jeff and Jason Tapolci make it a priority to get to know their employees and this is a fantastic way to do it!

If you check back into the ABG Capital blog next week, you’ll find a great article on business development; primarily how to make the large goals and numbers seem not so bad. If you’re worried that you might miss this post, you always have the option to subscribe! Once you do this, you’ll get an email from ABG Capital ONLY when a new blog post is published. It’s really a great way to keep up to date with our posts.

Have a great weekend everyone!