Zaza Tugushi Named 2016 Socketeer of the Year!


12 years ago, Socket’s owners decided to award one of our monthly You-Make-The-Difference winners with Socketeer of the Year. The Socketeer of the Year award goes to someone who embodies Socket’s Core Values and Beliefs. We are pleased to announce this year’s recipient, Zaza Tugushi!

Zaza became a Socketeer in March of 2008. He came to Columbia from the country of Georgia, studying at Columbia College before getting his MBA at Mizzou. He started, first in residential customer service and sales before moving to the business center in 2009. He now manages the provisioning department.

“Zaza more than exemplifies Socket’s core values and beliefs through his obvious dedication, professionalism, and clear-cut commitment to providing both the best possible service to Socket’s customers, and outstanding support of the staff he supervises,” said a coworker who nominated him. “It goes without saying that Zaza deserves this award.”

When he’s not at work, Zaza enjoys spending time with his wife, Molly, and 2 children. He also enjoys tinkering with home improvement projects, cars, and computers.

Zaza brings an unparalleled passion for customer service to the office every day. As the Georgian nears his 9-year anniversary of working at Socket, he says the enthusiasm comes from his coworkers: “My favorite thing about working at Socket is definitely the people. Socketeers work together to make things happen for our customers. I like that even though we’ve become more structured and mature as we’ve grown, we’ve maintained the flexibility to go out of our way to help customers in need.”

Runner-up:

Carl Blank was also honored for his dedication to Socket’s Core Values and Beliefs.

Carl began working at Socket in 2014 after over 45 years in the telecom industry. His valuable experience and knowledge has helped him become the beloved leader of Socket’s Field Services team. When asked about this year’s runner up, one of his Field Services technicians said Carl was “without a doubt, the best boss I’ve ever had”.

But managing Field Services isn’t the only hat Carl wears, he is also in charge of Socket’s ever-expanding fleet of vehicles. This extra duty matches up perfectly with Carl’s life-long love for cars. He spends plenty of time on the weekends going to races and swap meets. Carl even lists “buying cars with Socket’s money” as one of his favorite things to do, along with travel and spending time with his wife, Charlene and his two daughters.

“Carl’s a great resource for installations, technical issues, and a whole host of other things,” said a coworker who nominated him. “We’re really lucky to have him here at Socket!”

Congratulations, Rachael Riley - You Make The Difference!


Rachael Riley with Socket

Congratulations to Rachael Riley, Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference award winner for December!

Rachael is Socket’s friendly receptionist, and the first face most customers see when coming to visit us. In addition to greeting people, Rachael also does most things that our other customer service representatives do, like sending out letters and answering phone calls.

“Rachael takes such good care of our walk-in customers and visitors. She greets them with a smiling face and a cheerful attitude, even when they're not the friendliest in return,” said a coworker who nominated her for the award. “She's always happy to pitch in on anything she's asked to help with, and she's a great asset to Socket.”

Outside of work, Rachael is quite crafty – she spends a good deal of her time drawing, crocheting, woodburning, sculpting, and more! She’s even made custom pieces for several of her coworkers. A few of her current art projects: building a coffee table out of papier-mâché, and crafting a googly-eyed dinosaur out of cardboard.

She’s also a fan of video games and singly along (“badly!”) to her favorite musical playlists. She, her fiancé, and her teenage daughter all live in Columbia with their “rude quaker parrot” and a “stupid-lookin’ dog who’s actually very intelligent.”

“My favorite part of working at Socket is my coworkers!” said Rachael. “It’s nice to work somewhere with such awesome people. I love you guys!”

Congratulations, Rachael!

Congratulations, Danielle - You Make the Difference!


Congratulations to Danielle G., Service Delivery Coordinator, on being named Socket's You-Make-The-Difference award winner for November!

Originally from New Jersey, Danielle moved to Missouri from the farm she lived on (yes, a farm in New Jersey...with horses, chickens, and peacocks!). She was looking for a change of scenery, so she packed up her belongings (and her chihuahua, Kalika) and came to Missouri on a whim. A friend who worked for Socket encouraged her to apply here.

"When she mentioned her job, it was never to complain about it," said Danielle. "She talked about how nice the people were and how well they worked together, even through difficult times."

After serving as a customer service/sales representative, and then a lead within that department, Danielle is now a dispatcher for our field services crew, scheduling appointments and maintaining order for our agents on the road.

"Every day, at least once, it seems we have an emergency dispatch of one sort or another and Danielle always seems to find a way to accommodate both [our field agents] and the customer," said a coworker who nominated her for the award. "She has saved our bacon plenty of times with last minute requests."

In her free time, Danielle is a sucker for some karaoke (have you heard her belt out Bobby McGee?). She also likes playing video games, perusing yard sales, having bonfires, doing some sassy cross-stitching, and playing pool (among other things).

"I'm thankful every day that I landed this awesome job with a great company and cool people," said Danielle. "I've made some great friends here, and I really can't ask for much more than that."

Congratulations, Danielle!

Veterans Day 2016


Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to all Veterans who served our country and protected our freedom. We appreciate each and every one of you!

There are 14 Veterans here at Socket. We treated them to lunch at Flat Branch this afternoon to show our appreciation. We also surprised them with a card, some candy and balloons on their desk! Enjoy lunch on us and thank you all for everything you do!

 
A few of our Socket Veterans!

Fall 2016 Adopt-A-Spot Cleanup


Yesterday, 15 Socket volunteers cleaned up Clark Lane for our final Adopt-A-Spot cleanup before the winter season. The area outside our office is looking a lot cleaner now that it is free of trash and litter.

We collected a total of 25 bags of trash and one worn out tire from the roadside. Our community involvement would not be possible without our awesome employees so thank you to everyone who volunteered! We hope you enjoyed the free wings, beer and T-shirt for your participation!

If you want to learn more about Adopt-A-Spot check out their website or email them at Volunteer@CoMo.gov to get involved!

A few of our volunteers from Adopt-A-Spot cleanup

 

Congratulations, Demian Cook - You Make The Difference!


Demian Cook with Socket

Congratulations to Demian Cook, Service Delivery Specialist, on being named Socket's You-Make-The-Difference award winner for October!

This is Demian's second YMTD win - in fact, her first win led to her being named a runner-up for Socketeer of the Year back in 2014! Since her last nomination, Demian has worked her way up to our Provisioning department, where she helps to implement connections to Socket's internal network, as well as configure equipment for customer use.

"She always takes on way more than her share of the workload, and makes sure that any issue I'm having is solved, even if it isn't in her department," said a coworker who nominated her for the award. "She's also hilarious, and brightens everyone's day with her wit!"

Originally from Montgomery County, Demian is a military veteran with a long history of working in IT. After starting at Socket in 2012, Demian worked as a Business Center Analyst before transitioning to her new role as a Service Delivery Specialist.

"I enjoy the atmosphere here," said Demian. "We're an upbeat and interesting group of individuals working towards a common goal - providing the best service to our customers. And every day is an opportunity to learn something new!"

Congratulations, Demian!

Congratulations, Carl Blank - You Make the Difference!


Carl Blank with Socket

Congratulations to Carl Blank, Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference Award Winner for September!

Carl had spent over 45 years in the telecom industry before deciding to finally retire. However, after an entire summer at home, Carl got a little stir-crazy – so when Socket reached out, Carl jumped at the chance to get back into things. He now supervises our Field Services team, manages our vehicle fleet, and generally provides an incredible amount of experience to share.

“Carl’s a great resource for installations, technical issues, and a whole host of other things,” said a coworker who nominated him. “We’re really lucky to have him here at Socket!”

One of Carl’s favorite things to do is buy vehicles with Socket's money. When he’s not doing that, he also likes discussing racing (Nascar included), visiting swap meets, and generally traveling. In fact, he’s been to every single state in the nation – Hawaii and Alaska included! His family includes his wife, Charlene, his two daughters, and a very large cat named Shannon.

“I came back to see if I could make a difference,” said Carl. “Sounds like you all think I do!”

Thanks, Carl!

Socket Sponsors the Countdown to Kickoff!


Socket was a proud sponsor of the 2016 Countdown to Kickoff fundraiser that took place on August 24. The fundraiser benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri. The evening was presented by Columbia Insurance Group and the University of Missouri Football Program and consisted of live and silent auctions, as well as remarks from Coach Barry Odom regarding the Tigers’ upcoming season.

As a sponsor for this year’s fundraiser, Socket was able to contribute to the proceeds raised for disadvantaged children in Mid-Missouri. Thanks to the silent and live auction as well as generous donations, a total of 110 children will be supported from an adult role model over the next year in the Big Brother Big Sister program.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri serves children of single parent families, children with an incarcerated parent, children of active and fallen military, children in longer term foster care, and those who are referred by school or other agency personnel. Over 500 children are served yearly in our community.

Socket is proud to contribute to enhancing the lives of our community’s youth. If you would like to learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri, visit www.bbbs.org to see how you can also make a difference!

Congratulations, Zaza Tugushi - You Make The Difference!



Congratulations to Zaza Tugushi, Service Delivery Manager, on winning the You-Make-The-Difference award for August!

Zaza joined the Socket team back in 2008, starting in customer service. From there, he moved to our business center as a service delivery coordinator, netting his first YMTD win back in October 2013. Today, he manages the entire service delivery team – and he’s still making the difference to his coworkers.

“Zaza more than exemplifies Socket’s core values and beliefs through his obvious dedication, professionalism, and clear-cut commitment to providing both the best possible service to Socket’s customers, and outstanding support of the staff he supervises,” said a coworker who nominated him. “It goes without saying that Zaza deserves this award.”

In his free time, Zaza enjoys working on various home improvement projects, as well as fixing cars and computers. However, he admits that most of his hobbies have been put on hold for the moment – he and his wife, Molly, stay busy taking care of their young son Lucca, as well as preparing for their second child, due this October!

“My favorite thing about working at Socket is definitely the people,” said Zaza. “Socketeers work together to make things happen for our customers. I like that even though we’ve become more structured and mature as we’ve grown, we’ve maintained the flexibility to go out of our way to help customers in need.”

Congratulations, Zaza!

Congratulations, Adam Buchmeier - You Make The Difference!


Adam Buchmeier, Field Services Technician with Socket

Congratulations to Adam Buchmeier, Field Services Technician, on being named Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference award winner for July!

Adam has a long history of working in telecom – in fact, he remembers working with Socket as a business customer back when we only offered dial-up! After hearing about Socket’s fiber expansion in Callaway County, Adam decided that Socket would be a good place to jump back into the industry, and he’s been with us ever since.

“Adam is awesome!” said a coworker who nominated him for the award. “He's always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, coworker or customer.”

"He's a very respectful and knowledgeable man, and he trained me with confidence," said another.

When he’s not installing service for Socket’s new customers, Adam enjoys tinkering with lawnmowers, refurbishing old furniture, and spending time with his family, including his 13-year-old granddaughter. He also spoils his 16-year-old Labrador, Jude, the “smartest dog ever.”

“My favorite part of working at Socket is the customers, hands down,” said Adam. “I really enjoy going out there and making them happy.”

Congratulations, Adam!

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Who is Socket

Founded in 1994, Socket is a Missouri-based telephone and Internet service provider with the largest service area in the state.

Socket is a privately held company that provides families and businesses a choice for local and long-distance phone and Internet service. We combine the highest quality customer service with in-depth technical knowledge.

Our network serves more than 20,000 residents and businesses in more than 400 Missouri cities, and our customers enjoy simple billing and quick, friendly service.
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