On July 7, 1997, Tami Landers joined Comtel Communications. Twenty years later, she crossed into her second decade with the company. If you ask Comtel’s leadership or her peers, Tami is not just an employee, but a part of the family. Ben Humphreys, CEO of Comtel Communications, has said that “he wouldn’t know what to do without her.” To honor Tami and celebrate her 20 years with Comtel, a company dinner in her honor was held on August 23, 2017 at Buckhead’s in Richmond, VA.
To commemorate this significant milestone, we wanted to feature Tami and her contributions in our monthly spotlight.
Q: What is your current role at Comtel?
A: I am the controller, managing all of the business accounts for Comtel and Simplicity VoIP. I keep the books up to date on all the accounts. I process commissions, do our tax reporting, manage accounts receivables and accounts payable. I also process CenturyLink commissions for The Alliance Partners and assist them with obtaining sales IDs and any commission issues that may arise.
Q: What are some other roles you have had at this company?
A: I have been everything from the receptionist, a client services rep, the client services coordinator, the commissions analyst to my now current position as the controller.
Q: How have you seen the telecom industry evolve in the past 20 years?
A: It’s very different, when I started out it seemed like “two cans on a string” compared to the technology now. We provided mostly long distance and a lot of it was residential. On the business-side, we sold dedicated services such as DSL, DIA, frame relay, PRI’s – then on to MPLS some of which took a long time to implement. These days, VoIP seems to be the big thing - back then, most services were analog with copper wires, now it’s changed to VoIP. There have been so many different changes within the changes. We also sold pagers which are pretty much now obsolete. Faxes could be pages upon pages to print - now faxes can be sent to emails as well as voice mails.
Q: What did you do before coming to Comtel, and how did it prepare you for your job at Comtel?
A: Before Comtel, I was worked for an adult education and private tutoring company as their office manager which included answering phones, greeting clients, preparing letters and pamphlets for clients and staff as well as other administrative assistant duties. I also had to prepare many reports for the Virginia Department of Education. I think the overall experience prepared me for my initial job as a receptionist here at Comtel as well as my current position.
Q: What do you enjoy most about coming to work each day?
A: For me, it’s the people. I enjoy the people I work with in the office, our agents, our partners and the carriers’ reps.
Q: It’s unusual in this day of changing careers for people to stay with a company for 5 years, much less 20, what has kept you with the Comtel family?
A: I don’t like change, and the years have gone by fast. But again, it’s the people. I don’t think I could ever find an employer better than Ben – he’s also my friend. There has always been a family atmosphere here. We all genuinely care about each other and I don’t think you find that a lot these days. I have never felt like just a number at Comtel.
Q: How is Comtel different than other companies?
A: Again, it’s the people and the atmosphere. There is an employee/employer connection that you don’t usually find in other places.
Q: Comtel is a family affair for you because your daughter Lenada works here as well. Do you work closely together and is it nice to have a family member in the office?
A: I very rarely see her during the workday these days, but over the years we have worked closely. And yes, it is great to have her here and to see how knowledgeable in telecom she’s become over the years.
Q: Our CEO, Ben Humphreys, said that he would be lost without you. What do you do that helps him out as much as it does?
A: I do whatever needs to be done. For example, as my positions have changed over the years, so have my duties and even if I didn’t like some of them (taxes) – I’ve forged on and conquered them anyway… Ben lets me what we need to do and I take care of it to the best of my ability.
Q: Is there anything else you want to say/add?
A: I’m just very happy to have been able to be here for 20 years. Truly blessed…
Simplicity VoIP, based in Richmond, VA, provides hosted PBX, VoIP and business telephone solutions nationally to small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses for a comprehensive unified communications experience. Two distinct Class 5 geo-redundant VoIP platforms are offered in addition to fax-to-email, phones and equipment, and managed services. Named as Richmond’s 11th fastest growing company by Richmond BizSense, Simplicity VoIP’s key to success is its on-site service, installation and training supported 24/7/365 by a world-class client services team.