Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moving Day

by Rob Glander, GWC President and CEO

I’m writing this surrounded by boxes, noise and the general commotion that accompanies a move. And I couldn’t be happier.

Today, GWC is relocating to an amazing new office at 40 Coal Street in Wilkes-Barre: 18,000+ square feet of exquisitely designed (thanks, Highland Associates) space above the number one sports franchise in NE PA (the Divisional Champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins). It will be the 5th space we’ve occupied since our inception 16 years ago and represents another growth-driven leap ahead for GWC.

And I have to share my pride a little bit: This new office is simply beautiful. From our state-of-the art Boardroom to our 72 person training room and every workstation in between, we have invested in a facility that befits our aspirations as a company.

Even more importantly, I am proud of our people. As I see everyone scurrying around packing and cleaning up, I am reminded of how much everyone cares about this company and how engaged they are. Special thanks to Mandy, Kelli and Georgiann, who took on some of the nastiest cleanups without any prompting, just because it had to be done. And kudos to Jeff who led the cable stringing, server room setup so we will be up and ready on Monday morning.

Finally, a particular shout-out to Joe Brennan, our Vice President of Operations, who for the past year has lived and breathed this project. Joe found the space, convinced us to take on the audacious task of building it out, negotiated our many contracts, oversaw the design and basically lived onsite for several months while the renovations were being done in record time (and within budget!) Joe, we all owe you a big debt of gratitude.

These are exciting times for GWC and we’re bursting at our seams to share that excitement with our great dealers and end customers. We’re all moving confidently ahead: “No Worries. Just Drive.”

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The GWC Social Network

by Rob Glander, GWC Warranty President and CEO

Several years ago, I noticed my teenagers’ use of their cell phone minutes plunging. They had discovered Facebook and since then it’s become solidly enmeshed in their lives. It’s now their primary source of daily contact with their friends across town and across the country.

I didn’t get it; my standard line was “I have a hard enough time managing my REAL LIFE relationships, much less online ones.” But I chalked it up to a generational divide and decided it was okay for me to miss this trend. Even after my college roommate convinced me to get an account I rarely even glanced at my Wall, much less the fascinating musings of the hyper-aggressive types who’d sought me out and invited me to be their friends.

Cue to December 2010, when I still didn’t completely understand the appeal of Facebook and its blunt, 140-character cousin, Twitter. However, The Social Network was winning movie awards, Facebook was receiving astronomical market valuations and it seemed like every major business was racing to devise a social media strategy.

When founder Mark Zuckerberg was named Time’s Person of the Year, the accompanying article finally made it clear to me:

    “Right now the Internet is like an empty wasteland: you wander from page to page, and no one is there but you. Except where you have the opposite problem: places like product pages and YouTube videos, where everyone’s there at once, reviewing and commenting at the top of their lungs, and it’s a howling mob of strangers.

    “Zuckerberg’s vision is that after the Facebookization of the Web, you’ll get something in between: wherever you go online, you’ll see your friends.”

Mark Zuckerberg actually summed up Facebook’s mission this way:

    “In the world, there’s trust. I think as humans we fundamentally parse the world through the people and relationships we have around us. So at its core, what we’re trying to do is map out all of those trust relationships, which you can call, colloquially, most of the time, friendships.”

At GWC, we used to say that we wanted to be a car dealer’s partner or consultant. But based on Zuckerberg’s definition, we really want to be their Friend.

So, please be our Friend. Visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, stay tuned to our website and become part of the GWC Social Network.