Thrill on the Hill - Socket Sponsors the 2017 Mid Missouri Soapbox Derby


Elizabeth Connon, in the Socket Rocket
The Socket Rocket made another appearance this year at the Mid Missouri Soap Box Derby in downtown Columbia, flying down a large blocked-off section of Broadway. Our driver this year, Elizabeth Connon, inherited the car from her older brother Michael, who has been racing it the past few years.

She and her competition were racing for a spot at the International Soap Box Derby in Akron, OH. This is Socket's seventh year sponsoring the Mid Missouri Soap Box Derby, which teaches the kids about sportsmanship, science, technology, engineering, math, and basic safe driving skills. We love watching the cars in action, and congrats to all the racers who participated this year!

Congratulations, Frank Stefanizzi - You Make The Difference!


Frank Stefanizzi with Socket

Congratulations to Frank Stefanizzi, Outside Plant Construction Splicer, on being Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference Award winner for May!

Originally from Guttenberg, New Jersey, Frank moved to Missouri back in 2001. When his friend and former co-worker, Dave Giles, told him about his new job at Socket, Frank decided to apply too – and he’s been a valuable member of the team since. In fact, this is his second time winning the award!

“He’s always ready to tackle any job we give him,” said a co-worker who’d nominated him. “A real team player!”

“He makes fiber sparkle,” said another.

While Frank enjoys fishing and hunting, he probably doesn’t have as much time for it as he did last time he won this award – he and his wife now have a son, who “loves dogs, so I guess we’re getting a dog soon!”

“Socket’s a great place to work,” said Frank. “You’ve got great coworkers, and everyone’s willing to help when you’re in a pickle. I’m grateful and honored to have won.”

Congratulations, Frank!

Congratulations, Steven Sullivan - You Make The DIfference!


Congratulations to Steven Sullivan, Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference Award Winner for April!

Steven had been familiar with Socket as a company since the early 2000s, back when headquarters were on downtown Cherry Street in Columbia. After a brief stint in Wisconsin, Steven returned to Missouri and began looking for a job with a local tech company – and “the idea of working for a locally owned one appealed more” to him.

He’s now a member of our residential technical support team, helping customers, as he puts it, “over the occasional hurdle in modern technology.” He’s also a reliable team member, and valuable source of knowledge, to his fellow techs.

“He’s an amazing person to work with,” said a coworker who nominated him for the award. “He’s friendly to every customer, and makes sure that everything’s done correctly. He’s always willing to help others, and goes out of his way to do so.”

When he’s not at work, Steven enjoys biking and being outdoors, as well as cooking at home (often with a beer or two)! He’s also a bit of a traveler – Steven’s spent timing living on all major coasts of the US, as well as in between.

“The coworkers are absolutely the best thing about working at Socket,” said Steven. “And there’s also how extraordinarily happy some customers are when you get them up and running.”

Congratulations, Steven!

Congratulations, Joshua Clark - You Make The Difference!



 
Congratulations to Joshua Clark, Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference winner for March!
 
Joshua had been interested in tech from a young age, so when he heard about a local tech company headquartered in Columbia, he thought it’d be a good place to get his foot in the door. The rest, as they say, is history; Joshua now helps program custom phone systems for our business customers, and provides post-installation support.
 
“Joshua’s always helpful when there’s something I don’t understand,” said a coworker who nominated him for the award. “He answers questions in a way that’s easy to grasp, often with a quirky anecdote and a smile!”
 
At home, Joshua enjoys working on cars and computers, and picking up odd hobbies to try out – like leatherworking! But for now, he and his wife are busy preparing for their son, who is due to arrive in late spring. They also share their home with a “too-fluffy little dog who thinks she’s a cat."
 
“My favorite part of working at Socket is the flexibility it provides,” said Joshua. “Instead of submitting ideas to a VP of Process Revision over in Ontario, it’s easy to just go talk to whoever’s in charge of something and bounce ideas. [We] can listen to feedback and make changes that more monolithic companies aren’t flexible enough to make.”
 
Congratulations, Joshua!
 

Congratulations, Theresa Lichty, You Make the Difference!


 

Theresa Lichty

Theresa Lichty has been named Socket's You-Make-the-Difference-Award winner for February. 
 
Theresa first joined Socket's marketing team in June 2012. Since then, she's taken on a variety of projects, including the planning and execution of Socket events, writing Socket's monthly email newsletter and other messages to our customers, creating advertisements, and much more. 
 

"Theresa does a great job and always does it with a smile on her face," said a co-worker who nominated her for the award. "She really works hard to promote Socket, and the services we provide to prospective customers throughout Missouri." 
 

Last October, Theresa married Nathan Lichty, who also works for Socket. They actually met here almost 5 years ago! Theresa enjoys playing video games, cooking, and preparing teeny-tiny salads for Wakka, her bearded dragon. 
 

"You meet the most wonderful people working at Socket," says Theresa. "Everyone knows and cares for each other, and we all want each other to succeed." 
 

Congratulations, Theresa!

Congratulations, Cody Ballew - You Make The Difference!


Cody Ballew with Socket

Congratulations to Cody Ballew, Socket’s You-Make-The-Difference winner for January!

Originally just looking to earn a little networking experience, Cody ended up finding that Socket was “way cooler” than the other places he was training for. After branching out with other companies in the industry, Cody returned to Socket in 2015 as a technical support lead, helping to train and advise our newer technical support agents, as well as helping customers with any issues.

“As a Tier 3 Residential Tech, Cody’s proven to be an excellent source of information, and is always gracious in how he conveys that info to his colleagues,” said a coworker who nominated him. “He helps those around him to listen, research and learn.”

Cody enjoys spending time and making art with his wife, Tabby, and their three children, who are his “favorite people on earth – I love seeing their gears kick in exploring the world.” He also builds custom gaming computers for clients in his spare time, a lucrative hobby which allows him to design and build even crazier set-ups with his brother!

“Out of the three ISPs I’ve worked for, Socket is easily the best,” said Cody. “You have the ability to do anything you want to do and learn from so many people – there are more people with more years of random IT experience here than anywhere else I’ve worked.”

Congratulations, Cody!

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!

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

 

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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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