Monthly Archives: October 2018

Throwback: 100,000 Donuts!

Posted October 22, 2018 by Sidney Mireles

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes


It was Aug. 10, 2012, date of the largest donut drop by Innovative-IDM to any customer. Klent Prewitt picked up the 40+ dozen donuts for delivery to MultiCam. The event was in recognition of the 100,000 other donuts we had delivered there since Gene Gray first started the weekly tradition in 2000 as an excuse to go by and pick up a much-needed check for goods and services provided. In 2018, the partnership has matured beyond the weekly donuts, yet MultiCam and its donut and kolache consumption remain legendary in IIDM lore.

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How Ernie Sparks Named the CIA

Posted October 19, 2018 by Sidney Mireles

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

The early CIA Logo, from Ernie Sparks

When asked about how the CIA got its name, Ernie said:

"There was a naming contest in February 2013. The contest was to come up with a name for a new volunteer group that would continually improve the culture of the company. I took clues from the email: Culture/improvement.

[The email] originally had used the word bureau so that gave me the idea of some three-letter agencies: C-I-A. I sent in eight variations. Cultural Improvement Agency was one of them.

I had used the word cultural. So, it was changed to be the more grammatically correct word, culture. My daughter drew this logo to go along with the names."

And thus, the CIA was born!

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Jesse Turns 15!

Posted by Sidney Mireles

Categories: IIDM Behind the Scenes

Jesse Simental accepts congratulations from Gene Grey at sea on a President's Club trip in 2017.

Before working at Innovative-IDM, Jesse Simental’s dream career was architect or home flipper. He loved drawing, especially 3D models. His favorite class was Wood Shop, and he relished painting.

Jesse’s 15 years at Innovative-IDM has seen him thrive in many roles, including powering through one of the company’s most challenging times. Through it all, the two-time President’s Club winner says he could not see himself anywhere else.

BS: What’s your role at Innovative-IDM?

I am the Inventory Control Manager. I monitor and manage inventory levels for all our branches and warehouses.

BS: How did you connect with Innovative-IDM?
JS: Right after graduating from ITT, I worked for Texas Instruments. While I was there I had survived three layoffs in 18 months. I told myself I wouldn’t go through a fourth, so I contacted the job placement service at ITT. They introduced me to Gene Gray and to the company which at that time was known as Innovative Automation.

What do you remember about your first day/week/month of working here?
It was smaller than any other company I had worked for, but there was a ton of work. I came in with the official title as Insides Sales, so part of my responsibility was to do shipping and receiving. In the early part of the morning, I would tend to emails. When UPS or FedEx came, I was in charge of unpacking and accounting for everything. I would then go back to my computer and log everything and print everything that needed to go out that day. All the while, I was answering phone calls.

In April 2009, you and your co-workers were asked to give up 10% of your salary. Tell us about that.
Those were some scary times. Our company was affected by the economy, giving up 10% was better than the alternative.

What got you guys through that without anyone quitting?
Gene did a good job of letting us know what our goal was and how to get there. So rather than just sitting around and waiting for the economy to bounce back, we huddled together and rallied doing whatever was asked of us even if it meant making out bound cold calls every day.

You’ve been with Innovative for 15 years. What has made you stick around?
Really, it’s the culture that we so pride ourselves on. It’s a tight knit group and the people help it make it family type atmosphere.
BS: How has Innovative treated you as far as work/family balance?
It’s a huge deal. I love the fact that is something that has always been stressed throughout the years.

What's your favorite thing about working at Innovative?
The people really. I have had the privilege to work under some great minds and mentors. Some of my best mentors have been Tod Mueller and Tim Mueller (it’s great to pick his brain), and Adam. Honestly, everyone on the leadership team has helped me grow not only as a person, but also in the position that I have now.

Give me three words to describe your time here at Innovative?
Fun, challenging, rewarding

What advice would you give those thinking about coming to work at Innovative?
You better bring your A game and you better be ready. If you’re gonna work here, you better be on the ball, you better be ready to hit the ground running. Everyone is putting their best foot forward, so if you’re lagging behind, or if you’re just going through the motions, you’re not gonna survive.

What is the most important thing (in your opinion) that you have learned while working at Innovative?
How you treat your customers goes a very long way. It the creed that we live by. You see it the most when you receive bad customer service.

What's the best experience you’ve had while working at Innovative?
Going back to the 10% Tuesday. It was a very nice surprise when the company re-compensated us that went through the cutbacks. (Editor's Note: Several years after employees were asked to take a 10 percent pay cut for several months, that "lost" money was returned by company owners to affected employees who still were working at IIDM.)

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