We do things differently in Columbia City, Indiana.
You might say we’re the anti-Silicon Valley...the rebel rouser nipping at the heels of “big tech” and “big data” with the courage of Daniel and driven by our people’s Midwestern values and work ethic, which push us to do things the right way—hopefully the first time! Yes, even we may make a mistake, but doing it the right way involves doing our best to control quality from the outset and to make it right when something goes wrong. Because that’s what makes for great customer service. It’s that simple.
Len Nowostawski put this customer-first philosophy into action, working on the front lines for Imaging Office Systems as a service manager for the last 46 years! He’s been a valued member of our team in every respect…and part of the brain trust that has made it possible for Imaging Office Systems to evolve our toolbelt in lock step with—and in many cases ahead of—advances in information management technology during that time.
To say, we’ll miss Len is putting it too mildly. Thank you, Len, for everything you’ve done…not the least of which has been handling over 450,000 service calls over the last 46 years…it’s true! I looked it up!
Simple Lessons from a Long Career That Still Ring True Today
Len started with Imaging Office systems in 1974, six months removed from his service with the U.S. Army. He learned the business directly from Imaging Office Systems founders Gary Gushard and Larry Coffee, Jr.
“I used to travel around and do service calls for rotary files…they were like big filing cabinets that rotated and would reach up to 10 feet high,” said Len. “Then, we moved into microfilm and did service and installations on those. I covered most of Northern Indiana and Michigan. Then, we hit the transition into imaging systems, and that’s when everything started to change. We got scanners. We started doing digital imaging of documents, stored on optical disks that looked like the old laser discs…it was a difficult and transitional time—moving away from paper to digital for the first time.
“Now we’re moving into the cloud. Recently, I’ve been doing health checks on all the imaging systems for integrations with Filebound, ApplicationXtender and OnBase. Now we’re also doing box storage, and if people need something from a box, we can find it, scan it, and send it to our customers in a matter of hours electronically.”
Indeed, Len saw it all and did it all over the course of his career with us. But still…46 years at one company. That’s a commendable accomplishment in and of itself—even in the bygone era of the 20th century.
“It was more like a family than a business. You were there to do a job, but it was a friendly workplace to be in. People would help you if you needed help, and we had great customers.
“The one thing I always learned was the customers are your boss. They’re the ones that pay your paycheck, so you want to make sure you take care of them. They’re the most important part of any business. And we do. We have great customer support. The customers love us, and that’s because we take care of them. They’re No. 1 to us. If it’s an after-hours call, we’ll take care of it. We’re not an 8-to-5 company. We’re here 24 hours, and we will get the job done,” added Len.
Over his 46 years, Len met and worked with a wide range of different people and customers…but none were so pivotal as a chance meeting between him and one certain customer 24 years ago.
“The people you meet…the stories…I met my wife Donna through the company. A salesperson sold her a piece of equipment, and he told her something that he thought was true, but it really wasn’t…and when she found out, she yelled at me. I said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll fix it, we’ll take care of it.’ We did, and she was happy. Now, we’ve been married for 24 years, but that was the start of it all,” he said.
As Len steps away from the business, we wish him well in all his future endeavors. And don’t be a stranger, Len! With your knowledge and experience, the next generation of Imaging Office Systems workers would be lucky to run into you again. I asked him if he had any advice for them…
“First off, the customer is the main person you need to take care of, but I would also say to rely on your fellow worker if you need help. We have a huge amount of knowledge in this company…in imaging…from writing code…to installing systems…to analyzing workflows. If you have a problem or issue, talk to somebody, and we’ll lead you in the right direction.”