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Team Schell Spotlight: Kelsey Murphy

By Rob Hoeller, in Team Schell

Team Schell Spotlight: Kelsey Murphey

Welcome to our second Team Schell Spotlight! This time we’re featuring Kelsey Murphy – our Assistant Settlement Coordinator.

Kelsey joined the sales team in June 2013 as a Sales Associate, but quickly grew into her current role on the settlement team. Kelsey is a creative addition to Team Schell who brings a vibe of positivity and happiness into the workplace. Here is my sit-down with Kelsey.

How did you first hear about Schell Brothers?
I first heard about Schell Brothers from just living around here, being a local. They had a good reputation, and I saw the billboards everywhere. I also knew about it from a lot of the lifeguards who ended up working here.

Describe your job using adjectives that start with the letter “G.”
Great.

You’re cheating, you got an easy one!
(Laughs) Well that’s all I can think about anyway. What else starts with G? I think I’ll go with growth; I feel like I’ve grown a lot. I’ll end with glorious!

What do you like the most about working at Schell Brothers?
There are so many things. I like how positive everyone is; it wasn’t like that where I used to work, so it’s really cool to come in to work and have people who love being here. I love working with Tony* all day, every day! He makes it awesome.

*Tony Forrest is our Settlement Coordinator; look out for a future spotlight on him!

What’s your favorite song that Tony sings out loud while he’s working?
I really like when his cell phone goes off, and he starts singing along to “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga.

Kelsey and Tony

Of all the events that Schell Brothers has throughout the year, which would you say is your favorite?
I’ll have to say two because the Design Studio opening was really fun, but that only happens once. But I’m looking forward to Company Beach Day again because I didn’t really know a lot of people when I went last year. I had just started, but now that I’m friends with so many people, it should be more fun this time around.

What has been your favorite day on the job so far?
I think one of my first days with Tony. We were going over something that I had learned the week before. We kept finishing each other’s sentences, and it made me feel really good that Tony and I are on the same page. Just knowing that we had that connection was cool. We have good chemistry.

So if there were a movie to be made, you two would be good starring roles?
We would! That would be hilarious.

What are you looking forward to most as Schell Brothers grows?
Going in to new markets will be interesting. Taking all the work that we’re doing right now, perfecting all of our processes and transferring them into a new market is going to be really cool. It will be cool to see if we got it right and to see where it takes us next.

Kelsey sings with her "band" the Branches at the 2014 Schellies.

Tell me a secret about yourself that your co-workers don’t know. Just between us, okay?
Hmm… I skipped the first grade, but that’s kind of a lame secret. Oh, I have one. I get really nervous performing in front of people, especially people I know, which is bad since I get asked to all the time.

Speaking of performances, you’re like the American Idol star of the whole company. When is your World Tour? Where are you going?
You know, I’m kind of in-between projects so I don’t have anything going on. If anyone wants to nominate me for anything, they can go right ahead. I have nothing really going on in the near future, which is kind of nice. Takes the pressure off a little. But I’m up for whatever may come my way.

What is one piece of advice that you have for someone just joining the Schell Brothers team?
Be open to whatever is put on your plate. You don’t get hired to do one thing here; it might start that way, but being open to whatever changes and opportunities arise will help you as the company grows. That’s the biggest thing.

 

I want to thank Kelsey for being willing to open up to us. We really appreciate her contribution to the team, and I know that Team Schell wouldn’t be the same without her. As always, If you want to be a part of Schell Brothers, I would encourage you to follow us on the Team Schell Facebook Page and check out our Careers Page to see what opportunities we have; we would love to hear from you!

Team Schell Spotlight: Jason Exline

By Rob Hoeller, in Team Schell

Team Schell Spotlight: Jason Exline

Welcome to Team Schell Spotlight, where I will interview different Schell Brothers employees who embody our company’s philosophy, mission, and goals. This series will help us launch our new Team Schell Facebook page where we will share a little bit of our “behind-the-scenes” company culture with everyone.

Jason started with Schell Brothers in January of 2013; since then, he has taken over the operations of Echelon Interiors (a division of Schell Brothers) and helped it grow exponentially. He is a perfect example of someone living our philosophy of “work hard, play hard.” Jason can also be seen taking advantage of our company gym or hanging out at some of our summer happy hours. He will drop everything to help out a fellow employee without expecting any accolades. Here are a few highlights from my interview with Jason.

Describe your job to me using only adjectives that begin with the letter V.
(And you can’t use “very”…)
Augh, that was the very first one I was going to use. I guess I’ll go with Victorious. Uh… this is the worst letter ever.

Well, why would you say “victorious,” then?
So, over the past three years, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do. Do I want to work with computers? Do I want to do marketing? And now that I’m working for Echelon Interiors, it seems like that battle is over. I’ve won. That’s why I think “victorious” is perfect. I’m settled here and I never want to leave.

Jason Exline (Right) at the 2014 Regal AwardsWhat do you like the most about working at Schell Brothers?
The culture is the thing I like the most. The culture breeds success and it motivates you. Whether it’s in your department or in the company as a whole, everybody wants to move forward and do better. I don’t think we would have that if we didn’t have that culture.

What do you think helps keep that culture going?
I think there are different parts to it. It starts with Chris and the HR Department; the way people are introduced to the company and hired is key to the culture. Company meetings are also great; the speeches that Chris gives are obviously motivating. Everybody leaves feeling great. It just boils down to how the company is structured – we have events where everybody is involved. It becomes a family. Everybody having the same goal and everybody being a family is really what keeps everyone happy.

Speaking of events, what Schell Brothers event would you say is the highlight of your year?
I’m torn between The Schellies, because everybody lets loose and you get to find out some little secrets about your co-workers, and the Company Beach Day, because you’re on the beach. Oh and the Beer Pong Tournament because you get to dress up.

Now you’ve said three. You’re cheating.
You caught me! I guess if I had to go with my favorite… it would be The Schellies.

What are you looking forward to most, as Schell Brothers grows?
It’s exciting that we’re growing now and we’re going to be able to introduce ourselves to more people and get out there more. Right now we’re mainly in Sussex County and everybody knows Schell Brothers. It’s exciting because there are always going to be new opportunities in Sussex County, and it will be exciting to see what we can do outside of Sussex County.

Jason volunteering for our Build for Ben project in 2013.

So, tell me one secret about yourself that your co-workers don’t know. (I promise I won’t tell anyone else).
Erin convinced me to dress up as Prince; unfortunately I said yes and let her do my makeup as well.

What is one piece of advice that you have for a new employee just joining the team?
Work hard and be yourself; don’t just try to emulate others. You want to engage yourself as much as you can, but at the end of the day, you want to be yourself. I’ve worked with people at previous jobs who put on a front; that fire burns out pretty quickly and you learn who that person really is. So, my advice is just work hard, be yourself, and be a team player.

Anything else you want to say for the record?
I think that if you want to work for this company, don’t take no for an answer. If you feel that passionate about coming on board and you don’t get the position you want right away. Keep coming back. When someone puts that extra mile in, it gets noticed around here. I just want people not to get discouraged if they don’t get the opportunity to join the team right away. If other opportunities come up, don’t be afraid to re-apply. If you show that you’re determined, I think you have a good chance at landing something.

 I want to thank Jason for being a good sport and putting his neck on the line for this first Team Schell Spotlight. I hope it gave you just a small glimpse into the company culture that we share as employees of Schell Brothers. If you want to be a part of Schell Brothers, I would encourage you to check out our Careers Page and see what opportunities we have; we would love to hear from you!

 

Polar Bear Plunge 2014 [video]

By Rob Hoeller, in All Communities

Team Freezin' Our Schellies Off

“Growing up on the East Coast, I had always heard of the Polar Bear Plunge and those “crazy people” who jumped into the freezing ocean for no reason. Well, at least I thought it was no reason back in the day.

I eventually came to realize that it was a charity event, but I still never thought of myself as a “polar bear.” Well this year, I decided to just take the dive. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? I decided to do it, but I wasn’t about to go alone.

When I brought the idea to Chris Schell, he was all about sponsoring a team. He generously footed the initial registration fee for any employee who wanted to take the dive. Fifteen of us in all decided we were brave crazy enough to go through with it. So, I registered us all on FirstGiving, set up the team page, and hoped for the best. I really thought we would only raise about $1,000 or so. Boy was I wrong!

We had raised $8,202 in additional donations! We rose to be the second highest contributing team out of 286! Including registration fees and a donation from Firstgiving, our team raised a total of $9,552 for Special Olympics Delaware. To see the smiles on the kids’ faces was worth the icy dip we were all about to take.”

-Rob Hoeller

 

“The air is warm for January. 50 degrees outside, but you can feel the cold creeping off the ocean, it’s like standing in front of an open freezer door. We stand on the beach in anticipation, people are laughing joking, dressed in everything from speedos to full costumes, complete strangers are joining together to take pictures. The sun is out, it’s fun, a great sense of community pervades the air, and then suddenly they are counting down, 5-4-3-2-1.

The brave dive into the water, and come up stunned, momentarily breathless, as your muscles contract to the point where you can’t breathe, then you are heading out of the water and it’s over. That was awesome, high fives all around, and I wrap up in a towel, you are definitely alive!

Rob decides we should go again, and we are off to the water, but this time you’re not 98 degrees anymore, your core temperature has already been lowered, and the cold hurts this time, holy crap it’s COLD, you dive under because what’s the point if you don’t, and start out of the water, except this time the beach seems like a long ways away, especially when you are wearing a mermaid dress. The plunge is complete, we all survived unscathed, it was a blast, a great way to raise money for the Delaware Special Olympics.

What’s that you say? Mermaid dress? Ah yes… yes it did say mermaid dress back there. Thought I might be able to skip that part, but way too many photos floating around to deny it I suppose. So, in an effort to help along my portion of the fundraising and make things more interesting I decided to auction off, um, well, my dignity.

For a donation of $100 I offered to do anything within reason. I had several takers and one was to wear a mermaid dress, and the makeup that accompanied it. What can I say, a $1,000 donation buys a lot of dignity. The boss is never happy doing something halfway, which I’m thankful for because it made the day really fun.

I’m not sure how I’ll top it next year, but the bar has been set and so is my total fundraising goal. This year $2,200, next year I might have to go for $3,500, so start planning now for what your $100 will buy. Thanks to all who supported the cause and for my amazing teammates at Schell Brothers who were great sports! Special thanks to Rob Hoeller who browbeat me into signing up, and who coordinated everything, including our super-cool robes.

We hope to see you next year at the plunge!”

– Dion Lamb

 

Holiday Spirit at Schell Brothers [video]

By Rob Hoeller, in All Communities

Kelsey and Elf Singing a Duet

Some days you wake up, smell the eggnog and can’t wait to get to work.  And having worked for both Santa and Schell Brothers, I can honestly say, I have never seen so much holiday spirit!

A few weeks back we hosted our Holiday Spirit Tour of our communities and the holiday spirit was certainly in the air. Bright and early along with Santa and all his elves, we piled into the Jolly Trolley for a day trip full of festive cheer as we visited each community to tour their holiday-themed decorated model homes.

Our first stop was Ellis Point. Jay and his crew had that Catalina just bursting with Christmas. Every room had something in it to let us know the big day would be here soon. Even the porta-potty was decorated in front of the homes under construction.  That Jay just thinks of everything! Inside, breakfast was served to get our bellies nice and full before heading to our next model.

As we pull into The Peninsula, the bus driver took a little detour because it wasn’t our Jolly Trolley taking us to see Gary at the Kingfisher, it was a horse drawn carriage!  Sorry Rudolf, I know you like to be at the lead of Santa’s sleigh but today it was some tail swishing steads that pulled this sleigh full of elves. The guys at the Kingfisher had an even bigger surprise for us. As we rode up on the horse-drawn sleigh we were greeted with eye catching fireworks to celebrate the season.

Next, quick as a wink we dashed away to Bayfront at Rehoboth. Santa and I were jumping for joy. It was a Schell Brothers Christmas Wonderland! Everywhere you looked was a big kid’s paradise. Chestnuts roasting on an open (trash can) fire, an ice luge, a fully stocked coffee bar, beer pong, beer ring toss, and more Christmas cutouts than the eye could see.

Then to our surprise, we heard that familiar “Ho, Ho, Ho” but from another Santa. There, nestled snug in the outdoor shower, was the jolly old fellow himself in a make shift photo booth. We all got to sit on his lap and tell him our Christmas wishes. All of that and we hadn’t even stepped foot in the model yet! It was beautifully decorated from top to bottom. The best part was that we all got to take a treat with us as we left. Our very own Charlie Brown Christmas trees. Who would have thought you could top horses and fireworks?

 

As we pulled up to the model at Independence we could see people standing out on the roof. And it certainly wasn’t Santa, he was with us on the bus. It was Mollie and Grace holding fists full of beads. t was a Mardi Gras Christmas in the Hancock and they made Sally Burton Way look like the streets of New Orleans. From the decorations to the jambalaya, everything had that New Orleans flair.

As we walked in through the doors at The Ridings model we returned to a more classic Christmas as our ears were delighted by the sounds of Kelsey serenading us with Christmas music. “That girl has the voice of an angel” was what Santa kept saying. I was bubbling over with joy and just had to join in on the fun, so I shook my tambourine and sang along with Kelsey. What a treat! Between the eggnog, the delicious treats and the beautiful music, the girls of Ridings really spoiled us.

The rest of the day took us through Heritage Creek and Wagamons West Shore where we continued to indulge in treats and spirits as we toured the beautiful models that our Schell elves worked tirelessly to decorate for us.

The last leg of the trip was back up Rt. 1 and over to Gills Neck Rd where we stopped at Breakwater where the Salt Meadow was decorated with beautiful holiday cheer.  Across the street at Senators we were so excited to see what Dan had in store for us at our brand new model The Henlopen. Like a bunch of overgrown kids on Christmas Day we got to run around the model in an epic Nerf War! What a way to end the day and another great Model Tour.

It was a fun filled, Decorated Holiday Model Home Tour. The holiday themed models kept me smiling all day and you know how smiling is my favorite.

~The Elf

 

 

“Smiling is my Favorite!” – The Elf is Back

By Rob Hoeller, in All Communities

Rob at his desk with Elf shoes on

It’s nearly that time of the year! No, not that time where little ghosts and goblins show up at your door demanding candy bars and sweets; it’s that time of the year where I get to don my yellow tights, take up the green velvet and fur-trimmed mantle, and run around the county spreading holiday cheer!

When I first put the costume on last year for the Follow the Elf campaign, I was a little apprehensive; I didn’t know what on Earth I was doing and, to be honest, I felt a little weird. Little did I know that this would become a wintertime identity for me. I had so much fun filming the commercials and walking in the Rehoboth Beach Christmas Parade last year that it didn’t require any convincing for me to do it again this year.

A fresh pair of yellow tights and the velvet jacket are hanging behind me as I write this; I’m getting smirks from co-workers walking by my office because THEY KNOW that the Elf is about to spread cheer throughout Schell Brothers again. Some of them are happy and excited, and some of them are scared that they might be the next one to get hit with a snowball.

I know, at the very least, that my three-year-old daughter gets all excited when the Elf costume comes out. It gives her a small sense of pride to tell her classmates at Kids’ Cottage that her daddy is “The Elf.” She even told my wife, Brittany, that she likes to wear tights, “just like daddy.” Now that’s something to be proud of! And that’s enough for me, to bring a smile to that one person in my life. Hopefully it will bring a little cheer to you all as well. I have a lot of fun doing it, but I really just want to make people smile, and this is my little way of doing that in the upcoming winter season.

So stay tuned! Watch out! It’s 2013, and the Elf is back!