Ramon & Ephraim Talk Cutting-Edge Expertise

SOCBOX

Ephraim, our CEO, speaks with Ramon, Director of Services, about how Ramon joined the team, how we foster a culture of cutting-edge expertise, and more. BONUS: At 1:54, Ramon talks about how he proposed to his wife--and she thought it was meant for someone else.

Let's have a conversation



Video transcript

Ephraim Ebstein: “So the first time I heard of Ramon, I got a call; one of our clients was buying a set of buildings that were owned by Smith Care. Ramon, his last name is Smith. And the new owner said, ‘Hey, there’s this guy over here, he’s an administrator of the building,’ which is like, what’s another word for administrator? ED?”

Ramon Smith: “Executive director.”

EE: “Executive director, yeah, so that’s more than just IT administrator. He runs IT but he’s also—well, tell them what you were doing.”

RS: “So, yeah, I started off, graduated from University of San Diego and was an HR director for the facilities. There were about 500 employees, three or four facilities.”

EE: “Yeah.”

RS: “And from there, I turned into a nursing home administrator. We were trying to find and recruit a nursing home administrator; I was having some challenges. So the corporate administrator said, ‘Hey, you know everybody’s job; you may as well take the test and run the building.’ At the same time, I was also taking care of the IT infrastructure. So I was taking care of all of the computers at all of the buildings, and that’s mostly what I was doing was HR, IT and running a nursing home.”

EE: “Yeah, he was doing everything. So we got the call, heard about him, and we’re like, ‘Well, we need—we’re taking over IT in the area. We need someone on the team—it was more—it really just looked like an engineering position at the time and we went up there, we met Ramon, we ate at  Orange Works which is like—”

RS: “Yeah, it has like orange soft-serve, and sandwiches with some really soft bread.”

EE: “If you’re going through Porterville, there might not be that much to see

but you can stop at Orange Works, that place is…”

RS: “Lot of oranges to see.”

EE: “Yeah, lot of oranges, yeah, it’s good. So we went there and right away knew that this guy is cool. He was a pilot, you were flying around. Tell them the story; like I think at the time you were just getting engaged or had just gotten engaged. You had the story about flying.”

RS: “Yeah, we were—I’m a pilot, I fly small plane, Cessnas, and I told my girlfriend-at-the-time that we were just going to go flying for the day. I took her, and it had just rained; the mountains were beautiful, super green and luscious. So we jump in the plane, took off, and as we came over one of the crests of one of the hills, there was, in white chalk, all over the hill said ‘Marry me?’ Huge, huge letters: the size of two F-250s.”

EE: “That’s good.”

RS: “Huge, huge! And she couldn’t believe it at first; she thought it was not for her, it was for somebody else. She’s like, ‘oh, look what other people did down there! That’s awesome!’ And I was like, ‘No, that’s—that’s for you…’”

EE: “That’s pretty cool. So we figured, ‘Man, we’ve got this guy, jack of all trades,’ but he was super—I remember going in the buildings. They didn’t necessarily have all of the right setup when it comes to like infrastructure, but everything that was there was like really utilized to the top max that you could get, you know: locked down, streamlined with what you had, all that kind of stuff.”

RS: “Yeah, we tried to maximize the performance of the things that we did have, you know, because it costs a lot of money to replace all of that, and we had just moved to electronic records. So everything was… some of the things were old, some of the things were newer, but we wanted to maximize everything that we had.”

EE: “Yeah, we knew right away when we saw that, we’re like, ‘Okay, this guy has thinking that’s looking at maximizing what’s there,’ and that’s really a principle that we have in our business: you know, of course we want to set everybody up with the right stuff, but we also want them to get the absolute most they can out of their existing investment, their existing environment, without just having to go out and spend more money. We want them to get the best that they can out of it. So, yeah.”

RS: ”So I started as a nursing home administrator, and actually after graduating, it was HR Director, became nursing home administrator, all the while maintaining IT infrastructure. And from there, the family was selling off the nursing homes and they were selling to an existing client, right?”

EE: “Yeah, an existing client of ours, That’s kind of how it happened.”

RS: “Yeah, and they were still a young client; FIT Solutions was still a young company, and there was kind of this back-and-forth conversation. Ephraim and Joel came down to visit me, and we had a lot of phone conversations. When it all got figured out, it was really exciting to partner with them because the goal was always to really treat the clients well.”

EE: “Yeah.”

RS: “I really appreciated the goal; it was just truly to treat the clients well.”

EE: “Yeah.”

RS: “So from there, I started working with FIT, started doing more projects, and I took the footprint from the facilities I was doing, trying to maximize the use of all the hardware we had, and do the same thing across the other facilities that FIT had at the time.”

EE: “Yeah. One good thing about Ramon is, like—and we still use this as an example—so he was able, even though he was, at the time, the only boots-on-the-ground in that particular region, he leveraged the whole team. So he used the whole team for support and everything. So when he actually moved out of the region, the region didn’t suffer because they had been used to having a team model, a team environment. And now that Ramon wasn’t local—he was still on the team, they still had Ramon, he just wasn’t in their backyard— but they had the whole team just the same way. So I think it was a great case study of how our model was able to work successfully and then, I mean you helped us—how many building onboardings did you project manage yourself? Because you helped us get that new model of onboarding.”

RS: “Yeah we probably handled 10 to 15—15 to 20 onboardings of new skilled nursing facilities and we got the onboarding down to a science.”

EE: “Yeah, we got it down to a science and then it was just then from there, after we got those first ones done, then it was just like, just standard practice. Now, we can onboard a dozen buildings in a weekend and it’s just like—*shrug*.”

RS: “Yeah, I think the shortest timeframe of onboarding was less than 24 hours’ notice. We have to take the template, apply it to the facility, and just go. Everybody knew what their plans were.”

EE: “Yeah. So that’s been amazing; we’ve been able to duplicate that and train it and now it’s been exciting, your new role: Director of Services. It encompasses—well, now you’ve been in the role a little while—multiple departments, right?”

RS: “Yeah. So we’ve got, not only the Managed Services, but Professional Services, our Central Technology team that handles things internally, and our cybersecurity department.”

EE: “Yeah; you got a lot. So it’s big! A lot of work to get that done.”

EE: “Oh man—working with Ramon is awesome. It feels really, really great to have a team that you can rely on. I mean, having a rockstar team is how you win the Super Bowl and there’s no one player that can win the Super Bowl by themselves. It takes the whole unit. And so having Ramon on the team, he’s really different than some of the other team members. He’s… I think he’s a big—you’re a big thinker. That’s one of the things I noticed; you’re a big thinker, definitely positive, definitely a doer. I think I react more; like, I’m more of a hammer. He’s more of a knife, maybe; like a little more precision, and a little more… I don’t know. But we work good together! So it’s fun to work with Ramon.”

RS: “Elite cutting-edge expertise is something that I’ve tried to take from my experiences coming into FIT Solutions as a nursing home administrator. I figured if I can take that experience of how nursing homes operate, how they run, what the administrators or executive directors think, what the nurses think, what the CNAs think, then all of that knowledge, when put into all of the engineers that support those facilities, it’s as if they’ve all been in the industry for years. So we try to take that expertise that comes and apply it to the industries and the clients that we have and learn more and more about them. But that’s just how nursing homes operate; all of our guys have tons of training through several different platforms on the latest and greatest—the newest things that are coming about and SOCBOX, in our cybersecurity department, every day they’re tracking on several websites what the latest vulnerabilities are, they’re tracking what the latest news articles are, and we’re sharing that with our clients to make sure that they’re up to date on those things.”

EE: “Yeah, I think what you bring out is amazing because what we’re able to do, solving business problems for our clients, when you have that experience that our team has, and that elite expertise, you’re able to navigate the client, which I love, through different IT breakpoints, let’s call it, in their business. If they’re scaling, if they’re growing. And we can set it up—we set it up at the best price, but the right way, that they cruise through those breakpoints. Because we come into companies and they haven’t done it right, and then they kind of get this major breakpoint. They have what a lot of people call ‘IT debt,’ and it’s just like, man… It can either be disaster for the company or a lot of money trying to catch up to where they should be. And so for us to kind of take them through that lifecycle and get them through those break points when it comes to IT, it just saves them so much money and makes them so much more productive. It feels good when we’re able to do that for people.”

RS: “I’m looking forward to the future, the growth of FIT Solutions, and taking it to every large city in the United States. We’re trying to work on improving our onboardings across all industries, not just nursing homes, making those super super fast and efficient and we are also working on making the work that the engineers are doing much more efficient so that they can focus on that high-level strategy and the high-level impact.”

EE: “Yeah, I’m super stoked. Everything that you’ve been doing is helping us be more scalable which in turn benefits the client in a big way—solving their business problems—and making our environment way better for the employee as well. So it’s exciting!”

 


Video transcript

Ephraim Ebstein: “So the first time I heard of Ramon, I got a call; one of our clients was buying a set of buildings that were owned by Smith Care. Ramon, his last name is Smith. And the new owner said, ‘Hey, there’s this guy over here, he’s an administrator of the building,’ which is like, what’s another word for administrator? ED?”

Ramon Smith: “Executive director.”

EE: “Executive director, yeah, so that’s more than just IT administrator. He runs IT but he’s also—well, tell them what you were doing.”

RS: “So, yeah, I started off, graduated from University of San Diego and was an HR director for the facilities. There were about 500 employees, three or four facilities.”

EE: “Yeah.”

RS: “And from there, I turned into a nursing home administrator. We were trying to find and recruit a nursing home administrator; I was having some challenges. So the corporate administrator said, ‘Hey, you know everybody’s job; you may as well take the test and run the building.’ At the same time, I was also taking care of the IT infrastructure. So I was taking care of all of the computers at all of the buildings, and that’s mostly what I was doing was HR, IT and running a nursing home.”

EE: “Yeah, he was doing everything. So we got the call, heard about him, and we’re like, ‘Well, we need—we’re taking over IT in the area. We need someone on the team—it was more—it really just looked like an engineering position at the time and we went up there, we met Ramon, we ate at  Orange Works which is like—”

RS: “Yeah, it has like orange soft-serve, and sandwiches with some really soft bread.”

EE: “If you’re going through Porterville, there might not be that much to see

but you can stop at Orange Works, that place is…”

RS: “Lot of oranges to see.”

EE: “Yeah, lot of oranges, yeah, it’s good. So we went there and right away knew that this guy is cool. He was a pilot, you were flying around. Tell them the story; like I think at the time you were just getting engaged or had just gotten engaged. You had the story about flying.”

RS: “Yeah, we were—I’m a pilot, I fly small plane, Cessnas, and I told my girlfriend-at-the-time that we were just going to go flying for the day. I took her, and it had just rained; the mountains were beautiful, super green and luscious. So we jump in the plane, took off, and as we came over one of the crests of one of the hills, there was, in white chalk, all over the hill said ‘Marry me?’ Huge, huge letters: the size of two F-250s.”

EE: “That’s good.”

RS: “Huge, huge! And she couldn’t believe it at first; she thought it was not for her, it was for somebody else. She’s like, ‘oh, look what other people did down there! That’s awesome!’ And I was like, ‘No, that’s—that’s for you…’”

EE: “That’s pretty cool. So we figured, ‘Man, we’ve got this guy, jack of all trades,’ but he was super—I remember going in the buildings. They didn’t necessarily have all of the right setup when it comes to like infrastructure, but everything that was there was like really utilized to the top max that you could get, you know: locked down, streamlined with what you had, all that kind of stuff.”

RS: “Yeah, we tried to maximize the performance of the things that we did have, you know, because it costs a lot of money to replace all of that, and we had just moved to electronic records. So everything was… some of the things were old, some of the things were newer, but we wanted to maximize everything that we had.”

EE: “Yeah, we knew right away when we saw that, we’re like, ‘Okay, this guy has thinking that’s looking at maximizing what’s there,’ and that’s really a principle that we have in our business: you know, of course we want to set everybody up with the right stuff, but we also want them to get the absolute most they can out of their existing investment, their existing environment, without just having to go out and spend more money. We want them to get the best that they can out of it. So, yeah.”

RS: ”So I started as a nursing home administrator, and actually after graduating, it was HR Director, became nursing home administrator, all the while maintaining IT infrastructure. And from there, the family was selling off the nursing homes and they were selling to an existing client, right?”

EE: “Yeah, an existing client of ours, That’s kind of how it happened.”

RS: “Yeah, and they were still a young client; FIT Solutions was still a young company, and there was kind of this back-and-forth conversation. Ephraim and Joel came down to visit me, and we had a lot of phone conversations. When it all got figured out, it was really exciting to partner with them because the goal was always to really treat the clients well.”

EE: “Yeah.”

RS: “I really appreciated the goal; it was just truly to treat the clients well.”

EE: “Yeah.”

RS: “So from there, I started working with FIT, started doing more projects, and I took the footprint from the facilities I was doing, trying to maximize the use of all the hardware we had, and do the same thing across the other facilities that FIT had at the time.”

EE: “Yeah. One good thing about Ramon is, like—and we still use this as an example—so he was able, even though he was, at the time, the only boots-on-the-ground in that particular region, he leveraged the whole team. So he used the whole team for support and everything. So when he actually moved out of the region, the region didn’t suffer because they had been used to having a team model, a team environment. And now that Ramon wasn’t local—he was still on the team, they still had Ramon, he just wasn’t in their backyard— but they had the whole team just the same way. So I think it was a great case study of how our model was able to work successfully and then, I mean you helped us—how many building onboardings did you project manage yourself? Because you helped us get that new model of onboarding.”

RS: “Yeah we probably handled 10 to 15—15 to 20 onboardings of new skilled nursing facilities and we got the onboarding down to a science.”

EE: “Yeah, we got it down to a science and then it was just then from there, after we got those first ones done, then it was just like, just standard practice. Now, we can onboard a dozen buildings in a weekend and it’s just like—*shrug*.”

RS: “Yeah, I think the shortest timeframe of onboarding was less than 24 hours’ notice. We have to take the template, apply it to the facility, and just go. Everybody knew what their plans were.”

EE: “Yeah. So that’s been amazing; we’ve been able to duplicate that and train it and now it’s been exciting, your new role: Director of Services. It encompasses—well, now you’ve been in the role a little while—multiple departments, right?”

RS: “Yeah. So we’ve got, not only the Managed Services, but Professional Services, our Central Technology team that handles things internally, and our cybersecurity department.”

EE: “Yeah; you got a lot. So it’s big! A lot of work to get that done.”

EE: “Oh man—working with Ramon is awesome. It feels really, really great to have a team that you can rely on. I mean, having a rockstar team is how you win the Super Bowl and there’s no one player that can win the Super Bowl by themselves. It takes the whole unit. And so having Ramon on the team, he’s really different than some of the other team members. He’s… I think he’s a big—you’re a big thinker. That’s one of the things I noticed; you’re a big thinker, definitely positive, definitely a doer. I think I react more; like, I’m more of a hammer. He’s more of a knife, maybe; like a little more precision, and a little more… I don’t know. But we work good together! So it’s fun to work with Ramon.”

RS: “Elite cutting-edge expertise is something that I’ve tried to take from my experiences coming into FIT Solutions as a nursing home administrator. I figured if I can take that experience of how nursing homes operate, how they run, what the administrators or executive directors think, what the nurses think, what the CNAs think, then all of that knowledge, when put into all of the engineers that support those facilities, it’s as if they’ve all been in the industry for years. So we try to take that expertise that comes and apply it to the industries and the clients that we have and learn more and more about them. But that’s just how nursing homes operate; all of our guys have tons of training through several different platforms on the latest and greatest—the newest things that are coming about and SOCBOX, in our cybersecurity department, every day they’re tracking on several websites what the latest vulnerabilities are, they’re tracking what the latest news articles are, and we’re sharing that with our clients to make sure that they’re up to date on those things.”

EE: “Yeah, I think what you bring out is amazing because what we’re able to do, solving business problems for our clients, when you have that experience that our team has, and that elite expertise, you’re able to navigate the client, which I love, through different IT breakpoints, let’s call it, in their business. If they’re scaling, if they’re growing. And we can set it up—we set it up at the best price, but the right way, that they cruise through those breakpoints. Because we come into companies and they haven’t done it right, and then they kind of get this major breakpoint. They have what a lot of people call ‘IT debt,’ and it’s just like, man… It can either be disaster for the company or a lot of money trying to catch up to where they should be. And so for us to kind of take them through that lifecycle and get them through those break points when it comes to IT, it just saves them so much money and makes them so much more productive. It feels good when we’re able to do that for people.”

RS: “I’m looking forward to the future, the growth of FIT Solutions, and taking it to every large city in the United States. We’re trying to work on improving our onboardings across all industries, not just nursing homes, making those super super fast and efficient and we are also working on making the work that the engineers are doing much more efficient so that they can focus on that high-level strategy and the high-level impact.”

EE: “Yeah, I’m super stoked. Everything that you’ve been doing is helping us be more scalable which in turn benefits the client in a big way—solving their business problems—and making our environment way better for the employee as well. So it’s exciting!”