Owning the Problem


Owning the Problem

My Name is Jeremy Duplechin and I am the Regional Sales Executive for NextGen Parking in Houston, TX and the President of Veterans in Parking. I attended Louisiana State University from 2001-2005 where I did Army ROTC and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Field Artillery. 

My first duty station was Ft. Hood in Killeen, Texas, where I deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Fire Support Officer, Fire Direction Officer, and Assistant Operations Officer. Following Ft. Hood, I attended Captain’s School and was then stationed at Ft. Lewis in Tacoma, Wash., where I deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Following deployment, I commanded Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery. I resigned from the Army in 2015 and moved to Houston.

Excellence is not just a flawless install. Excellence is knowing you can count on your system integrator.

I am currently the Regional Sales Executive for the Houston area for NextGen Parking. NextGen Parking is a System Integrator for DESIGNA Parking Systems.

Now, after 10 years in the Army, two deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan and commanding a 100-man formation and six M777 155mm Howitzers, no, I did not think I was going to end up in sales, and let alone the Parking Industry.

That question was posed to me and several others at the Parking Bootcamp held by PIE on the first day, so imagine my delight when I realized I was not alone in this sentiment. Now, that’s not an excuse to throw my hands up and say, “I don’t get it!”, it was, however, an opportunity to excel. 

During my time in command I used to mentor my young lieutenants to look at what lies before them as either and obstacle or an opportunity, the choice was up to them to decide. I made the decision that day at PIE to excel in this industry and to pass on that excellence to our ultimate benefactor: the customer.

So, how did I use my time in the Army to become a steward of excellence as a sales executive in the Parking Industry? It was a combination of my training in the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) and a phrase our CEO uses frequently: “Owning the Problem”. 

As a sales executive at NextGen Parking, I am not merely a peddler of goods and services, but, a combination of sales engineering and sales manager, meaning I “Own the Problem” from conception through execution. The NextGen sales process is more in-depth than commodity sales. It takes a full project management approach from sales opportunity, to design, to engineering and follow through on service and support. 

Like any good military operation, the NextGen sales process requires much planning, design, assessment and re-assessment. Initially, I must identify the customers’ requirements and define the “problem”, not just throw equipment and numbers at an RFP, but fully owning the needs of the customer. 

From here, I fully collaborate with our engineering team and technical services team to develop the best solution for the customer. Upon acceptance by the customer, I am fully engaged with project management, engineering and operations to ensure the scope of work is followed and that all expectations from the customer are met. 

Final installation is not the end of the problem. As the sales executive, I now own the account. I am usually the first person the customer calls if there is a problem, however, we have a full technical support staff to assist the customer with any issues. Now, I could easily “pass the buck” to our technical staff, but, being that steward of excellence that I mentioned before, the buck stops with me. I remain fully engaged with our support staff and the customer until problems are resolved or need to be elevated. 

Excellence is not just a flawless install and a “fire and forget” Parking Access and Revenue Control System, excellence is knowing you can count on and now have a relationship with your system integrator. By having owned the problem from start to finish, we deliver a seamless install and solution for the customer. Excellence is taking a project management approach to the sales process. Excellence should be inherent to a company’s processes and an extension of the final product. 

When I was in command of A/2-17 FA, I tried to come up with a way to personify everyday excellence and my Commander’s Philosophy. Our callsign was the “Gators” (no the irony is not lost on me for being an LSU grad) so I used G.A.T.O.R. as a memory tool for my young artilleryman. 

G – Give it your all, Give 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. 

A – Attitude; you choose it. What lies before you are either Obstacles or Opportunities.

T – Tactically and Technically Proficient. Be a MASTER of your craft.

O – On Time, On Target! 

R – Respect, it is earned, not given.

These can easily be applied to the many facets of the Parking Industry and companies out there. I hope this memory tool and my description of the NextGen way of business will help you and yours through every opportunity. 

Article contributed by:
Jeremy Duplechin
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