Our month of Aprilaire history continues with a look at the impact women have had on the company since the very beginning.
Bertha Weisman was one of the founding members of the Research Products Corporation (Aprilaire’s parent company) back in 1938. She was the lone woman in the five-person group that started the company. In addition to her role as a founder, she served as Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.
The presence of women in leadership roles continues to this day at Aprilaire. Melinda Nelson is Manager of the Customer Service Department and the Call Center. She’s been with the company for 17 years total, and in her current role for nearly 14 years.
Customer Service employs the largest number of people at Aprilaire, and Melinda has more employees reporting directly to her than anyone. We’re thrilled to have her as such an integral part of our team, and we wanted to learn more about her and her experience at Aprilaire. Here’s what she had to say:
What’s your favorite part of working at Aprilaire?
I love the people and the culture. We hire and retain great people, and we’re not afraid to try new things here. Aprilaire is a great combination of a conservative company with a proven product, and a leadership team that’s not afraid to make changes that will make us better. That happens at every level, and it really makes this a great place to work.
How has your role changed since starting at Aprilaire 17 years ago?
I started out in the Call Center working with customers. I saw how we could be more efficient with the process and so I pitched the idea of streamlining the way we handled different areas of the job. That gave me an opportunity to go from working in the Call Center to being able to manage the workflow and the people within it. I had a great opportunity to change and evolve how we do customer service here. I still get excited about the work I do every day.
How have things changed at Aprilaire since you started?
Both the industry and our company have grown greatly since I started. And along with that, the way we take care of our customers has evolved as well. We’re always looking for ways to be better, whether it’s our products, our process, or working with our customers.
A great example of the willingness to improve here is how we process our warranties. We had a paper-based system for a long time and I had been hearing from customers about how long it was taking. So I suggested that we take the process online. And the type of company Aprilaire is, I was fully supported in making the change because it made our customer experience better.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your work?
Just how much our customers value our team. Our customer service is the best in the industry and we have such a connection to our customers. What makes it all go is that the organization supports it. Really, they not only support it but they fully embrace it.
Another thing I’m really proud of is that within our Call Center, the average tenure is seven years. That’s unheard of. People who work in this department learn so much about our products and some of them end up moving onto other departments. I love to see them grow. I’m a people grower! I love to watch them advance in their careers and when they stay within the company here that’s even better.
What type of work culture have you experienced at Aprilaire?
It’s a great environment here. I feel so valued by my boss, and I know my team is valued by everyone here. I don’t think you can say that about every company. And I really do get excited about coming to work every day. I think that says something.