Work Portfolio

This page is under construction as I add details to some of my projects below.

Lean Six Sigma Training to be Used to Improve Pharmacy Flow

Started a Closed Door Pharmacy

New and Improved New Employee Orientation Video

Corporate Blog

Long Term Disability Project

Long Term Disability Training

PPACA Project

Transition of Company to an HSA

 

New 401k

When I started at Chrysalis our 401k was with Morgan Stanley.  We were probably a relatively small account, but the service we received was poor to say the least.  After comparing the funds in our 401k at Morgan Stanley to the funds in our Health Savings Account I realized we could be doing much better.  At the time FirstWest benefits had just started a financial arm with Jeff Scott.  Jeff pitched the idea of becoming our advisor and laid out a plan to improve the 401k offering.  We looked at a number of different providers and ended up selecting GreatWest Retirement.  At Morgan our default investment was cash, a horrible idea for a 401k, Jeff helped us get age based funds set  up as our qualified default investment alternative (QDIA).  He also helped us get a Roth option added to the plan, as well as setting up a formalized investment committee and investment rules to ensure the funds we have in our 401k are top notch.  Jeff and FirstWest have done an incredible job at sculpting a 401k plan we can be proud of.  GreatWest has a great online platform that is easy to use and helps employees choose which funds they should be in.

 

Dave Ramsey Financial Wellness Workplace Training

I discovered Dave Ramsey through an add Zions Bank was running.  Zion’s was calling it the End Program.  I figured if Zion’s was endorsing Dave Ramsey it was worth checking him out.  Instead of going to the group courses I purchased a home study kit with the DVD’s.  Watching the DVD’s totally changed my perspective’s on money.  I knew if the program could help me it could help others at my company too.  I looked into how I could offer the training at Chrysalis and ended up flying to Nashville to Dave’s headquarters to be trained as a Financial Wellness Workplace Trainer.  It was a fun training and the Ramsey group knows how to treat their students right.  After the training I have hosted classes in Orem, Ogden and Logan, Salt Lake and Park City, Cedar City, St. George, Las Vegas Nevada, and Reno/Carson Nevada.  The trainings are very good and I always get good feedback.  I have also taught a number of community courses at local churches.  There is nothing more rewarding than having someone pull you aside a year later and rave about how they are finally debt free.  It has been a very rewarding experience!  If you haven’t gone through Financial Peace University you need to!

Plum Card

When I first started at Chrysalis we were using a credit card that gave us points instead of cash back.  In 2007 I did some research and the Plum card had just come out.  They were offering 2% cash back if you paid your balance off each month.  So I switched Chrysalis over from the points card to the cash back card.  As of this writing we had saved over $125,000.00 by switching to the card.  Amex has since reduced the cash back for other Plum Card Holders, but they grandfathered us in to the original 2% savings.  While I do not own a personal credit card the Plum card has saved us quite a bit of money.

Manager Training Portal

Paycard Training

Manager Hours and Schedule Training

Benefits Training Portal

Website Design and Development

The Chrysalis website has a number of projects embedded into it. Custom graphics and photographs, Heroes at Work videos, house tour videos, a training library, management photos, client spotlight videos like “Austin” and “Jack”, and a blog. The website has been a very fun ongoing project and we have received many positive comments about the professional content. I am sure in a few years I will look back and realize how much better it could have been, but for now it portrays our company and mission well.

The website is one of the mile posts where I really started to develop different skills and where skills I had learned on isolated projects blended together. I had not planned on building the website since I had no formal training in website design. I had originally met with a firm to create the website for us. I had already looked at a number of other websites and I had picked out the design elements that I liked and wanted to blend into my site. It had to have a nice scrolling banner screen, pop up videos with background overlays, and we had to make the website clean and crisp. After meeting with the web design firm I left with a bit of sticker shock. They wanted 30 to 50 thousand to complete the website. I quickly determined that since I already envisioned what the site should look like I could create the website for cheaper than the 30 to 50 thousand dollar quote. All I had to do was learn how to create a website and I would be all set! 🙂 No problem. . . Looking back at most of my projects, my can do attitude has gotten me over my head more than once, luckily when drowning I know how to fight through the learning curve and back to the top.

Luckily, I had discovered Lynda.com and I quickly learned about Cascading Style Sheets and Div containers (the industry was transitioning from table layouts to CSS and Div containers at this time). Comparing Div containers to Tupperware helped me visualize the div concepts the best. A couple of weeks of early mornings and late nights and I had a new website that was just as I had imagined, complete with scrolling banner screen, pop up videos, Google analytics, Google maps, and a search bar. Had I not thrown myself over my head I may have never learned this valuable and incredibly fun skill! I also have been able to use the videography and photography skills I learned on the job to record feature videos and take photos for the website. I have talked about some of those projects below.

Chrysalis-Website

Website Feature Videos and Projects

Heroes at Work Videos

We have so many great employees at Chrysalis that I knew a “Heroes at Work” section of the website would be fun. My vision is to have a wall of heroes in this section. There is no shortage of heroes at our company, there are people doing amazing things every day! They are just a lot of work and I need to make the time to add more.

To complete the Heroes at Work segments I travel to the employee. I set up a green screen behind the employee and set up the lighting. The lighting is difficult because I want to avoid shiny spots and highlights on their face. I set up my audio equipment and make sure I am getting good audio. I set up my high-definition camera and carefully set the white balance, aperture and shutter speeds, green screen lighting, and make sure the audio levels are correct.

It is fun to spend an hour or more with the hero asking them questions about their job and their perspective on life. It is interesting to watch a theme emerge out of their stories. I am always amazed at the great things these people are doing even when no one is watching.

After shooting the video, I take it back to my office, import it into Adobe Premiere and chop the video into interesting segments. I arrange the video segments into a compelling story.  I then move the footage into Adobe After Effects to remove the green screen that is behind the person. Getting a perfect cut out of the person is a difficult and time-consuming process as I dial in the multiple settings, and in many cases multiple layers and “keys” to get the best result. I select the new background and insert it behind the footage and make more tweaks to the keyed footage to make sure it blends well with the background. Other design elements and special effects are also added to support the story and make it flow better. For the Heroes segments, I have used a spotlight element since we are “spotlighting” their contributions. One effect that I really like is having a supporting picture show up lightly in the spotlight behind the person. I think it adds a nice subtle effect.

The introduction and the ending credit effects were also fun to design. I used Andrew Kramer’s tutorials at videocopilot.net to learn some of the cool techniques to create this segment. If you have never watched one of his tutorials he does an incredible job of teaching while keeping the tutorial funny and engaging. Andrew creates some incredible tools.  I used a couple of his tutorials to perfect the closing credits on the newer videos. These videos show Chrysalis’ values and then it thanks the person for making a difference. At the end you see some gold particles, kind of like sparks, flying off the word “difference”. This is a particle effect that creates thousands of particles and the particles respond to the physics of the word moving in space. It is a neat effect that adds some fun drama to the closing scene.

In making these videos I have come to realize that it is not the huge heroic acts that make the biggest difference in the world. It is the simple anonymous acts of kindness when no one is watching that are often the most heroic. No one may ever know what you did, but you didn’t do it for glory, you did it because it was the right thing to do.

Paycards

A challenging project, that set a new standard in the industry, was working with my team to find a better way to help intellectually disabled clients manage their money. Most of the clients being served by Chrysalis receive Social Security Income. The Social Security Department has Chrysalis be the client’s Representative Payee to help them make sure they spend their money on needs first so their money lasts all month. Chrysalis, and most other companies like us, were setting up an individual bank account for each disabled individual where the Social Security money was deposited. The manager in the house would then manage the 3 to 4 clients bank accounts in the house. The house manager would have to split the rent, utilities, and other common living expenses between the clients living in the home and still make sure each client had enough money left to buy their own groceries, personal needs, and activities. In our industry turnover rates are high and we faced a number of issues including rent not being paid timely, utility shut offs, bounced checks, and all the problems that occur due to lack of budgeting prowess. To be fair, it is extremely complicated to manage that many budgets in each home and make sure everything flowed smoothly. On top of this, Social Security said that if a client had a Representative Payee the client was not allowed to have “direct access” to their bank account because Social Security was worried the clients would not spend their money appropriately, which is why we were assigned as a Representative Payee in the first place. So to be compliant we needed to get the bank accounts out of the individual’s names.

To solve the problem we opened up “Collective Accounts” for each geographic area. Social Security allows us to deposit all the client’s money in that area directly in the collective account as long as we still keep perfectly accurate records of what each client’s balance is. This allowed us to shift all recurring payments like rent and utilities to a trained account manager whose job it was to pay all the bills on time. We then partnered with Wells Fargo to issue Prepaid Debit Cards for each client. Each month we could push money on the Prepaid Debit Card so the clients could still buy their own groceries, go to movies, and have some control over their finances but they would not have direct access to all of their money.  This project has been incredibly successful, it has made our whole process extremely clean and transparent.  When audited by Social Security they named it a best practice.

As the program matured I developed a budgeting tool using Excel and vlookup tables to quickly and automatically create personalized budgets for each person. The budgeting tool analyzed a number of factors including current balance, paycard balance, foodstamps, and other spending habits to create an individualized budget based on their unique financial position. We have used the Prepaid program now since 2005 and it has been an amazing improvement. It allows the managers and direct support staff to worry less about the finances and focus more on giving excellent service. We have mitigated the issues of utility shut offs and late payments and have mitigated the chances of potential fraud on a client’s account. The program alleviates a lot of stress and frustration.  Some agencies in the industry continue to use the old method, some have patterend a program after our method, and some have tried to implement our method but have not been successful.

New Employee Orientation Video

One of my first tasks in my marketing role was developing a New Employee Orientation Video. Chrysalis had many offices and our New Employee Orientation consisted of someone going through the employee handbook page by endless page to make sure everyone knew our policies. It was a painful process, and did not paint the vision of making a difference, but it achieved the goal of educating. At the time Macromedia, the original makers of Flash and Dreamweaver before Adobe bought them out, had created training videos with a talking head in front of a perfectly white background. It was a very clean design, professional, and I loved the look. I knew that was the look I was going for in my training video. Apple uses a similar look in a lot of its promotional videos, it just pops.

At the time I did not realize that green screening was one of the more advanced videography effects and that there was a huge learning curve.  Set up matters, lighting really matters, your camera setting matter, your skill in After Effects applying and tweaking settings really matters.  I had to overcome each of those learning curves to finally come up with a product that looked professional.  Accidentally biting off so many learning curves at a time played to my benefit in the end because it forced me to learn more things. I had picked a project that required using a Green Screen during most of the two-hour video. Green screens are usually used for a special effect here or there, but not for the entire production. As mentioned, green screens need special lighting, attention to shadows and actually “pulling” out the green coloring as a special effect can be a tedious nightmare, especially when it is shot in Standard Definition video instead of High Definition video. How tedious? Each second of video has 30 pictures that make up that one second. In full body shots I would cast a shadow on the ground that would not key out. So I had to learn how to rotoscope (think of it as drawing a cookie cutter around my body to cut out the background frame by frame). Each time I moved, shifted weight, or made a gesture I would need to adjust the shape of the cookie cutter. That meant going through all 30 frames per second and adjusting the points each frame to make sure it was cutting out the background. It is a tedious painstaking process. Of course I did not know this when I picked out that style. Remember, at this point I had no formal training in videography, lighting, sound recording, editing, special effects, photography, digital touch up, adding music to videos and I had never used a green screen. My experience was limited to helping create our junior high TV program -after Channel 1- at West Lake Junior High during my 9th grade year.

To make a long story short I learned about three-point lighting, capturing good audio, how to edit, how to set up a teleprompter, how to light a green screen, how to edit footage, how to apply multiple keys to the same footage to get the cleanest look, and how to rotoscope(dynamic cookie cutters). The finished product was professional for its time and a vast improvement over reading the manual. It was good enough that one of our competitors bought a rebranded version from us and is still using it as of 2012. Chrysalis used the training for over 6 years. But, being a perfectionist I knew it would be a more inspiring training if we went into a house and actually showed new employees examples of exactly what making a difference was all about. Finally in 2012, I had the opportunity to retire this NEO Video for a new and improved HD training. It turned out AWESOME because the staff and clients in the house had a compelling story and really made a difference!

Manager Training Manual

Another manual I worked on was a Manager Training Manual. The manual documented which company forms to use and how to fill the forms out. It was a large project but turned out well. In hindsight I would have used the phrase “failure to follow this policy may result in termination” a lot less or not at all. It was a bit heavy handed and I hadn’t learned the art of helping people understand WHY a policy was created so instead I used harsher language. Probably a good compliance check for the HR department but it did not make for the most motivating reading material.

A great source for helping people learn the “why” of their jobs is Simon Sinek’s talk on the “golden circle”. You can watch the talk on Ted.com.

Policy and Procedure Manual

My career at Chrysalis started, in 2002, with the making of a policy and Procedure manual. It was during this project that I learned the value of hunting down best practices and even being willing to reach out to expert’s in the field. In 2002 the expert on policy manuals, or at least the only one writing highly rated books on the process, was Stephen B. Page. I used a number of Stephen Page’s books on policy and procedure writing to develop the layout and structure of the manual. Stephen was even willing to answer some of my questions as I made the layout into my own. I determined that an appropriate structure and system was paramount in making future additions and amendments. I wrote the policies in Word but used Adobe to create the finished manual, complete with a linked table of contents. This allowed me to quickly dig into a policy, change it, PDF it and replace the old policy in the book. Because of my numbering conventions each of the policies was a stand along document that was individually numbered so I didn’t have to worry about renumbering the pages as the manual grew or as a policy change grew from 2 pages to 8. I.E. policy 1-1 page 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3 etc.

This project was beneficial for a number of reasons.

  1. Since few policies were officially written when I started the manual it allowed me to ask a lot of questions about how the company operated. This allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the company.
  2. I had not used Adobe Professional before so I was able to start my learning curve. This software has come in handy as I have now used it to create dynamic forms that grow and change based on user inputs (very cool applications for this).
  3. I originally was going to school with thoughts of being an attorney.  After creating over 450 pages of legalese, and interning at a law firm, I knew that occupation was not for me. 🙂
  4. Since I did not have any direct oversight on the project, and since I worked from home for part of the year as I finished my MBA, I had to assert a lot of self-discipline and self-mastery to stick to the tedious project.
  5. I learned to seek out the best sources of information, including the authors of books, and have found they are usually happy to help.

In the end it was a great first project to sink my teeth into and prove that I could complete difficult things. Over 10 years later there is not a ton I would change to improve the layout and content of the manual.

Policy-Pics

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