Welcome to the Fourth Edition of the Charter Partner's Quarterly Newsletter!


Russell Reid Wins NJ Family Business of the Year Award

The annual event, coordinated by Fairleigh Dickinson University's Rothman Institute, was held at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, and honored 16 family-owned businesses in the state.  

Honorees were selected in two categories: over $10 million and under $10 million in annual sales.  There were 8 companies in the over $10 million category; captive owner and long-time client of Charter Partners, Russell Reid, won the category.  

Gary Weiner, President of Russell Reid shared his acceptance speech with us:  

"First, let me start by thanking the Rothman Institute, Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Judges for recognizing our hard work, commitment to family and community; and dedication to excellence.  I also want to thank the 300 plus members of the Mr. John and Russell Reid team who make us the employer of choice in our industry.
The company had humble beginnings in 1964 at a small shop in Long Branch, New Jersey.  With just three employees and a few sheets of plywood our first portable toilet was born over 53 years ago.  Today, we service thousands of customers all over New Jersey, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. 
It gives me great pleasure to accept this prestigious award in the presence of second and third generation family members to honor our Founder and patriarch - Morton Weiner whose entrepreneurial spirt continues to live on today - he would be very proud!"

To share your story with the Charter Partner's Community, please reach out to  Pattie Cowley

Safety:  A Tale of Two Cultures

How Important is a Safety Culture in Keeping Your Employees and Customers Safe? 

The Amtrak crash that happened earlier this week in Washington was the third fatal accident involving Amtrak in last three years. It's too early to tell exactly what went wrong.  All we know at this point is that train was traveling well above the posted speed limit on a brand new section of track.

We also know , just one month ago on November 14th, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) cited "deficient safety management across many levels of Amtrak" in their report regarding the April 2016 derailment in Chester, Pennsylvania. The derailment killed two track workers and injured another 39 people. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said "Amtrak's safety culture is failing, and is primed to fail again, until and unless Amtrak changes the way it practices safety management". 

While it is too early in the investigation to assign safety culture as a contributing factor in this incident, we will need to wait a year and a half for the report to come out, but I suspect it will get mentioned. This issue of safety culture's possible role reminded me of an article I had read a few months ago about how the Japanese run their railway system, and specifically a peculiar behavior often mentioned and photographed by tourists.

The article by Allen Richards described this peculiar behavior this way-"It's hard to miss when taking the train in Tokyo: white-gloved employees in crisp uniforms pointing down the platform and calling out-seemingly to no one-as trains glide in and out of the station. Onboard is much the same, with drivers and conductors performing almost ritual-like movements as they tend to an array of dials, buttons and screens."

This behavior is known in Japanese as shisa kanko, or pointing-and-calling and it works on the principle of associating one's tasks with physical movements and vocalizations to prevent errors by "raising the consciousness levels of workers"-according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in Japan. 

So what is the value of these "silly" pointing and-calling-rituals? It's about awareness and precondition and it is a message they send to the workers and passengers on the Japanese railway systems. The message is that your safety and our safety is the most important thing to us, and we are reminding each other, all day, every day, by pointing-and-calling everyone's attention to it. It's a very public safety culture and one that reduces workplace errors by up to 85 percent. 

Japan's rail system has a well-deserved reputation for being among the very best in the world. An extensive network of tracks moving an estimated 12 billion passengers each year with an on-time performance measured in the seconds makes Japanese rail a precise, highly reliable transportation marvel. 

Which culture do you want you and your family to be traveling with?  

March 2017 - ITA Conference
I'll See You When I See You

After a typical day at the office, Suzie left for home with her usual call of 'have an awesome evening!'  Who knew it would be the last time we would hear her say those words?

Suzie's passing hit us like a ton of bricks.  To say the least, life is difficult without her.  Aside from the challenge of picking up the responsibilities she handled for so many years for our clients, the hole she left within the hearts of those who knew her the best, is huge.  

It's been two months, and we are still grieving our co-worker and friend.  I expect it will continue like this for some time, maybe forever.  

We shared many experiences together.  We worked side-by-side for the better part of 25 years.  From our days at Bowers, Schumann & Welch (BS&W) serving on the leadership team together (and meeting with Scott at B&R Burger for breakfast meetings), to standing up for her at her wedding, to the sale of BS&W to Brown & Brown, to building Charter Partners with Glen and Todd, to launching a mobile technology platform called Zero.  

One of the last times we were away together, we attended a conference this past March in Florida about InsTech; overused acronym for all things relating to insurance technology these days.   The photo here is from that trip.  The photo captures Suzie's personality to a "t".  As always, she was ready to meet new people and excited to learn something new.  We enjoyed some downtime during the conference one afternoon.  We took a walk on the beach, sat by the pool and had a cocktail or two.  Suzie loved the water; ocean, pool, lake, it didn't matter.  She was an excellent swimmer and was on the swim team when she was young.  We talked about life and about the future.  She cared deeply for others and always asked about your family or about your day.  

We often shared water cooler talk about Survivor, Big Brother, movies, old I Love Lucy episodes and more.    She would recite Lucy's iconic Vitameatavegamin script and would laugh and laugh.  Below is a photo of Suzie with Lucy pretending she's holding up a can of Vitameatavegamin....while Lucy donned a Trust Towel.  It was a fun day at the wax museum.

In closing, about the title that I used here: it refers back to another experience we had together.  We went to see 700 Sundays on Broadway with Billy Crystal.  It was a one-man show highlighting Billy's childhood memories of family and fun.  However, he also shared sad times, including his mother's death and recalling her standard departure saying 'I'll see you when I see you'.  We adopted this saying when leaving the office for an extended period, like vacation or a business trip.  So Suz, Rest in Peace and we'll see you when we see you.  

In Loving Memory of Suzie Stark

September 1, 1960 -
October 19, 2017

Here Comes The Company Holiday Party!

Sexual harassment is dominating the headlines, and here comes the holiday party. It's hard to imagine that in the current climate you'll encounter harassment at your party, but past experience suggests you should be prepared. Parties are intended to be relaxed, fun events; unfortunately, relaxation and fun, when accompanied by alcohol, often lead to inappropriate behavior.

Here are some tips to lessen the likelihood of unfortunate incidents, courtesy of Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR:

Know the rules. As a first step, you can be sure that employees are reminded of the rules governing behavior in the workplace, including dress codes and other employee conduct policies, such as discrimination and harassment. Add a reminder that all rules apply to the gathering.

Monitors. Assign some managers to be on the lookout for potential trouble spots or infractions of the rules.

Spouses. Invite spouses and significant others-that may curb some employees urges.

Mistletoe. Don't hang the mistletoe-that's begging for a harassment claim.

Don't wait. Avoid taking the stance, "I wasn't really sure if they had crossed the line into illegal harassment." Remember that generally, long before actions become illegal, they are inappropriate. Take action when you see a problem developing.

Alcohol-Use Planning:

If you are considering serving alcohol, hiring a professional bartender, and authorize the bartender to refuse to serve anyone who appears to be intoxicated. Also require that the bartender should card younger drinkers. Don't make employees or supervisors serve drinks. Some other tips for managing below.
  • Limit consumption. approaches include:
  • Limiting the number of drinks-usually by giving each attendee two drink tickets.
  • Cutting off bar service after a predetermined time.
  • Offering a cash bar, or switching to a cash bar after employees have had, for example, two drinks.
  • Serve only beer and wine for alcoholic drinks.
  • Have a variety of nonalcoholic drinks available.
  • Serve a meal, or offer heavy hors d'oeuvres.
  • Offer some kind of entertainment so that drinking isn't the major focus of the gathering.
  • In spite of your efforts, some attendees may become intoxicated, have taxi, uber/lyft, or a limo service standing by. In addition to preventing driving accidents, you protect the company from liability.
Other things to consider:
  • Make the party a lunch, or have the party focused on an activity (such as bowling) to reduce the amount of alcohol likely to be consumed.
  • Hold parties off business premises.
  • Schedule the party on a weeknight when employees presumably are less likely to overindulge.
Final Tips:

Should there be a report or complaint about harassment, be sure to conduct a prompt investigation, and take appropriate action. Check the company's general liability insurance policy to see what your coverage is for on- and off-premises social gatherings.

Stay Safe & Happy Holidays!
Charter Partners USA, Inc. | 610-438-3535 | www.charterpartners.com