Getting by With a Little Help from Friends


Teamwork is a remarkable thing. Some may even consider it a phenomenon. Getting a large group of people to work together towards a common goal is a difficult, daunting task that even some of the world’s most powerful organizations and influential leaders have difficulties with. Good teamwork takes frequent communication. It takes focus, organization, and the inclination for everyone to contribute their fair share to help achieve goals. Most importantly, a good team needs individuals that are willing to support one another, even if it means going above and beyond their daily job responsibilities.

At e3, this is something that greatly sets us apart from our competition. We position ourselves as “your local experts,” providing you with experienced, dedicated sales and service teams within arm’s reach, but we’re so much more than that. We’re a nationwide powerhouse that works together toward the common goal of providing healthcare practitioners, like you, with unparalleled audiometric equipment sales and service. This means that when you work with us, you not only get the responsiveness, attention, and care of a local office, but also the workforce and resources of a national syndicate.

Sending Out an SOS

A shining example of this comes from the team at e3 Gordon Stowe Indianapolis. Recently, technicians Steve Sprout and Shayne Patterson went above and beyond the to assist our Chicago office when their booth installer suddenly fell ill. There were three booth installs scheduled during the time he would be out of commission – one the next day and two the following Wednesday. With limited time to find a technician with the skillset required to successfully complete these projects, National Service Manager Steve Wood emailed Patterson and Sprout asking for their assistance.

“We found out on Wednesday at about 10 in the morning that our installer wasn’t going to be able to help us with a booth we had scheduled Thursday and a few more the following Wednesday,” said Wood. So around noon, I sent an email to the two techs in Indy because they do booth installs.”

Before the end of the day, both techs responded back to Wood confirming that they would assist. Patterson would handle the job scheduled for the next morning, and Sprout would cover the two the following Wednesday. For both, helping would require them to commute several hours round trip on top of the highly strenuous labor of putting together audiometric sound booths.

“Steve Wood told me what was going on. Duane was hurt, and he needed some booths installed, so he asked if there was any way me and Steve Sprout could help out,” said Patterson. “I told him tomorrow was the only day I could help because I would be on vacation the other day. So, I rearranged my schedule, went out and got the booth tools, got up super early the next morning and went to Chicago, did the booth, and came home.”

Like Patterson, Sprout didn’t need much convincing either.

“Steve asked if we would be able to help out, and that’s basically all there was too it,” said Sprout. I had the whole next Wednesday open anyway, so I thought ‘might as well go do it.’

With both technicians willing to help, the day was seemingly saved. Now all there was left to do was seamlessly complete the installs for the customers. As expected, Patterson and Sprout were able to execute their respective jobs without a hitch.

“Shayne came up for an ENT practice that was moving,” said David Coffin, Regional Sales Manager of e3 Gordon Stowe Chicago. “They were at the point where they were packing, and I was in the middle of emailing them saying, ‘I don’t know if we can do this or not.’ Shayne agreed to do it and got it done in one day. A week later, I had another project that I needed help with, so Steve came up and did that one. That was two booth moves for a not-for-profit in our area, and he stepped right up and did it. I expected it would be at least a day-and-a-half job, but he got it done in one day.”

The team in Chicago couldn’t be more thankful for the assistance of Patterson and Sprout. Without their help, they wouldn’t have been able to provide their customers with the exceptional service they expect. As for the technicians, they were just doing what they felt they needed to do.

“I know that there are fewer and fewer guys doing booths,” said Patterson. “When I started, Steve Wood was one of my peers. He was a tech, like me. He knows what it’s like to do our job, so when he calls and asks for help, I know that he really needs the help.”

Sprout, in particular, was paying a favor to an old colleague and friend.

“Duane has helped me with a lot of big projects, so when I heard he was down and out, I figured there was no reason I couldn’t go help. He helped me do a job of 26 booths that took two-and-a-half months. There have also been times where he has come down if I had a customer demand a specific day that I couldn't make. So, I was basically just returning the favor to Duane."

A Shoulder to Lean On

While the booth jobs went smoothly with the help of the experienced technicians, there were still other areas the Chicago office needed help with. Particularly, they were down an office manager. Their full-time office manager had just left on maternity leave, and due to unexpected events, her interim replacement was no longer able to fulfil her duties. As a result, Chicago had to hire a new interim employee and quickly train them up. And they were successfully able to do so with a little more help from their friends in Indianapolis.

Office Manager Amy Solomon came to the rescue and went above and beyond the call of duty to help the thinly staffed Chicago branch. On top of her regular job duties, Solomon would dedicate hours of her workweek to train the new interim Office Manager so she could satisfactorily fulfill the duties of the role and assist customers on a daily basis. Trainings would cover all essential functions of the job – from how to process a PO to how to create an account in the system. With Amy’s help, it didn’t take long for the new hire to get up to speed.

“Some days it was an hour and other days it was only 15 minutes,” said Solomon. “She’s sharp, so she was able to learn quickly. We’d do the training over the phone, and once I told her something, she would write it down. I was glad to help. I could easily make time for her, so it was no problem.”

What seemed small to Solomon was of a monumental help to the office in Chicago. Without her help and the assistance of Patterson and Sprout, they wouldn’t have been able to provide their customers with the exemplary level of service they’ve come to expect.

“Amy is just one of those people who is so engaging and so helpful, always,” said Julie Renshaw, Regional Sales Manager of e3 Gordon Stowe Indianapolis. “She absolutely makes you feel like she wants to help you. Steve and Shayne know how to do what needs to get done, and at the same time, they’re the first ones to help someone out, so they’re really unique gentlemen in that way.”

While the entire Chicago office was grateful for that assistance, nobody was more appreciative than Coffin.

“Julie has set such a tone with her team,” said Coffin. She has three people and all three have helped us out in the last month. That goes a long way.”

A Culture Built Around Helping

While these examples of e3 coming together are more recent, there are plenty more that have occurred over the past several years. Particularly, Steve Wood recalls and incident in New York that required an astonishing force of technicians to calibrate a large number of audiometers fast.

“We were working with a hearing aid group in Albany that had 150 units they needed calibrated overnight,” said Wood. “We got 11 techs from various offices to go out there and calibrate overnight on a Saturday. Some drove up from New York City, some drove up from Dayton, some drove from Chicago, and it worked out. There was no way our Buffalo office, with their two or three techs, could’ve done it alone.”

Another example comes from a few years ago when the e3 office in Orlando was short staffed. This time, David Coffin was the hero, flying from Chicago to Florida and back on a weekly basis to ensure the office was receiving the help it needed.

“A group of us went down there for about five or six months,” said Coffin. “It was a week here and a week there. Keeping things going, kind of reorganizing things with John, Gregory, and Alan, and working with the techs and office staff until Julia was hired. I would be down there Monday through Friday and would come back up here for the weekend.”

Aid doesn’t just come in moments of crisis, however. Over the past few years, e3 has taken a more proactive approach by implementing a mentorship program to help new hires get to a point where they can deliver the best possible service to their customers. e3 veterans volunteer their time to help train new employees up to speed so the customers in their regions get the expertise our company prides itself on. Recently, Coffin has been lending his time and expertise to help mentor a new hire in Milwaukee.

“When Mitch was brought in, I was asked if I would be willing to help,” said Coffin. “He has his formal training that he’s going through, but you need someone day to day that you can call with questions. And so we talk, quite often, multiple times per day about things. I’ll answer questions, get on calls with him, and he’ll get on calls with me. The best way for someone to learn is to have someone who’s doing it to lean on.”

One Mission, One e3

So, at the end of the day, working with e3 does mean having the dedication and responsiveness of a local office. It does mean building a relationship with a team of audiometric equipment experts that you can trust to guide you toward the right solutions for your needs and frequently check up on you to ensure everything is working properly. But it also means having strength in numbers behind you that can only be offered by the nation’s largest provider of audiometric equipment sales and service. It means having the comfort of knowing that somehow, someway, your needs will be taken care of by experienced experts, even if we need to call in reinforcements to get the job done.

At e3, we’ve managed to do the remarkable and bring together a large group of people to work towards a common goal: Helping you better detect and resolve the world’s hearing problems, one device at a time.