By Geoff Shepstone, president, Telecom Brokerage Inc.
Earlier this month I participated in yet another great XO incentive event. TBI along with seven other agencies were prize winners in the CLEC’s Summer Blitz spiff contest. TBI qualified by being one of the top three Business Partners in overall sales during the spiff timeframe.
The prize was a trip for two to San Diego to watch one of the most anticipated NFL games of the season – Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego Chargers. The tickets included a catered private lounge and field access prior to kickoff. In addition, we received two nights accommodation at the Westin Horton Plaza, which is located in the city’s Gas Light District and two roundtrip tickets to San Diego. Since the flight from my hometown, Chicago, to San Diego is almost four and a half hours, I extended the stay an extra night so that my wife, Connie, and I could enjoy one of my favorite cities. We arrived Saturday afternoon and spent the day walking around exploring the The Gas Light District.
Other participants included Steve Rome and Michael Swallow from Advantage Communications Group, Ted and Jake Schuman from PlanetOne Communications, Dana Topping from Intelisys, Russ Bishop and Bill Beers from Gryphone Telecom Consultants, Jacy Shillan and Stacey McCormick from World Telecom Group, Gregory and Luke Gutos from USA PhoneCenters, Stuart Johnson and Terry Eisenman from National Energy Services Company, and Brian and Maudie Swanstrom from ConnectHere. XO executives on hand included Jim Delis, Tom Cady, Frank Reyes, Todd Kerr, Duane Cameron and Matt Winterburn.
Sunday was game day, and prior to the game XO management and other participants met in the lobby of the hotel. A short bus ride later we arrived at QUALCOMM Stadium. Shortly after walking on to the sidelines of the field, we were joined by wrestling celebrity Hulk Hogan. In the brief conversation I had with him, he seemed to be a down-to-earth person. However, I was surprised that the spectators were more interested in Hulk than any of the NFL players.
The game was interesting. When the opening kickoff was run back for a Chargers touchdown, the home crowd went wild. The Colts’ quarterback, Peyton Manning, threw a career-high six interceptions and the team’s future Hall of Fame kicker, Adam Vinatieri, missed two chip shots, enabling San Diego to win.
During part of the game it drizzled (Southern Californians called it rain) so having the lounge to escape to was a welcome luxury. It also gave me the opportunity to talk one-on-one with XO management. At one point during the game I arrived at the lounge and found Tom Cady working e-mails on his blackberry. I asked him if his working during the game was indicative of the level of dedication to work that it takes to become a executive with a major carrier? Yes, he said, adding “most days I work from 8 to 7 and since I have small children, once they are in bed, I usually put in more hours into the evening.” Tom and the rest of the XO team’ s dedication shows; XO has developed one of the most successful agent programs in the country.
I am told by XO there are even bigger incentive trip plans for 2008. It will be hard to top this year’s Club MVP trip, which will be held at the incredible Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. TBI already has won several trips for two to the Bahamas in February 2008 for sales performance in 2007.
Special teams warming up during pre-game.
TBI’s Geoff Shepstone with XO’s President of Sales Jim Delis.
Hulk Hogan with Connie Shepstone.
A view from the VIP seats at Qualcomm Stadium.
Geoffrey Shepstone is president and owner of master agency Telecom Brokerage Inc. Shepstone’s leadership has been instrumental in building TBI to become one of the country’s largest master agencies. He also currently holds the following board and advisory board positions: Eyezon Technology LLC, board member; Channel Partner Conference & Expo, advisory board member; and Level 3, advisory board member.