Category Archives: PAR Staff

A Salute to Richard Brummer: Part 3

This week, Richard Brummer, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance will be retiring after 12.5 years with PAR. This is the third part in a series where PAR staff share their memories and well wishes on Richard’s retirement.

Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2? Catch up now.

We will miss you, Richard!
We will miss you, Richard!

The first time I ever met Richard was when I was doing post-hire interviews my first week at PAR. I remember walking into his office and seeing a display case with an electronic tether. I was a little intimidated. I came to find out that he was the project manager of the team that created the electronic tether. I think this may have intimidated me a little bit more, but as I got to know Richard both inside and outside of work, his wisdom, integrity, sense of humor, and caring made him stand out as both an employee and a human being. He quickly became one of my favorite people and I am sad to say that life at PAR will truly not be the same without him!

-Rebecca Gerhardstein, Senior Project Director

 

Richard has a quiet but impactful way of helping others. Beside the many Customers (internal and external) he has assisted over the years, Richard and his wife Sandi have been faithful supporters of Meals On Wheels of Tampa. As a company, PAR is an Adopt-A-Route Partner of Meals On Wheels (MOW), with staff taking turns delivering meals to the homebound in our community. Richard has been a vital part of this group of volunteers. For the first few years, he organized and managed the PAR group of volunteers, while also delivering an additional weekly MOW route with his wife Sandi. By speaking with the recipients and others, I learned he and Sandi did many other things behind the scenes to help the recipients. Such acts of kindness included visiting numerous additional times with 90+ year old recipient Dorothy, who lived alone, and continuing to visit her frequently when she moved to an assisted living facility; constructing a wooden ramp so one of the wheelchair-bound recipients could more easily access his home; and helping one of the recipients, who was a self-acknowledged hoarder, clean out her apartment. The list goes on. We will miss Richard and the many ways he has helped all of us at PAR, as well as those in our community.

-Cathy Smith, Vice President of Community Relations

 

Richard was an extremely valuable member of the PAR Team. Not just for his many contributions to our success, but also his cheery disposition and charitable heart. I will miss the delightful chats, stories, and delicious goodies from Sandi. Thank you for all that you have done for PAR!

-Vicki McFadden, Permissions Specialist

 

In the 9 years I have known Richard, he has always been such a pleasure to work with—not only great at his job but also funny and warm. My favorite memory with him is when he presented me with a framed screenshot of a certain PARiConnect screen, the wording on which he and I had debated heavily. I won the debate, and he was sweet enough to frame the results for me. Of course, the framed screenshot is still hanging on my office wall. Richard is just that type of person—caring, kind, a real friend. I will truly miss working with him.

-Erika Thompson, Manager of Production

 

Richard Brummer is one of the nicest people I have ever met and worked with. He’s so kind and thoughtful while always keeping you on your toes with his joshing. I’ll always remember when he surprised me with my “No Love Like Dog Love” mug during Christmas. I felt so special that day. His visits to my desk are going to be so missed. I hope he knows how much he is loved!

-Lauren Howland, Desktop Publisher

 

Good luck, Richard! We will miss you!

 

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A Salute to Richard Brummer: Part 2

This week, Richard Brummer, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance will be retiring after 12.5 years with PAR. This is the second part in a series where PAR staff share their memories and well wishes on Richard’s retirement.

Did you miss Part 1? Click here.

For months, every time I walked into Richard’s office, my eyes were drawn to something strange, and I couldn’t fathom why he had it. Perched beside his monitor is a section of a tree trunk about a foot and a half in length and about six inches in diameter. Glued to this piece of wood is an assortment of brightly-colored plastic bugs. For a long time, I just thought that he really liked the outdoors and it was his alternative to a painting of a tree. I asked about it after a while, and Richard explained that one of his many responsibilities is to find errors and inconsistencies in our digital products during development. Any issue he and the team finds is logged in a central place that is used to communicate with the programmers. Issues are called ‘bugs’ in the programming world. Those bugs are recorded in a log. A bug log. This whole time, he’s had a bug log in his office.

-Amy Kovacs, Research Assistant

 

Richard Brummer brought a bottle of champagne to every meeting during the development of PARiConnect. Here, he opens that bottle in the PAR parking lot on January 2, 2013, the day of the PARiConnect launch.
Richard Brummer brought a bottle of champagne to every meeting during the development of PARiConnect. Here, he opens that bottle in the PAR parking lot on January 2, 2013, the day of the PARiConnect launch.

For the past 12 years, Richard has been passionately committed to ensuring that all PAR products contain no errors or quality problems when they are published. And he has done an exceptional job leading this effort and achieving his objective more than 99% of the time. He has developed innovative processes and procedures to evaluate and test product quality, and has trained others to be able to meet the same standards.

Richard also led the effort to design and develop PARiConnect and ensure that it was completed and launched in early 2013. He has continued to be a very strong champion for the ongoing development and evolution of the PARiConnect platform and experience, and has spent endless hours teaching our Customers and others about it. PARiConnect would not be the same without all of the major contributions he has made to it.

-R. Bob Smith, III, PhD, Chairman and CEO

 

Richard has made so many valuable contributions to PAR over the years, particularly his tireless work to help build PARiConnect into a powerful and user-friendly platform. He also worked on a daily basis to ensure that every product published by PAR was error free. But what I’ll remember most is his commitment to doing things the right way. He has always been consistent and steadfast in his beliefs. He fought on behalf of our customers and did a great job of keeping our Customer Support department informed. For that and many other reasons, we’ll miss him dearly. Thanks for everything, Richard!

-Daniel McFadden, Manager of Customer Support

 

Richard has always inspired me to think differently about things. His Innovation Academy was an amazing course that made us really question protocol and view things in a different light. Not only did it help us, but it helped our Customers and made PAR an even better company. I’ll miss Richard’s honesty and wit as well as his almost daily visits to our department (often with treats from his wife). I hope that he truly enjoys his retirement as it is well deserved. He will be missed greatly.

-Teri Lyon, Senior Technical Support Specialist

 

Richard and the accounting staff during a company celebration.
Richard and the accounting staff during a company celebration.

I will miss Richard’s impromptu visits. He is one of the few employees who prefers face to face meetings and walks through the south building regularly. He is very personable and I enjoy his visits and his good nature and sense of humor. I’ll also miss Sandi’s baking. Oh, and he has been extremely helpful with our fixed asset inventories!

-Karen Clifford, Senior Accountant

Did you miss Part 1? Click here. Come back tomorrow for Part 3.

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A Salute to Richard Brummer: Part 1

“Real artists ship” is a quote attributed to Steve Jobs of Apple, but around the PAR office, it is a phrase closely associated with Richard Brummer, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance. This week, Richard will be retiring after 12.5 years with the company.

When Richard started at PAR in 2004, he thought he would be working on developing psychological assessment products in print. But in the years since, that has only been a small part of his responsibilities. Most notably, he has been a dedicated champion of the PARiConnect platform since the early days of development. Every PAR Customer has felt Richard’s influence—his tireless dedication to making sure each product is error-free, easily understandable, and intuitively designed is clear on everything he touches. Richard has taught all of us so much about creativity, innovation, and – just like his motto – making sure the focus is always on the Customer receiving a product that makes their job easier.

Here are a few memories we would like to share:

 

I believe that it was, in large part, Richard’s motivation to speak directly to Customers, gather information on their needs, and transform that into PARiConnect functions that lead to the excellent reputation the system has today.

Also, the treats that his wife makes for us are also spectacular.

-Julie Alexander, PhD, Senior Clinical Assessment Consultant

 

Richard Brummer at the PARiConnect launch on January 2, 2013.
Richard Brummer at the PARiConnect launch on January 2, 2013.

I remember Richard taking over as project manager on the development of PARiConnect. With a gleam in his eye, he courageously led a cross-functional team of employees and outside developers in a short time frame to develop a testing and reporting platform with the focus on the user experience. His leadership taught the entire team that anything is possible with perseverance and focus. I have learned so much from Richard throughout my time and PAR and will miss him tremendously!

 

-Donna Drackett, Vice President/Chief Financial Office

 

I thought the thorough and organized way in which Richard organized and elicited help for testing of the PARiConnect upgrade that was completed in 2015 was masterful! He provided clear and concise explanations of what needed to be tested, and how to accomplish it. It made it easy for many of us to assist.

-Kay Cunningham, President and Chief Operating Officer

 

One of my favorite Richardisms: That’s been around since Moses was a Cub Scout!

-Sue Trujillo, Manager of Data Collection

 

Richard was a great asset to me when I was developing forms for the first time. I truly appreciate his eye when it comes to usability and what will make sense to our Customers. He continues to be my go-to person for review when I am mocking up a form.

-Jenny Greene, Senior Research Assistant

 

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this three-part series.

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A look inside PAR:
What is Quality Assurance?

PAR prides itself on creating assessment products that are both high in quality and in value. The process of taking an idea and molding it into a useful product involves the hard work and dedication of many people, and although no single effort or particular phase of development is more important than another, some roles are naturally more visible than others. One department Customers may not be familiar with, but certainly benefit from, is the unwavering diligence of Quality Assurance.

Richard Brummer, MBA, M Ed IT, CSTE, Senior Manager of Quality Assurance (QA), helps shed some light on the role the QA department plays in the development of PAR products.

 

What is quality assurance?

Quality assurance is a continuous, unrelenting focus on the processes of product development.

Why is quality assurance important?

QA works closely with each print and software product from its initial design all the way through postproduction support, giving feedback about usability and accuracy.

“You cannot enhance a product’s quality during the final testing phases because that it too far down the road,” Brummer explains. “Quality begins at the very beginning.”

QA’s close involvement from the initial design ensures that any inaccuracies are corrected quickly, which saves time and money, and eliminates the risk of persisting errors.

How does the PAR QA process improve our assessment products?

Most companies enhance a product’s quality by investing all focus into testing the product in order to find and correct defects. While this approach is effective, it is also lacking because it does not necessarily make the product better; it simply provides a product without inaccuracies.

At PAR, a product that simply has no inaccuracies is not good enough.

“We take a more progressive and proactive approach during the entire product development lifecycle that focuses on maximizing the Customer experience with a product that is also free from defects,” Brummer says.

To do this, QA utilizes best practices developed by the software industry for usability, which they apply to both print and software products. It’s not enough to just say that our products work; they also have to work well, be easy to use, be useful, consistent, and pleasing to look at.

Every product’s forms and norms, for instance, are developed with the examiner in mind. Is there space for examiners to note every piece of important information they will need? Is everything clearly labeled? Is the pertinent information organized in a way that will make sense during administration and scoring?

“Whether designing a graphical user interface or a paper assessment form, it is paramount to highlight important information and present it in a readable fashion,” Brummer explains. Even if the forms and norms tables are technically accurate, anything that may be confusing or hard to read introduces the potential for user error, which increases the risk of the user misreporting results.

PAR’s confidence in each product can be largely attributed to QA’s strong commitment to each assessment.

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Meet… Sue Trujillo

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Sue Trujillo, Manager of Data Collection

How many years have you worked at PAR? 9 1/2 years

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? Read and respond to emails from data collectors, check the demographic database on projects in progress, recruit new and existing examiners to work on finding participants to fill the needed demographics, check incoming data for accuracy and log cases into my SPSS “cases needed” file, and, most recently, helping to work on new project ideas.

What is the best part of your job? Talking with psychologists all over the country.

When people ask you what you do, how do you explain your job? I have a database of examiners from all over the country who administer new or existing assessments in order to create the standardization norms.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? In my yard, tending to my flowers and plants, or dancing at a rock concert.

When I first started working at PAR… there wasn’t any one person who did my job. The project directors were responsible for finding authors who already had data or the project directors managed data collection themselves.

If I could switch jobs with anyone in the company for a day, I’d like to try… Being a Clinical Assessment Consultant! I’d like to sell what I’ve helped create!

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PAR Supports United Way

PAR is proud of our ongoing relationship with United Way. Last week, we took part in our annual fundraising campaign. For more than 20 years, 100% of staff members have contributed during our annual United Way drive. This year was no different. We exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in employee contributions of $81,661.72 being donated to United Way to help continue its mission of helping others in our community.

Meet Opie, the newest recruit to the PAR family.
Meet Opie, the newest recruit to the PAR family.

This year, our United Way week theme was PAR Boot Camp. Staffers were broken into five teams, each representing a different branch of the military, and took part in a host of activities, ranging from puzzle building to a mental tug-of-war. Ten staff members even went head-to-head in a push up contest! Our friends from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay stopped by… and one lucky pup found his forever home.

Want to learn more about how you can help United Way in your community? Visit www.unitedway.org.

 

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Meet…. Melissa Messer

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Melissa Messer, Senior Project Director

How many years have you worked at PAR? 13

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? Every day is different depending on the status of my projects. Typically, I am working on some type of data analysis. Other days, I may be solely focused on writing, which also involves doing extensive literature reviews and interpreting/explaining data analysis. I have lots of team meetings, generally getting input and feedback on print and digital projects.

What have you learned by working at PAR? A small group of really excellent people can accomplish a lot when they work together. In comparison to some of our competitors, we are a very small company, yet we remain very competitive.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? With my two children. I spend as much time as I possibly can with them when I am not at work.

When you first started working at PAR, what were your plans? I thought I would stay for a year and go back to school to get my PhD. Instead, four positions and almost 13 years later, I can’t imagine leaving PAR.

If you could switch jobs anywhere in the company for a day, what department would you choose? Customer Support. I really enjoy talking to our Customers at conventions, and I think it would be great to have a chance to talk directly to our Customers more.

What product or project have you learned the most from? The Neuropsychological Assessment Battery® (NAB®). I got to work with the director of Research & Development, who had a ton of experience working on project development, and he was also the author of the test. It was by far one of the largest projects ever completed at PAR, and the experiences I gained while working on it definitely had an impact on my future success at PAR.

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PAR Named One of the Healthiest Companies in America

Earlier this year, PAR received national recognition as one of the 2014 “Healthiest Companies in America” by Interactive Health, the country’s leading provider of health management solutions. PAR was one of 158 honorees from across the United States recognized for embracing the mission of implementing life-changing preventive health care in the workplace.

The Healthiest Companies in America award is given to select organizations across the nation that have helped transform—and even save—the lives of employees by offering wellness programs that combine thorough health evaluations with fast, personalized results. With the help of these strategic, flexible initiatives, winning organizations like PAR have accomplished tremendous success in moving employees from high-risk health status to lower risk, achieving remarkably high employee participation.

“We are honored to be named as one of the healthiest companies in America,” said R. Bob Smith III, PhD, CEO of PAR. “The health and wellness of our employees is a high priority, and we will remain committed to helping them improve their quality of life.”

In 2005, PAR created the Swellness Committee, which is charged with creating programs and events that promote health and well-being. The Committee has sponsored a walking contest each year for the past few years and has encouraged employees to join the Commit to Stay Fit Holiday Challenge. In addition, PAR participates in various community walks and other events.

The Swellness Committee offered various health-related classes this past year and has an elliptical machine available to all employees. PAR also provides an employee wellness benefit each calendar year. Many seminars on healthy eating have been provided, and PAR has modified its company-sponsored dining activities to include a healthy food option. A healthy snacks cabinet takes the place of vending machines. Each year, PAR provides free on-site biometric screenings, which include full bloodwork analysis, mental health screening, and blood pressure testing.

“These winners are improving health outcomes throughout America,” said Cathy Kenworthy, president and CEO of Interactive Health. “Preventive care programs are about much more than just losing weight or quitting smoking—they are a catalyst to transform the way people look at health, well-being, and their lives overall. Heathiest Companies in America winners exemplify the long-term positive effects comprehensive wellness programs can have on the health status of large populations. Our work is done exclusively through our people… it’s personal to us.”

 About Interactive Health

Interactive Health, the country’s leading provider of health management solutions, creates innovative wellness programs designed to increase overall company health and actively engage employees to make lasting behavior changes. Interactive Health has a 20-year track record of creating the Healthiest Companies in America.

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Arrange a PAR Workshop in Your Area!

Did you know that it’s easy to arrange a PAR-sponsored workshop in your area? Whether we send one of our Clinical Assessment Consultants to your location or train a multi-site group via a Webinar, we offer a host of training opportunities customized to meet your needs. PAR is even approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to provide continuing education credits.

To learn more about our workshops and Webinars, check out our workshop brochure.

 

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Meet… Lauren Rosario

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Lauren Rosario, Senior Marketing Analyst

How many years have you worked at PAR? 1

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? My primary responsibility is market research; I engage with our Customers to discover their likes, dislikes, and needs and then find common trends between them. This helps guide the company on what is meaningful and important to Customers during new product development and when marketing products. Market research takes many different forms, from focus groups to large-scale online research projects. In addition to listening to the voice of our customers, I also work on launching new products by developing marketing pieces, videos, advertisements, and other ways to communicate to our Customers all of the great things we have to offer at PAR.

What is the best part of your job? I find market research fascinating because Customer behavior is so interesting; the most beneficial and rewarding moments are when Customers tell me something through research and that feedback changes what we as a company had planned. When that happens, you see firsthand the power of market research insights and the success that comes to companies that value and embrace their Customers’ wants and needs. It’s also very exciting when research I’ve conducted and Customer behavior that follows matches up perfectly.

What would surprise people about your job? Market research is both a science and an art at every stage of the game. There are subtle intricacies in wording and question ordering for even a simple survey that can have a great impact on the results, so having a solid background in market research is critical.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? I am taking master’s courses in marketing through Harvard University, so that takes up most of my time. I also love long-distance running with my rescue dog, traveling to new countries with my husband, quilting, and I am involved with my church.

When I first started working at PAR… I was absolutely amazed at how charitable the employees are to needy causes and how exceptionally well the company treats employees. It’s incredibly inspiring to work for a company that is so generous; I’m honored to be part of this team. PAR is a truly exemplary.

The best advice I’ve ever received is… to design a life you love. It’s short, but to me, it motivates me to be determined about loving life.  I have known since I was about 10 that I wanted to have a career in marketing, preferably in a climate that offered palm trees! I absolutely love my career as a marketer and wouldn’t prefer doing anything else.

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