Monthly Employee Highlight: Andrew Spitzer
Meet Andrew Spitzer
"Trust and friendship" were the two words that came immediately out of Andrew's mouth to my question asking about the foundation of effective teamwork. "Transparency is a must to function as a team. There is no individual that can beat a team that is trusting and cooperative." During our interview, a situation occurred with which an immediate response was needed (Unexpectedness is the very nature of any emergency). Being the point of contact person for the client, Andrew, without a hitch, promptly contacted his colleagues on site and updated everyone with the new information. It took 10 minutes max to witness how Andrew, with his outstanding communication skills and knowledge, transformed a customer's reasonable concern into relief and confidence. "You can't be like standing water to work well in this role. You have no choice but consistently learn and hone your skills. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is hard, but it is not too hard when you are surrounded by colleagues who are like-minded."
Interview by Abigail Chung
Part 1: Andrew at ARS/GEM
Briefly introduce yourself I am a project manager based in Toronto. I have been with the company for over two years now. I have been in the restoration field for over 13 years. Before, I worked in sales but always admired working in the property restoration field. I enjoy my job and I am happy I found a job at ARS. What are some unique parts of your role at ARS? It should be related to acquiring and applying a good working knowledge of the various services we perform at ARS. It is crucial to keep myself up to date with the latest knowledge of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Only then, I can ensure to make the correct decisions on how to provide the best service to my clients. How do you see the value of teamwork in your everyday work? It is neither an overstatement nor a false humility that I can do my job effectively because of everyone from the top management down to the members of my immediate team (my coordinator and my project manager assistant). I rely on their support daily and we can achieve success greater than our own expectations together. All my colleagues and I always share information and advice on various issues transparently and that provides me with enormous benefits. What are your favourite parts of your role and why? First, I like the fact that because I am on the forefront side (being the point of contact person for my clients), I get to have a one-on-one conversation with them. When my clients contact me, most of them are upset because of an inconvenient, possibly quite dangerous emergency situation that has just happened to them. This is totally understandable. I get to hear their story and guide them with detailed information on how my team and I can bring their damaged property back to how it was before or even better pre-loss. When they hear that, I can almost vividly vision their anxiety melting down and turning into peace and confidence. That is very rewarding. When you are in trouble of which you cannot figure out a way out on your own, it means the world that there is someone who is profoundly knowledgeable and trustworthy that will take care of your issue. Second, in my job, everything is different. There are no two incidents that are identical: Just like how we are all different, every crisis we deal with uniquely differs from each other. You always need to keep yourself on your toes, with tons of learning on the job each day. It can get stressful sometimes. If you appreciate learning and are open to challenges, however, everything you go through would end up very rewarding in the end. Since you joined the company, what are some of the things you found about the company that you didn't expect? It is the pride that everyone in the company takes in the "Brand". The company's vision of providing exceeding services with the highest level of integrity is widely shared by the employees. In addition, I appreciate the fact the company cares about the safety and well-being of the employees as much as it cares about those of the clients'. I joined the company when the threat of Covid was still high. I was pleasantly blown away to see how the company goes the extra mile to ensure everyone's safety. Right away, I knew that I was in good hands.
Part 2: Andrew's Philosophy
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why? I have a couple. 1) "There are no problems, just solutions." I have been saying this to everyone for years. It implies the power of having a positive perspective and attitude when finding unique, creative solutions to various issues we encounter daily. 2) This is my favourite quote from Nelson Mandela: "I never lose. I either win or learn." What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore? Be willing to get your hands dirty. It is your action by which you lead other people, not your words. You may need to start at the bottom: Don't worry, that's not your final destination. Treat everyone with respect and kindness. Find your true gift and vision and express it to others, including your superiors, with confidence and humility. Do you have a "favourite" failure of yours? I don't have any because all my failures have been valuable lessons. Going back to Nelson Mandela's quote, we only win or learn.
Part 3: More about Andrew
All-time favourite movie? I really enjoyed the original Top Gun movie that came out in 1986 which I watched several times. The movie had great music, action, and real jets flight scenes. I haven't watched the second one that came out last year, but would love to watch it soon! Your favourite ice cream flavour? I prefer frozen yogurt. My favourite would be Strawberry, Mango, and Banana. Is there a random talent you'd like to have?: I only speak one language, English, and I wish I could speak another language or two. I have the highest respect for those who speak more than one language because it is not easy! Who wants to teach me Spanish or French? All-time favourite food item(s)? For the last 3+ years, I have been eating pescatarian (vegetables and fish only). I love Salmon, Sushi, Chinese, Thai, and Mexican food but that does not mean that I am not open to new cuisine. I love trying international food as they are full of authentic history and culture.