June 2019 | Directors Corner
Director of Administration
What is your background and career path at Heidelberg?
I have been with the company nearly 30 years, starting out at Ohio Valley Wine & Beer as an executive assistant. During the first nine years at OV I handled legal compliance, costing and pricing and was then promoted to Office Manager. I was in that role just a few months when I was recruited to take the position of Office Manager in Dayton. I have been Corporate Director of Administration for about two-and-a-half years, overseeing administration Associates at all Heidelberg facilities.
What are your job responsibilities and priorities?
With the promotion of Tyler McKinleyin Dayton to Administration Manager in the fall of 2018, my focus changed. I am now focusing most of my time on the company’s benefits, wellness programs, and the accounting team while continuing to guide the administration teams across the company for excellent service and efficiencies. Other projects are more stream-lined processes for Account Payable and Accounts Receivables (corporately) and developing those teams.
Any recent accomplishments or notable projects from you or your team?
The Accounts Payable team is in place and with the June conversion in Cincinnati to the Auto Posting Accounting process, we will be re-aligning the AP team on a supplier basis to align with the Supply Chain Team. This will allow for more streamlined communication and efficiencies. The team is also very happy with the results of moving Nick Padgettinto a corporate role of AP profit controller, affording him the higher level of monitoring our margins in all warehouses.
Who do you interact with on a regular basis – suppliers, retailers, management, HDC “wheel” teams?
I interact in person and electronically with all departments and Associates as well as helping to interact with customers and suppliers for maintaining great service, both internal and external.
What alcohol beverage trends are you seeing?
Being with the company for some time, I have seen a lot of trends. The most notable lately is that customers seem comfortable trying new products and being able to enjoy what appeals to them. The education opportunities for all consumers are much more prevalent than in the past and people are taking advantage of them to learn more about our products!
How has the business and/or company changed since you joined Heidelberg?
Today we see a much more cohesive management and corporate structure. This helps the customers, suppliers and Associates. As we continue to grow we can take advantage of the skills that are across the company instead of just the local house. The best Associate to help or develop a fantastic idea may be located across the state and with our new technology they seem like they are right there with you!
Director of First Impressions in Dayton, Corporate Trainer
If you haven’t met Gina Benton yet, it’s only a matter of time before she will touch your world to share her lessons and philosophy in customer service.
Owner and operator of Divine Touch Massage in Englewood, Ohio for 20 years, Gina began working at Heidelberg Dayton in 2013 as an administrative assistant. Her responsibilities included (among other duties) sending, receiving and distributing mail, FedEx, UPS and USPS; handing bill-backs; ordering office supplies; maintaining sample invoices; reserving conference rooms; and most importantly attending to guests with a warm, welcoming and friendly demeanor. In just under 90 days she became Heidelberg’s first “Employee of the Month”!
Within a year or so, Director of Administration Jenny Lockardmentioned to Chief Financial Officer Tom Rousethat she was going to have her administrative team take customer service training classes. He replied “Everyone but Gina — she should teach them!” Then GM Steve Lowreysaid that during his 40 years at the company he had not seen anyone so consistent with great customer service and that the company had received more phone calls, emails and conversations about her outstanding performance than he “knew what to do with.” (Tom and Steve both are now retired.)
So that sealed the deal! After Gina was appointed Corporate Trainer it dawned on her that there wasn’t a template but that she had been given full reign on the project. “I woke up around 3 a.m. in a panic,” says Gina, “thinking OH MY GOSH WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” But she remembered hearing the managers say to just take what she was doing in Dayton and apply it to other facilities. The directive was to start with the administration teams and when feasible move to various other teams. In January 2018 she began her “Heidelberg tour” around Ohio and Kentucky with a presentation called “The 5 Senses of Customer Service” and one-on-one visits with team members. Later in the Fall a follow-up visit was made to assess the results of the training and to encourage the Customer Service initiative. To date, Gina has visited all nine Heidelberg facilities three times while continuing her position as Dayton’s Director of First Impressions.
In addition to creating and executing the format of the program, Gina gives participants quizzes for prizes and certificates. She follows up with reminder e-messages and notes of thanks and encouragement. There also will be a survey sent to all attendees so Gina can continue to improve the program.
Gina is multi-talented outside the office as you know if you’ve heard her sing the National Anthem for the All Hands On Deck and the annual 5K Run in Dayton. She loves spending time with family, volunteering for community events (clothing drive, food pantry, community days etc.) and attending Bible study and Ladies Day at Residence Park Church of Christ. Boxing is her favorite work-out and she also loves to travel (near and far).
She is proud of her three adult children: Erik, 28, a Project Engineer in Long Beach California; Henry, 27, a Counseling Psychologist for children with Autism in Nashville who has recently been accepted into a PhD program at Tennessee State; and Erin, 26, a graduate of Tuskegee University currently working as a licensed cosmetologist and Co-Owner/Operator of Truth Hair Salon in Dayton (she also is pursuing a Master’s Degree in accounting).
Gina also is the primary caregiver for her terminally ill Dad (Gene James) and says she is grateful for all the love, encouragement and support from so many people, including her Heidelberg family. “I truly believe it’s the light of the Lord and my gratitude for His blessings that others experience in their encounters with me,” says Gina.