On August 4, the TecBridge intern team visited Web.com’s facility in Drums, PA, and spoke with Vice President of Customer Service and new TecBridge Board member Jeff Kimmel. Jeff answered some questions about joining TecBridge, his work with Web.com, and even his place in a sports hall of fame.
Why did Jeff seek to join the TecBridge Board?
Jeff firmly believes NEPA has a lot to offer the world, especially in the fields of computer science and technology. With a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Lebanon Valley College and a master’s degree in organizational management from Misericordia University, Jeff has followed careers through both fields before becoming VP of Customer Service at Web.com.
Jeff explained he has always been interested in technology, spanning across computer hardware, video games, and coding. When he heard about TecBridge, with its efforts to support local businesses of all kinds, especially including tech start-ups, he knew he wanted to be a part of it.
Today, he leads a major call center facility for Web.com, a company that, in their own words, is “helping small businesses succeed online.” And while its employees do perform call center and customer service tasks, they all revolve around its critical technical aspect Jeff continues to promote for both Web.com and NEPA.
What’s special at Web.com?
To understand his passion for Web.com and what makes it special, Jeff explained what led him to being there. He had previously worked for what became known as EarthLink, utilizing his technical background and management skills there. They, however, outsourced their jobs, and he served in the transition to train the would-be trainers overseas.
Once they departed, Jeff had to ask himself: “Do I want to keep doing this or change?” At the time, Network Solutions was opening up a facility here in NEPA. He realized how much he enjoyed his work, and his experience led to his hiring as a training manager.
Web.com would go on to buy Network Solutions in 2012, and Jeff would continue to climb the ladder until he would become a vice president and head of the facility. In April 2016, Web.com would do the opposite of what EarthLink had done; Web.com returned 85 jobs to the United States, bringing them into the Drums, PA, facility.
What are some of his biggest challenges at Web.com?
His success story, like all such stories, has had its challenges and continues to have them. He spoke of hoping to increase brand recognition in our region and throughout the world. Web.com has increased its advertising by securing a contract for the Web.com PGA Tour, the equivalent of golf’s minor league.
He likened his vision for Web.com’s to Google’s.
“When people find out somebody works for Web.com, I want them to say, ‘hey, wow, you work for Web.com,’” he said, “‘that seems like a really cool place to work.’”
While the return of 85 jobs to the United States had its benefits, it was not without its pitfalls. Through hiring, training, and retaining employees, there have been challenges; however, Jeff is confident this move will only continue to improve Web.com.
With all this success, Jeff was posed with the question of what’s next. For Web.com, he explained that the acquisitions of major industry players like Register.com, Solid Cactus, Network Solutions, and Yodel will continue to bolster the brand. He praised Web.com’s ability to recognize what small businesses need next to build success, to find that next piece of the puzzle, and to acquire it.
For himself, he hopes to continue to train and support his employees. With all of the new acquisitions, new branches of communication are happening across the company and across his facility. He wants to bring cohesion to his facility while also creating that “Google sense” mindset of his facility in NEPA.
What’s his favorite part of the job?
Being VP doesn’t stop Jeff from having fun. He said the most important thing he tries to do is to keep the job fun for his staff; he recognizes how stressful providing solutions to customers can be at times.
From the Wii set up right in the center of the office to crafty Pokémon desk layouts, it was clear Jeff had made fun and creativity a priority. On Fridays, Jeff holds what he calls “culture club;” it is a specific meeting that only discusses how to improve facility culture.
He told us that he loves to host competitions and contests, like desk decorations. He enjoys having their Ice Cream days or various other days to keep morale high. One of his favorites was a carnival week that ended with employees being able to give their bosses a splash in the dunk tank.
What do people not know about Jeff?
But Jeff had one surprise left before he completed the interview.
While at Lebanon Valley College, Jeff was the videographer for their Division III basketball team. That 1994 team would go on to be the NCAA Division III National Champion.
As the years went by, he would receive letters from Lebanon Valley College of different athletes from the team making their sports hall of fame. After a few, he received a very special letter: it told him that he would also be joining the rest of the team as inductees.
And though he would be listed as a manager for that team, he still can’t believe he was inducted.
Jeff Kimmel. A vice president and a hall of famer. And now a TecBridge Board member.
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