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August Employee Spotlight: Paul Gill
Every now and then, my random number generator chooses an employee I know very little about. Since Paul Gill is a salesman and works on a separate floor, our August pick for the employee spotlight was one of those instances.
What I did know about Paul is that he married his high school sweetheart, he’s always pleasant to talk to, and he has to have a sense of humor to succeed in what we call the sales pit, where our salespeople are on the phones all day every day.
I figured Austin Jones, our director of sales, would know Paul much better than I did, so I asked him for his thoughts. Austin summed him up pretty quickly: “Paul is the type of employee everyone wants. He’s accountable, intelligent, and he gives a shit.”
“From what I can tell,” Austin added, “Paul is a great husband and father. For his wife’s birthday he found an old baseball photograph of his wife and had a replica little league shirt made for her with her nickname on the back. He’s a thoughtful dude.”
Based on the few conversations I’d had with Paul, these kind remarks didn’t seem too surprising. I was eager to sit down and interview him to learn even more. Check it out below!
Amy: The first thing I want to talk about is RNL and what you do here. So, how long have you been here?
Paul: I’m actually coming up on a year, which is crazy. Before this I came from a pretty large software company and I was working as an event marketing manager. I did that for a couple years and I was traveling a lot. I have three kids now and it’s getting hard to travel as much as I was. I was also seeking a different type of challenge and I wanted to move to a role that was more sales focused.
Amy: Yeah! This is your first time in sales, right?
Paul: More or less. I did work for my father’s company in a sales capacity, but it was half sales and half support, kind of a jack-of-all-trades role. This is my first full-fledged sales role.
Amy: I think it’s really interesting that you moved from marketing into sales, because they’re fairly similar but they definitely have different focuses and approaches. What’s been one of the biggest things you’ve learned or obstacles you’ve overcome?
Paul: That’s a good question. My role at my old job was customer and event marketing, so I focused on current clients. Here, I’m often starting relationships from scratch. The company I was at before was increasing in size due to several acquisitions, so roles were fragmented. Here, we’re the first point of contact, doing the demo, and seeing the life cycle all the way through. That’s something that’s really exciting for me. Plus, I really enjoy the transparency of sales. For me, it’s very black and white to measure my progress.
Some of the times I’ve called people haven’t been positive conversations at first. To try and navigate through that and leave them with something to change their perspective can be a challenge. You do have to overcome some frustrations because some people aren’t open to different perspectives. And that’s okay. But knowing what we know and knowing how much better we can make their situation, it’s hard to not want to stay on it.
Amy: That’s really cool. On a less serious note, you work down in the sales pit. How is that?
Paul: It’s always been a positive experience. We’ve all experienced similar types of calls or processes, so it’s nice to throw around ideas with my peers down there and lean on those guys.
Amy: Do you have any great memories to share? For instance, I heard today that you have a soundboard?
Paul: Yeah, that’s a recent development. I started one that’s pretty simple with a rap airhorn and started playing it because we felt like we needed something to go off when somebody prints a contract. That board has some Miley Cyrus and some Carly Rae Jepsen, and then I found a rap soundboard that’s great. You have to keep it light down there.
In terms of memories, I’d say the first deal I closed was memorable. It started with a cold call and the manager actually hung up on me, which happens from time to time. It wasn’t the right person. Some of this is just timing and reaching the right people. I found who the right person was, he called me back, we did a demo, and we closed on the same day. It’s one of those things where you really never know what will happen.
Going to the Florida trade show with Connor was a nice experience. I used to do customer facing a lot. And then for the last eight or nine months, my interactions were all through the phone. They were nice conversations, but to actually go out and interact with people and see them react in person to our products was cool.
Amy: I bet that’s an awesome experience. Well, kinda switching gears a bit, I definitely noticed on your bio that you married your high school sweetheart. What’s her name, and what’s the story of you guys getting together?
Paul: Her name is Meagan. I was a year older than her, but we went all throughout grade school together. I knew of her because her brother was older and I played sports with him. We were always around each other but never really talked until high school. I went to a New Year’s Eve party in 1999. She was there, she was dating a guy, and we kissed that night around midnight.
Amy: Oh no!
Paul: It was pretty scandalous, right. She really didn’t like the guy. I had a little crush on her but I didn’t know her all that well. It was a really weird night. One of my buddies had gotten kicked out of the party a few hours earlier. The guy hosting was not a fan of his. A little later I was told that some guys wanted to talk to me as well. When I questioned why, the guy slapped me. It was a little, “What are you going to do about it” slap. So I did what a real man would do: I made some jokes and defused the situation. He was 6’4” and went on to play college basketball. He would have kicked my ass.
I ended up finding out Meagan broke up with her boyfriend, so we went on a date about two weeks later. I think she got a good laugh out of what happened that night with me getting assaulted. But it’s all good. We started dating and we’ve been together ever since. Then we got married in 2006, and here we are now with three kids.
Amy: Aww. What’s the best date you two ever went on? Other than the one where you got slapped at a New Year’s party.
Paul: Oh, man. My wife and I went on a road trip through the southeast, including Charleston and Atlanta. We had a lot of spontaneous dates along the journey. Basically if we saw something cool or an interesting place to eat along the way, we gave it a try.
In terms of one particular date, our very first year anniversary of being a couple was memorable. Leading up to it, I pulled together a bunch of our mutual friends and I made a video of them with testimonials about our relationship. I put that together and surprised her over a take-home dinner of Subway. They took that video and they replayed it at my reception years later. A bunch of my friends forgot that they were ever in that thing and they saw it at the reception. It was funny. People did skits and bits on stuff. If you call that a date.
Amy: I’d say that counts. Do you have this video? We should totally put it up.
Paul: I do in some form. I have some clips of it in our wedding video, and I think I might have the old one. I mean, it’s on tape. I filmed it on one of those where you actually put the tape in and close it up. It was old school.
Amy: That’s awesome. That sounds like a fun video. You guys have three daughters: Quincy, Joplin, and Georgia, which are really interesting names. I was wondering: What’s the story behind the names you chose?
Paul: When we had our first child, we didn’t know if it would be a boy or a girl. We just had all these different names, so we were trying to find ways to eliminate some of them. We liked the idea of having some connection or theme between all the names if we ended up having multiple children. We looked at some president names. There for awhile if we had a boy I really liked the name Lincoln. Quincy is from John Quincy Adams. I thought it could go either way for a boy or a girl. And then I always liked the idea of shortening it to Q, which we call her a lot.
After that, we did know we were going to have a girl. There for a little bit we were really into the name Juno, which is not related to presidents, right. This was three years later, so I think we actually forgot about the theme. My wife told people on Facebook that the name started with a J and to guess what it was. Her uncle said, “I think you’re gonna call her Joplin because that’s a street name, too.” Both Quincy and Joplin are two major street names from our hometown of Pittsburg, Kansas, and they intersect near the entrance to Pitt State’s campus. We thought that would be a cool way to honor our roots and to pick up the theme again. And that’s where we got the idea for Georgia when she came along. Luckily we didn’t have a boy because there aren’t as many options. I think that’s why weren’t not going to have anymore kids.
Amy: Oh, really? I was going to ask that next, if you were rooting for a boy. You could always save Lincoln if you do!
Paul: Hmm, there’s actually no Lincoln Street, but there is a Lincoln Park. Good thought.
Amy: You could have two more kids, two boys, and name them after parks.
Paul: There we go.
Amy: Also, I hear you’re a Just Dance expert.
Paul: Yes. Until recently when my kids broke the Xbox. But little secret out there, if you want to save some money, you can pull up Youtube and they have all the dances there. So, yeah, we got the Xbox One a couple years ago and I’m pretty decent at Just Dance. I have my favorites. I’m really good at Gentleman by PSY.
Amy: I bet that your daughters like that you play it with them.
Paul: Yeah. My oldest is pretty good. My two year old just stares at the screen. When you get done, it plays a recap clip of your dance. It’s funny because we’ll be dancing and my two year old will just be frozen during different parts of the frame. It’s kinda creepy. She’s there and just staring, absorbing it. But yeah, we’re really big into shows and games and stuff like that. Everything is Frozen and Cinderella now. My wife and I are trying to bring back some old school stuff like Sound of Music and Annie. Try to get them on some traditional stuff. I like that.
Amy: That’s cool! So if we get Just Dance at the holiday party or something, are you going to school everybody?
Paul: It depends on what version. The dance is pretty routine. They might cycle through the same movements three or four times through the song. One time, my four year old and I went to the mall, and in front of the Microsoft store, they had it out. We did one of our more common dances and got a little bit of a crowd. But to be fair, that was one of our stronger routines.
Amy: So I’m going to fast pitch a bunch of random questions. So, I give you — just you — a plane ticket to somewhere you’ve never been before. Where do you go and why?
Paul: You know, this is kinda silly. The first thing that popped into my head is SXSW in Austin. I like music and film, and to go to a festival for multiple days by myself to soak it in would be really cool. I also have some Italian roots in my family and some relatives that live in an old school village. They came over here one time and it was night and day with our culture. They had never even seen baseball. I love this country and think it’s great, but I’d like to maybe have a different experience somewhere that’s living like it’s 50 years ago. I’d probably put that one first.
Amy: Either one. I’ll give you both since Austin is close.
Amy: Would that answer change if I gave you a ticket for you and your entire family?
Paul: Yeah. For the entire family right now, we’d go to Orlando. They’re just so into Disney right now. Eventually, when my girls get older, I’d like to go on a New York trip. My uncle used to take each one of us there when we graduated high school. I feel like it’s a really cool place to go, especially if you’ve never been there. It’s a good place to experience things.
Amy: A cool, coming of age thing. What if I gave just you and your wife a ticket?
Paul: We’ve talked about going to Rome, the Vatican, things like that. Those are trips that both sets of our parents have taken, and they’ve had a pretty big impact on them. It seems like a romantic place to go and experience that together.
Amy: Nice. I like the variety of all your answers. I thought you might have a different answer for each one. Is there anything random about you that we don’t know that you want to share?
Paul: This is kinda random. I have a shadowy dot in my eye. Right now as I’m looking at you, I can see it. It’s called a floater. If I try to look at it, it goes over there.
Amy: Have you seen the Family Guy clip of that?
Paul: Haha, no. I remember first noticing it when I was nine or something. I kept batting at my eye and telling my mom there was a bug coming after me. Then we went to the eye doctor and he told me I had a floater. I just thought of that because it’s pretty noticeable. If I’m looking at a light surface, it shows up.
I’m also a big TV and movie nerd. I really like to research behind-the-scenes stuff. Die Hard is one of my favorite movies, so I went to where they shot that. I think it's so cool, and other people probably find it boring, but my wife and I love it. They shot the Walking Dead in Atlanta, so we went to all these shooting locations.
Amy: What do you like in addition to Walking Dead and Die Hard? Anything with no variation of “dead” in the title?
Paul: I know, right? Breaking Bad is my favorite show of all time. Right now I’m really into Mr. Robot and nobody watches it here! I think it’s great. Friday Night Lights was a big one for me. True Detective season one.
I had an unhealthy obsession with Breaking Bad for awhile. Actually, when I turned 30, my wife threw a “breaking 30” birthday bash for me. The whole day was Breaking Bad themed, and there were probably 20 references to the show throughout the day. She made cupcakes that had blue hard candy in the middle, she spelled out “30” with my bacon, she took my car for a car wash and brought it back with the A1 air freshener, and she made a cake with Gus Fring’s face on it.
Amy: She made it?! Wow.
Paul: Well, yeah, she got on Pinterest and found some of this stuff. She’s a big Pinterest person. To end the night, she bought me a jumpsuit and we made blue hard candy.
Amy: That’s so cool!
Paul: Yeah. She knows me very well.
Amy: Well thank you so much for taking time to meet with me! I can’t wait to share your interview with everyone.