Donlenorate Culture: What Makes a Good Employee?

This week, FridayFleet asked Donlen’s President Tom Callahan a question: What makes a good employee? His response may surprise you.

“We work really hard here at Donlen. Our employees come to work every day ready to give 110%, and that does not go unnoticed,” Tom began. “But that’s not the only thing that’s important. The best employees seem to be those who can find balance between work and their personal life. They’re much more productive, they’re happier, and consequently, our customers are happier.

“We provide a lot of ways to help employees find that balance. We have our fitness center downstairs. I get down there for a workout when I’m in the office. It clears my head and helps me focus on the rest of my day. We want people to take that break.

“We just kicked off our ‘Get Fit in 2013’ program. To jumpstart or re-energize their fitness program, in December we brought in a personal trainer twice a week for group workouts. We have a group who does mid-day walks out on the trail near our building, and we are offering ‘workout wear’ days once a month to encourage employees to get active. Later this month we have a nutritionist coming in to do a Lunch n’ Learn session, and we’re planning other monthly activities throughout the year.

“We have many employees who have trained for and completed endurance events. Keith McHugh regularly competes in CrossFit events. Kim Wiles finished the 3-day Walk for Breast Cancer. Fellow runners Gus Xamplas and Julie Gamber and I have completed multiple marathons. And for charity, Rakesh Rathod cycled from Houston to Austin, and Suzanne Deveney cycled from London to Paris. These are only a few examples of many employees who are finding a balance between work and personal time.

“Giving back to the community is also important. The feeling of satisfaction you receive for helping others can’t really be described. Donlen recently completed our annual holiday support of Jenner Academy, a school where most children are living at or near the poverty level. Our employees answered the children’s Letters to Santa, ensuring that every one of the nearly 400 students receives a gift. (You can check out some pictures here.)

“And so many of our employees volunteer on their own time as well. I think that’s incredible, and I’m pleased to see a few of them featured below. Giving back makes us all better, not only at work, but at home too. That’s a win any way you look at it.”

Helping our Community: Donlen Volunteers

We’re pleased to feature a few of our employees who are making a difference in their communities. These are their stories, in their own words.

Daniel Hoppe, Senior Telecom Network Engineer

donlen-daniel-hoppeYour children don’t always do what you say, but they tend to do what you do. Last month I was floored when my 10-year-old signed us up to serve at Feed My Starving Children without asking ahead of time. It’s probably one of the proudest moments I’ve experienced as a father. When my youngest son was born with some really scary congenital deformities my family received lots of support from Donlen, our family, and our community. He’s healthy now after many surgeries so volunteering is my chance to give back and to give thanks for the things we have. Last October we volunteered in Biloxi and Slidell, places hit the hardest by the last two hurricanes. Each morning we opened the doors to feed what seemed like an endless line of homeless and hungry people, most who were living under bridges and in cardboard boxes in the forest. There is a great need for humanity all over the world. The hardest part of volunteering is just showing up. Just go and do it.

Daniel also supports Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen, Habitat For Humanity, and the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Jeff Pursell, Vice President, Telematics

I want to be an active part in my son’s activities, and I also want to help children learn to play soccer. Coaching the K through 8 boys’ youth soccer league at Lindenhurst Park District gives me the opportunity to accomplish both goals. It provides a sense of accomplishment and pride watching children learn the game of soccer and come together as a team. I also truly enjoy it as much as the boys do. My father was a soccer coach and referee for several years in my soccer league. I always look back at those times with fond memories; I want to do the same for my son.

Karen E. Sander, Accident Management Coordinator

donlen-karen-sanderWorking with horses and youths has always been a major part of my life. I’ve been a volunteer with Illinois 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, Health) as an adult leader for seven years and a Horsebowl coach for five years. Horsebowl is a team competition similar to Jeopardy with horse-related questions, played at the regional, state, and national level. As a teenager, I spent several years in the horse project, so I know its value firsthand. The greatest reward is seeing 4-Hers go through the project and “graduate” as mature young adults. I enjoy relating concepts to real life, and the challenge of explaining them in understandable, relevant, and sometimes humorous ways to meet individual learning styles. The knowledge and skills that youth gain in the horse project not only make them more educated and responsible horse owners, but more importantly, they build character while in the project that lasts a lifetime.

Paul Sondrall, Vice President, Business Development

donlen-paul-sondrallChildren shouldn’t have to feel like Santa skipped their house. For the past five years, my wife Cari and I have supported families in need during the holidays. The Holiday Family Sponsorship from the Sauk Rapids Middle School allows us to give back and support families that may be going through tough times, for whatever reason. This year, we supported two families: one family had four children and the other had five. By supplying gifts and smiles, we feel good that we’re doing our part to help others, especially the kids.

Duane Hillebrand, FMS Truck Advisor

donlen-duane-hillebrandMy wife Jessie and I adopted Margot, a Bluetick Coonhound, from Houndsong Rescue five years ago. Since then we have become good friends with the organization, and saw other families who were opening their homes to foster strays and unwanted hounds and beagles – some having as many as five at one time! We now routinely foster hounds for short periods until they find their “forever” homes. Without the foster homes many of these sweet dogs would be euthanized, so we opened our hearts and home giving these dogs an opportunity for a new life.

Duane is also active in volunteer and fundraising activities for Riders for Health, a social enterprise that implements transportation strategies to mobilize healthcare workers in rural Africa.

David Ponx, Vice President, Business Development

donlen-david-ponxI have been playing guitar for the Worship ministry group of the Fellowship of the Rockies Church for two years. It’s the fourth fastest growing church in Colorado and anyone is welcome to come and worship with us; the Lord is doing amazing things within our community through our Church. Although we’re a community of only about 100,000 people, we play in front of 1500-1800 people each weekend. For Christmas we rented out the Events Center in town and played in front of 2600 people for Christmas Eve Service. A truly amazing site when the candles were lit. Playing guitar, which I love, and doing it for a wonderful church that meets the needs of the community is very satisfying.

Johnson K. Mathai, Senior Credit Analyst

donlen-johnson-mathaiChristmas season is a joyous time for many of us. Every child should have the joy of opening up presents on Christmas morning. Yet many children still go without a Christmas. My wife Betsy and I along with our two children Nevin and Nathan volunteer as a family for Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship that connects imprisoned parents with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts. Through Angel Tree, we experience firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help others and enact change. The joy I get from seeing the smiling faces of the children and seeing their eyes light up when they see the gifts brings fulfillment to my life. If everyone who can afford just donated one item – whether it’s a toy or clothing item – many more families and especially children could have a wonderful Christmas!

FleetWeb® Tips

donlen-fleetweb-add-subscription-contactsAdd new company contacts to your Subscription Center in FleetWeb.

  • Click “Show Icons” link at the bottom and select “Share” icon
  • Click “Manage Contacts” link (if you don’t have access to the link, you can request it with your account manager)
  • Click “Add New Contact” link. You can search for existing contacts here
  • If the contact does not exist, click “Add New Contact”
  • Complete Contact Setup screen

Hertz Value Lease™ Deal of the Week

donlen-hertz-value-lease-nissan-versa-01132012 Nissan Versa S*

  • Estimated Mileage: 15,000
  • Exterior Color: Red
  • Hertz Value Lease Base Price: $12,562

*Vehicle was available at the time of posting to FridayFleet. The exact vehicle may not be available after this date. Photo of vehicle is for illustrative purposes only. Contact your Donlen Account Manager to learn more about Hertz Value Lease vehicles that may be right for your application.

Driver’s Corner

Spending a lot of time in your vehicle can have unwanted consequences on your health. Stress from traffic and hurried schedules, back pain from sitting in one position for a long time, and eye fatigue may occur. Be sure that you’re taking adequate time out of your vehicle to relieve these symptoms, are getting enough rest and good nutrition prior to entering your vehicle, and stay calm and relaxed while driving. Learning to breath properly is one way to help you remain calm. Deep breathing can promote health in many ways, including improving fitness and mental performance.
> Read more here

And Finally…

Do you know how much an hour of your volunteer time is worth? It was estimated that in 2011, the value of a volunteer hour was $21.79. And if you consider that 63.4 million Americans gave 8.1 billion (yes, with a “b”) hours of service…well, you do the math. That’s a really, really big number. If you volunteer, pat yourself on the back right now. Go ahead. Do it. Because you’re not only finding fulfillment on a personal level, you’re probably helping organizations that may be struggling to find funding in these tough economic times. Many could never afford to pay a workforce to do what volunteers do for them. Way to go and keep it up. We’d love to hear about your volunteer endeavors. > Send us an email here

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on January 11, 2013

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (, with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”