Shane Hoag calls on his background in sports to illustrate the chemistry at Worldwide Express’ Southwest Houston office.
“I don’t have five Michael Jordans,” he says. “I have a Michael Jordan, a Scottie Pippen, a B.J. Armstrong. They don’t all have the same personality.”
Hoag, 33, credits a team full of “good guys” for the office vibe. The regional sales manager has been with the Houston office for two years after starting as a sales executive in Worldwide’s Minneapolis office. He’s a native of that area, and a graduate of St. Cloud State University. (He proudly notes that his alma mater made the NCAA hockey “Frozen Four” this year.)
‘Just Plane Air’
The Southwest Houston office has 12 employees, including five sales representatives, an account manager, a freight coordinator and operations and human resources managers. The office’s turf includes the Southwest area of Houston (the Northwest Houston office handles what’s left) along with Beaumont and Galveston, Hoag says.
And the office has earned high honors. In the 2012 “Just Plane Air” contest, Hoag’s crew took first place for bringing on the most air and international business for UPS.
Here’s more from him on the Houston office.
How I started with Worldwide Express: “Coming out of college, I got recruited from a recruiting agency and they had put Worldwide Express in front of me. At the time I had been interviewing with quite a few companies. I wanted to go into sales, but I wanted to go into the right sales that made sense to me. If I believe in the service or product, I believe I can sell it. So I looked at it from my end: If I was a business owner of a company, would I purchase this product or service? After sitting down with a recruiter and interviewing with Worldwide Express, I said this was the company I wanted to work for.”
The Houston office vibe: “One of the things I wanted to do for the office is create an atmosphere where it’s enjoyable to come to work. I put speakers throughout the whole office. Music creates emotion, which creates a fun atmosphere — kind of like the Googles and the Yahoos, a very fun atmosphere. So I have music all the way throughout the office. I also have TVs throughout the office, whether they’re playing stuff about Worldwide Express or UPS. It creates a live atmosphere where it’s exciting and it’s not dull. When I first came to the Worldwide Express Houston office, there was nothing. We didn’t have any music. It was very quiet. The only thing you heard ringing was the phones. You come into our office, when I’ve had interviews, they’re like, ‘Wow, we really like this.’ You walk in and you see a flat-screen TV with Worldwide Express playing. You have a little bit of music in the background. The atmosphere is very enjoyable.”
Team building: “We do team-building exercises each Thursday. We’ll go over role-play situations, whether it’s talking about the sale, the setup, how do you overcome objections. Just different situations that come up in the seven-step sales process that we have, and how we can effectively overcome them and sell our service. We also go over product knowledge about UPS, we go over LTL freight, anything that we can use to our advantage to sell our service. … I tell my guys, ‘Look, you can’t just go into the game every time, you have to practice.’ They really enjoy that.”
The staff makeup and camaraderie: “One thing I look at is — are they coachable? Are they willing to learn? I was in athletics in high school and college, and I played sports throughout my career. I look at it this way: You can train a guy to play a sport, but you can’t train someone to be an athlete. You either have it or you don’t. What I look for is someone that is coachable, that can do the job. Sales isn’t for everyone. I first look at personality. Do I think that they’re going to be a good fit for the team? That’s the biggest thing when it comes to our office — everybody gets along. … It’s important for an office if they’re going to work together and grow together that they can all get along. Because I don’t tolerate any bickering and back-end office stuff. We’ve all been at companies where they huddle up in little groups and bicker all the time. We don’t have that here.”
The best part of my job: “Every day is different. When I come to work, I’m excited to be there. I’m excited to train and teach my employees, for them to be successful. As an individual sales rep, it was what I could do, what could I accomplish. Now in a management and leadership role, if I teach them and I educate them on how to learn UPS and how to sell — do what I had done as a sales rep — that’s what excites me. I like to see the accomplishments they’ve had that I’ve been a part of.”
Life and work in Houston: “I’m fortunate … we’re the fourth-largest city in the United States. We have the ability to be one of the largest franchises in Worldwide Express, hands down. I say that in all honesty, not to brag. It’s really exciting, and I think all the sales reps we have here understand they’re sitting on something special. And they’re part of a company that’s going to grow, and they’re going to be along for the ride. I can’t talk enough about it. Even corporate Worldwide Express, they know that. They say, ‘Shane, you’re sitting on a gold mine down there.’ I say, ‘Yep, I know.’ I’m just fortunate to have that.”
Houston, Music City?
Houston has the oil and gas industry, a long history of sports personalities, and it’s sometimes called “Space City.” It also has been home to many major music stars in all kinds of genres. Here’s a look at 10 of the city’s best.
1. Beyonce: She’s only the biggest pop star on the planet, with 17 Grammys, a successful movie career and a husband named Jay-Z.
Best songs: “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” “Crazy in Love”
2. Lyle Lovett: The eclectic Grammy-winning singer-songwriter grew up in Klein, out on the Houston border, and graduated from Texas A&M University with a journalism degree.
Best songs: “If I Had a Boat,” “Church,” “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)”
3. ZZ Top: The bluesy rock trio had already been around for more than a decade before MTV made them crazy-long-beard superstars.
Best songs: “La Grange,” “Sharp-Dressed Man,” “Legs”
4. Robert Earl Keen: An Aggie chum of Lovett, Keen is known as the godfather of Texas country music.
Best songs: “The Road Goes on Forever,” “Feelin’ Good Again,” “Merry Christmas From the Family”
5. Geto Boys: The legendary gangsta rappers put Houston on the hip-hop map in the early ’90s. Bonus points for Office Space’s use of “Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta.”
Best songs: “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” “Six Feet Deep”
6. Kenny Rogers: Everybody sing along! You got to know when to ________. Know when to __________. Know when to __________. Know when to _______.
Best songs: “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”
7. Rodney Crowell: The longtime singer-songwriter has a slew of hits, and was once married to country royalty (Rosanne Cash).
Best songs: “I Wish It Would Rain,” “I Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried,” “She’s Crazy for Leaving”
8. Chamillionaire: For rap fans, he’s known for “Ridin’ Dirty.” For others, he’s known for Weird Al Yankovic’s comical spoof, “White and Nerdy.”
Best songs: “Ridin’ Dirty,” “Good Morning”
9. Yolanda Adams: The four-time Grammy winner is a gospel star, and she has her own morning radio talk show.
Best songs: “Open My Heart,” “Victory,”
10. Paul Wall: The rapper is also the man behind all those shiny smiles in hip-hop. He supplies “grills” to the stars — from Diddy and Drake to Olympic swimming champ Ryan Lochte — through his Grills by Paul Wall business.
Best songs: “Drive Slow,” “Sittin’ Sidewayz”