Just another Friday at ABG

Happy Friday and welcome to this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital! I want to start this week’s updates by talking about some blog posts we have coming up next week. The first one will be all about small business and the different health care options that are available for them. You should never have to feel like your small business isn’t capable of competing with the big guys so by providing a great health insurance plan, you are on your way to playing at their level.

Up next we have a post on whether or not you should be sending your employees to an online university. Starbucks is one of the companies that is talked about this post since they offer students free tuition at an online university. Make sure to check this article out so you can see if this is something your company should be looking into.

In other exciting news for the week, one of our portfolio companies, Inspira, has launched a brand new website. Inspira has a few other sites (such as Payday IRA, Pinnacle IRA, and Total IRA) that have already undergone and complete transformation. The main Inspira site was the last one and believe us when we tell you that it looks AMAZING! You should take a look for yourselves and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Now it’s time to chat about week 6 of our ABG Capital Biggest Losers Challenge! The mini challenge for this week was to track your Non-Scale Victories (NSV). The number that shows up on the scale isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. Some examples of NSVs are walking further without getting out of breath, wearing a pair of jeans you haven’t been able to in a while, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol or even more energy. If you’ve been doing your own challenge at home, what NSVs have you noticed?

Here’s a great exercise and recipe that were provided to us by Sara Warhold, the fantastic person who’s been running the challenge and motivating everyone to do their best. For the exercise you will need an exercise mat, a set of dumbbells or hand weights, and a timer. 30 minutes is needed for beginners and 45 minutes will be needed for those who are more advanced.

Warm up:

Breathing exercise – lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Place a hand over your lower abdomen. Take a very deep breath in, filling your lower belly with air and NOT moving your chest or shoulders. The point is to get the breath in deep, not shallow. Do not breath with your shoulders or shrug them. Feel your stomach rise and fall. Take 10 deep breaths here.

Crawling – Repeat 5 to 10 times – On hands and knees, crawl forward 5 times and backwards 5 times. If you can, do this on your hands and feet with your knees up off the ground. Keep your hips low, don’t rock side to side.

Pogo Jumps – For 30 seconds jump in place using the momentum from the ankle, not the knee. Add some air for the last 10 seconds if you can. Beginners – march or jog


Alternate 45 seconds on/15 seconds recover for advanced and 30 seconds on/20 seconds recover for beginner

Exercise 1:

Hard Plank – Plank position, engaged core muscles, “push the ground away” and create space in your armpits, hips neutral

Exercise 2:

Crossover Squat – This is also called a “Curtsey Squat” but Crossover Squat sounds cooler. Stand with feet hips width apart, check that your toes are facing forward. Put your left foot behind you, and across the center line of your body and sink down into the squat, aiming to get your knee just a couple inches from the ground. Push back up to parallel feet. Alternate with the other leg. Advanced: Hold a dumb bell in your hands at chest level. Beginner – Either eliminate weight, or eliminate the crossover and just do a split squat.

Exercise 3:

Rows – Holding a dumbbell in each hand, tip from the hip with a natural bend in your knees. Let the weights hang straight toward the floor without pulling your shoulders down (engaged your shoulder blades to keep them neutral, not hunched). Pull your belly up and in, engage that core. Row UP with the weights, pulling your shoulder blades in towards your spine, then lower the weights down again using resistance not gravity. Repeat.

Exercise 4:

High Knees – Jog in place as fast as you can while pulling your knee up as high as you can. This is tougher than it sounds. Use the first 10 seconds of your interval to “warm up” into it before hitting the high knee. Beginners – Jog but eliminate the high knee

*Cool down with some side-to-side stepping then STRETCH!

*Drink water throughout this workout, stay hydrated!

Sesame and Garlic Flank Steak with Grilled Asparagus

Makes 6 Servings

Prep time: 10 minutes plus 4 hour marinate and 15 minute cook time


2   large cloves garlic, finely chopped

2   pinches salt plus additional for seasoning

1 1/2 tablespoons honeyABG Capital Biggest Losers Recipe

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 1/4 pounds lean flank steak, patted dry

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound asparagus, trimmed


1. Using the flat side of a knife or a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic and pinch of salt until the mixture forms a paste; transfer to a small bowl. Mix in the honey, lemon juice and soy sauce; slowly whisk in 1 teaspoon oil.

2. Place the steak in a shallow dish or bowl. Pour the marinade over steak and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

3. Heat the grill to high. Remove steak from marinade and season lightly with salt and black pepper. Transfer to grill; close the cover and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes a side for medium rare. Let meat rest on a cutting board 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, toss the asparagus with remaining oil and sprinkle with pinch of salt. Place in a grill basket; close cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes a side, until tender. Slice meat thinly and serve with asparagus.

Thanks for reading this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital!

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

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

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!

Just another Friday at ABG

Happy Friday! We’re hoping everyone had a fantastic week. We’ve been keeping busy here at ABG Capital with visitors and planning sessions and conferences all week. Let’s tell you a little more about all this.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, GlobalPOPs held their annual planning session in our new conference room and on Thursday and Friday VoIP Innovations held theirs.These sessions are designed to create a yearly and quarterly plan for the companies so they can stay ahead of their competition and continue pleasing their customers. Here are some pictures of the two planning sessions:

ABG Capital Annual Planning

The GlobalPOPs Team

ABG Capital Strategic Planning 2

The VoIP Innovations Team

On top of all the strategic planning that was going on this week, InspiraFS had a few visitors in the office this week too. They were just in time because our build-out project is almost complete! There are only a few small final touches that need to be finished up, include the wall designs that we have being printed right now. We’re looking forward to showing off the office in two weeks for the big unveiling at our Open House.

This week our HR Manager, Sharon Kolesar, spent a few days out of the office at the Pittsburgh Human Resources Associations (PHRA) 2013 Annual Conference and Exposition. This year was their 65th anniversary and they celebrated by hosting another fantastic HR convention. Some of the topics they covered were creating an inclusive culture, healthcare, decreasing stress, analytic tools that can help any HR professional, and even health and wellness topics.

The last thing we need to mention is that it’s that time of the year when our Executive Team will be heading out of the office for the second Gazelles summit of the year. The first summit they attended this year was in Orlando and focused on growing leadership within the organization. This summit is in Las Vegas and will be centered around growing the entire organization. The members of the Executive Team who will be attending are Jeff Tapolci, Jason Tapolci, Ron Eggert, Dan Ravenstahl, Sebastian Kiely, Pete Littlejohn, Nick Medina and Corey Potts. We can’t wait to see what this summit has in store for everyone at ABG Capital!

We hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

Just another Friday at ABG

Welcome back to your Just another Friday at ABG Capital! You can really tell that it’s summer around the office because we don’t have that much going right now. Things are moving along nice and smooth, people are taking vacations and most important of all, our build-out is moving along.

Earlier this week Jeff Tapolci, CEO of ABG Capital, and Ron Eggert, President of ABG Capital, spent the day in Cleveland, Ohio at McNeil Industries. They met Jim Hoffman, their strategic coach, and Justin McNeil of McNeil Industries. They got to tour their facility while getting some great coaching tips from Jim. These guys are a close knit group of professionals who always manage to have an enjoyable time with each other while gaining new insight into the way they run their businesses. The last time they all got together was in May; click here to read all about the fun they had!

McNiel Industries Cleveland

 Now I’d talk a little bit about the office build-out project we started in April. We need to expand our office due to the rapid growth of VoIP Innovations and Inspira. We’re constructing a new (bigger) kitchen, a new (bigger) training room and new (bigger) call centers. Unfortunately due to the landlord not getting electric and plumbing permits until late last week, the project has been slightly pushed back.

Phase one should have been completed by now, but because of the later permits, the builder decided to skip Phases three and four. Phase three has been completely finished, but Phase 4 has been only partially completed. Despite the minor set backs, we’re anticipating that we’ll be fully operational by the end of August!

Well, that’s all we have for today. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!



ABG Capital Volunteers at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

Happy Monday! As you remember from our Just another Friday at ABG post last week, we mentioned that some people in the ABG Capital office were taking a half day to go do some volunteer work. That volunteer work took place at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies where we were equipped with buckets of waters and sponges to clean thousands of headstones. Our mission was to help the cemetery prepare for their Memorial Day celebrations next weekend. We had a gorgeous sunny day on our side and we were able to get through all the headstones we needed to.

This is the second year ABG Capital has volunteered at the cemetery and we hope to do it again next year because it’s such a rewarding experience. We were even approached by some veterans who wanted to offer their thanks to US! If you’d like to see pictures from our day, please visit our Facebook page.

ABG Capital CEO and Veterans

Jeff Tapolci and Veterans

The National Cemetery of the Alleghenies is a national cemetery that serves as the final resting place for thousands of veterans and their families. The cemetery lies on 292 acres and is a beautiful place that is well taken care of by a staff of no more than 20. If you are interested in being a part of the volunteer program at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, please contact their office for more information.

Just another Friday at ABG Capital

What a beautiful Friday we are having in Pittsburgh! It’s also been a great week for us at ABG Capital as well. We started off the week with our Quarterly Board Meeting and our Annual Shareholders meeting. Our board members are Jeff Tapolci, John Nemcek, Santo Laquatra, Jason Tapolci, Dan Ravenstahl, and our shareholders are Jeff, Jason, Dan, and Adam Scott. During this meeting the top executives issued a state of the union for their respective companies as well as a status report, and they reviewed the 1st Quarter to ensure everything was going according to plan. Their ultimate purpose is to serve as an entity that establishes accountability and offers problem solving guidance to ABG and its portfolio companies.   They closed these meetings by having a relaxing dinner with a few drinks and cigars at Cadillac Ranch. If you want to read more about how their ‘after meeting’ went, check out our newest blog series called Around Town with Jeff. This series follows the ABG Capital CEO, Jeff Tapolci, as he makes his way to many different events around Pittsburgh each week.

This week was also an exciting time for Inspira! Lowell Smith, Ron Eggert, Jeff Linkowski, Joe Golubski, and Pete Littlejohn all attended the 2013 NIPA Annual Forum and Expo in Las Vegas. Jeff even did an educational presentation where he discussed how TPA’s Record-keepers and Advisors can provide a valuable service to their clients by educating them on the benefits of mandatory distribution and helping them set up a routine process for sweeping out small accounts. Jeff did an awesome job with his presentation!

Dan - ABG Capital

Dan Ravenstahl… The lucky winner!

Next we have to mention our Cinco de Mayo celebrations. First, we had a fantastic pot-luck lunch where we had everything from tacos, walking-tacos, dips, chips, and toppings galore! It was by far one of the best lunches we’ve had! After lunch we moved on to pulling the winner of our Cinco de Mayo basket filled with all of the necessary things for a celebration. The winner was Dan Ravenstahl and he was such a great winner because he shared his winnings with the staff! We can’t forget to mention the most important part of the basket raffle. As you’re probably aware, we place a high value on our giving back initiatives and the Make-A-Wish Foundation is an organization that we do most of our fundraisers for. After all of the ticket money was calculated  we ended up raising $650 for Make-A-Wish! It’s always a great feeling to give back to well-deserved organizations.

That wraps up this week’s Just another Friday at ABG Capital. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend 🙂