Best Life Podcast | Altra Federal Credit Union
Best Life Podcast | Altra Federal Credit Union
Episode 5: Rose Capital of America - Tyler, Texas
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June is National Rose Month and we are learning more about Altra in the Rose Capital of America, Tyler, TX! Tony speaks with Brian Selph, Retail Market President; Esmeralda Molina, Retail Market Manager; Justin Davenport, Office Manager – South Broadway; and Daisy Phillips, Community Engagement Coordinator. We learn more about a couple of building projects, the services and technology you can find at our Tyler area offices, and how the Rose Capital of America is doing as we are starting to come out of the pandemic.

Transcript

(Tony)

Hello and welcome to the Best Life Podcast where we here at Altra are helping you live your best life. I’m Tony Beyer and we’re so happy you’re joining us because we’ve got a packed show for you today…and did you know that June is National Rose Month?…And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than by talking about the Rose Capital of America, that’s right, I’m talking about Tyler, Texas.

With two new buildings going up, many events starting up again, and the technology and services to assist our members, The pride of East Texas is certainly blooming with a lot going on for Altra inTyler. In a moment we’ll talk to Retail Market President Brian Selph and also two of our office managers in Tyler Esmeralda Molina, and Justin Davenport, but first we’ll speak with Daisy Phillips, she is our Community Engagement Coordinator in Tyler, welcome to the podcast Daisy.

(Daisy)

Thank you so much for having me Tony.

(Tony)

Absolutely! Well Daisy at the top of the show we mentioned some of the many things that are going on for Altra in Tyler. I know Altra sponsors a lot of events. We also wanted to highlight a couple of educational sessions coming up that Altra’s hosting at its Rose City Room at our West Loop location.

(Daisy)

Yes, Altra is so excited to be part of the community, one of the most exciting news is that we have for June is we are going to be bringing back our Cash Camps

(Tony)

Yay!

(Daisy)

Yes it’s going to be June 23rd and the 24th. We’re going to be having that here at our West Loop location off of 155 in Tyler and it’s going to be from 9:30 to 2:30. Registration is still open. We’d love to see the kiddos out here. They can actually go onto altra.org and sign up just to kind of talk a little bit about cash camps. It’s just a really great interactive two-day event. We’re going to meet with the kiddos. Go over some just money basics, budgeting, different interactive activities. They’ll definitely get a lot out of it, and we’re excited to bring it back.

 

(Tony)

Yeah, it’s you know obviously weren’t able to do it last year because of the pandemic and I always enjoy doing the cash camp. It’s 8 to 10 year olds and we talk about a lot of the basics of money you know, save, share and spend. We do activities, wants versus needs, simple budgeting. We also get to look at at money and identifying counterfeit money, the kids really love that, talk about careers and we do get to play some bingo that that’s that you’ll learn. Daisy is a very is a very very popular part of the cash camp. It’s a lot of fun and not only are we doing cash camp for eight to 10 year olds were also bringing back Money Smart Camp…when’s that one again Daisy?

(Daisy)

It’s gonna be in July. It’s also a two day event. It’s gonna be July 21st and the 22nd, and that is going to be for 11 and 12 year old. So we will actually be diving in a little bit deeper, going into some more heavier topics on how to be financially responsible.

(Tony)

Yeah, so it it really expands on you know what the kids learn at Cash Camp. You know we talk about saving money, tiny tiny tiny, tiny bit about investments and also interest in how their money can grow. So we really really plant that seed for financial success and I can’t wait to come down to Tyler towards the end of July. It’s going to be like super-duper cold down there, weather wise, I’m sure.

(Daisy)

Yes, freezing! Below zero. So Tony will get to enjoy our Texas weather. Unfortunately, being from Wisconsin, he is not used to the Texas heat and humidity.

(Tony)

Not at all, not at all…and those are going to be in the Rose City room there at West Loop?

(Daisy)

Yes

(Tony)

Awesome.

(Daisy)

It’ll be here in our West Loop location.

(Tony)

That’s incredibly exciting news and I know you’re super-duper busy this summer talking about not only events we have Altra, but all the sponsorships that we’re doing, you’re going to find us all around Tyler this summer. So how have things been like compared to maybe where they were last year? You know, compared to this year, what are some of the changes? Or what are the ways in which your role was affected during the pandemic?

(Daisy)

Sure, so unfortunately, our events did come to a halt. We were taking necessary precautions in making sure that our Members as well as our employees were safe so we did have some events that we still sponsored, we still are very much involved in our community. We were so grateful to still be able to have that opportunity to donate locally. A lot of our sponsorships were able to just be kept and be a monetary donation because although those nonprofits could have their events, they still need that revenue to be able to do all the good that they do here in our East Texas Community. So we were grateful and very excited to be able to donate. Something really cool that we had done was we actually took all the money that we had saved from all of our events. Then just different departments and marketwide we each donated for in our four big markets, we each donated $25,000 each. So a total of $100,000 went out for COVID relief programs locally in East Texas, we donated $25,000 to our United Way and it went specifically to the East Texas Food Bank. Our PATH, People Attempting To Help, we have a great organization partnership with them, and then also the Salvation Army, which does such great things here in our East Texas community. So my role, although affected physically, I wasn’t out meeting with everyone, we were still able to do so much good and our employee base really pulled together and rallied around our East Texas communities.

(Tony)

That’s fantastic that Altra was able to help those organizations that can always use help, especially during a pandemic, so that’s excellent! I mentioned earlier that there are not only a bunch of events in addition to our Cash camp and our Money Smart Camps there in Tyler, there are also a couple of building projects that are happening there in the area and to update us on those we welcome in Brian Selph, he is the Retail Market President, he’s based there in Tyler and welcome to the podcast Brian.

(Brian)

Thanks for having me

(Tony)

You bet. I wanted to talk about some construction that’s going on in a couple different places there in Tyler starting with what’s going on at our office on Troup Highway, and Brian, I was hoping you could give us an update on that.

(Brian)

Sure, right now that building is probably 60% completed should be completely completed by first part of Q4, end of Q3, so we should be will be in that building hopefully by August 1st, but we will be finishing up parking lots and things like that from August 1st to the first part of October so those are the fun things going on at Troup right now, but yes, we’re looking forward to bringing some technology and adding another ATM to help with the flow and just being able to provide a lot better service to the members on that side of town.

(Tony)

Absolutely, that sounds like it’s going to be a great blend of having the people and their expertise along with the technology to be able to serve all of our members at that location on Troup Highway, and that’s great we’re able to do that, and Brian, I know that there’s exciting news coming out of Lindale just north of Tyler there as well.

(Brian)

Yeah, we just broke ground so we haven’t gotten very much accomplished there, but there will be more to come on that for sure. Our game plan is to try to have that building up completed and moved in by the end of the year so we got a lot to do between here and the end of the year to get that done. So hopefully with the weather we’ve had here in the first several months with all the rain, hopefully that will stop and will be able to get that building up and active and we look forward to being in the Lindale community a lot. We’ve been involved quite a bit there for the last couple of years with the Chamber and the school district and things like that, so we’re very excited to be able to put an office in the middle of that community and serve those people there and the existing members that are there and for new members that will be in the Lindale area, we look forward to being a part of that.

(Tony)

That’s fantastic seeing the growth and everything like that. I think it’s a testament to how Altra’s been able to service members and how it’s been able to help those in the community, especially with all of the difficulties this past year, you know with the pandemic with some unexpected construction that had to happen there at West Loop. Brian, what are some of the challenges that you and your employees faced during the pandemic, and what’s changed in the way Altra helps its members there in Tyler?

(Brian)

You know, of course, the pandemic brought challenges that nobody dealt with, so you know being just being adaptable and being able to be flexible during that time, which I feel like we did pretty well with trying to allow members access to different things at different times and being able to get in or us coming to them just to anyway we could try to make their life a little easier with trying to navigate those waters that nobody had really dealt with was challenging, but it was also enlightening to where we learned a lot of things and the members also got to learn things that maybe they weren’t aware of or anything going on. So, it was the pandemic, brought a lot of things that were different for our side and for the member side, but in the end of all that, I feel like we’re definitely coming out of that a little stronger than we were just because we have grown our knowledge of how we can help the member’s do business in different ways.

(Tony)

That’s great they were able to help out our members and it feels a little bit like we’re starting to come out of this pandemic, I mean, fingers crossed…I don’t want to jinx anything, but talking about our technology and also services at our other Altra offices, we now have on the phone Esmeralda Molina who is our Retail Market Manager in Tyler. Welcome to the podcast Esmeralda.

(Esmeralda)

Yes, thank you for having me, I’m excited to be here

(Tony)

…and we also welcome to the podcast Justin Davenport. He is the office manager at South Broadway, we appreciate you being on the podcast Justin.

(Justin)

Thank you for having me Tony

(Tony)

…and Justin. Your office has an important milestone coming up here real soon.

(Justin)

Yes, we are doing our five-year anniversary, so that’s a pretty big deal for this year because it’s our first Member Appreciation event since the pandemic has started and we finally feel comfortable enough here in Texas in order to do such an event. We’re going to have a taco truck outside and they’re going to be able to get ticket to get a Taco, which is we just haven’t seen this in a long time. We’re going to have some giveaways, and we’re going to some cookies too, so it’s not huge event, but it’s something we feel like the five-year anniversary is a great way to celebrate that.

(Tony)

That’s great, we’re able to celebrate the five year anniversary of our office on South Broadway there at the Village at Cumberland Park on July 7th and do a little something for our members as well…and talking about Altra members there in Tyler, both of your offices, Esmeralda and Justin not only have the people in place to help our members, but the technology for our members to take control and customize their experience with Altra, and I know both of you have smart ATMs at your offices where members can make transactions outside of the building at any time, which is great, so how has that been Esmeralda, especially early on during COVID for our members using it at our West Loop location?

(Esmeralda)

With these machines during COVID when everything was really shut down, it really allowed our members to be able to come in through our drive through and make their deposits or their withdrawals or their loan payments through the smart machine instead of having to come inside, and even once we open the offices there was a lot of members that were still pretty afraid to come into buildings or just be, you know, exposed to the general public, so they really appreciated that we have that technology available.

(Tony)

Those next generation machines you know our SAM-E’s members can withdraw money, they can deposit money, they can make payments, they could do so many things, and Justin, you and I were talking off air right before this show about a common question members have, or I guess it’s more of a concern, about the smart ATM’s, tell us a little more about that.

(Justin)

Yeah, one of the biggest misconceptions that I hear in the office, especially regarding the next Gen ATM, is the fact that you’re taking away jobs, or you know, you’re taking away tellers, things like that, but we actually added a lot of jobs when we added those. We have a lot of back-office personnel that have those. It really gives the control over the member over their own transaction so they can actually make sure that the transactions are accurate, exactly how they want, so that’s one of the biggest myths that I’m busting, I would say probably on a on a daily basis, just because when they see a machine they think like, oh, is this supposed to be a person, but we actually help them all the way through the transaction. We’re standing right there and helping them, besides actually pressing the button were like talking to them, where we’re walking in through every single thing on the transaction, so I feel like it’s really made a big difference, especially after the pandemic before it and after.

(Tony)

Yeah, that technology has been there to help us. It was something that we really relied on when we weren’t able to have people at our offices last year when COVID started, and Esmeralda, your office had an even greater challenge when a vehicle accidentally struck the front of the building and shut down the main entrance of the building, I know it wasn’t too long ago, was it?

(Esmeralda)

Honestly it feels like it was just yesterday, but it was last year sometime so it did make it a little bit difficult because we actually had to basically board up the front entrance and so we were using our employee entrance as an entrance for employees and for members. So, until that got fixed I actually posted up a little table, brought my laptop and I sat out there, you know, assisting members to check them in and get them inside with a loan officer, or if they needed assistance with business or mortgage, I kind of assisted with getting all those members into the building, so it definitely was a hard experience, especially once COVID hit because we were still trying to be safe and make sure that we didn’t have too many people in the building, and make sure we had hand sanitizer available so it was, honestly, the worst timing for that to happen, but we made it work in our members were so understanding, so I’m just glad that’s behind us.

(Tony)

It’s good. Yeah, the flexible and everything’s fixed and the driver was was OK, right?

(Esmeralda)

Yes, yes, everyone was ok. It was a complete accident, nobody was hurt. Only the building, but that’s that’s OK.

(Tony)

Yeah, the building we can fix the building that’s no problem, and that’s just a great example of the flexibility and our employees going above and beyond for our members there in Tyler. We know that y’all are busy…alright, I can’t do the y’all thing you guys pull it off so much more naturally, but we appreciate everyone being on the podcast to help us and our members learn a little bit more about what’s going on with Altra there in Tyler and thanks again for being on the podcast. We really appreciate it.

(Daisy)

I appreciate you Tony, thank you for having me

(Esmeralda)

Awesome, thank you, bye

(Brian)

Thanks for having me

(Justin)

Thank you for having us Tony

(Tony)

On the podcast we spoke with Daisy Phillips, our Community Engagement Coordinator, Justin Davenport, who is our office manager at our South Broadway location, Esmeralda Molina who was the office manager at our West Loop location and is now our Retail Market Manager in Tyler, and we also spoke with Brian Selph who is our Retail Market President who overseas not only our offices there in Tyler, but also our Clarksville, Tennessee offices and our Altra offices in Trane facilities which can be found in Trenton, New Jersey and in Pueblo, Colorado.

Well, that’s going to do it for this episode of the Best Life Podcast presented by Altra Federal Credit Union. We appreciate you taking a moment to learn how you can live your best life. If you have a question or a topic you’d like us to cover, shoot me an email at [email protected] and who knows, it may even make it onto a future episode. Don’t forget to follow the Best Life Podcast pretty much wherever you get your podcasts or find it on our website at altra.org. Thanks again, be well, and we’ll talk to you again soon.