Despite Economy, Vollmer Expands Training Programs
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Despite Economy, Vollmer Expands Training Programs

Vollmer has launched Vollmer University, a professional development program that offers staff the opportunity to learn new ideas, and share information on best practices in public relations.

Paul Holmes

  HOUSTON—The fundamental rules of good management apply in good times and in bad. Smart agencies invested in their people during the Internet boom, and the smartest are continuing to do so even though the boom has ended. Houston-based Vollmer is one of them. The firm, which reported 2000 revenues of $10 million, up 47 percent on the previous year, announced two new employee education programs designed to keep employees on the cutting edge of technology and increase loyalty.
 
Vollmer has launched Vollmer University, a professional development program that offers staff the opportunity to learn new ideas, and share information on best practices in public relations. It includes monthly presentations by internal and external experts on subjects ranging from brand building to analyst relations.
 
“The idea for Vollmer University came after staff within the agency expressed an interested in more professional development,” says human resources manager Sue Cox. “In the past we have sent employees to conferences outside of the office for educational purposes, but Vollmer University allows all staff the opportunity to continuously learn and grow.”
 
In addition to Vollmer University sessions, the firm is holding “brown bag” lunches once a month, bringing in local media representatives or professionals from related fields such as multimedia or design.
 
Says agency president Carolyn Mayo, “Often employees are so buys with client demands that finding time to leave the office to attend a local seminar can be a challenge. Scheduling brown bag sessions during the lunch hour ensures more employees benefit from the session.” Mayo says professional development is one of the things prospective employees always ask about during the interview process, and agency founder and chief executives says the firm will remain committed to training no matter what the economic climate.
 
“No matter what the economy is, you have to take care of your people,” she says. Vollmer says that her firm has been protected against the worst of the downturn by the fact that it has a balanced portfolio of old and new economy accounts. Clients include Denny’s, Haliburton, Jiffy Lube, Microsoft, Pennzoil, and Travelocity.com.
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