Technology with a Purpose

Archive for February, 2016

Meet the Team: Account Specialist Carolynne Edrington

While attending San Diego State University, Carolynne Edrington jump-started her career with TargetSolutions in January 2015 as a Client Services Representative. Upon graduation, Carolynne continued to shine in her position before becoming an account specialist who supports public safety agencies.

“I enjoy helping people whose job is to help others,” Edrington said. “I know they don’t have a lot of spare time, so getting them the resources they need as soon as possible is rewarding.”

Here is a recent Q-and-A to learn more about Carolynne:

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you bring?

A coffee plant because I need caffeine, sunglasses because I am light sensitive, and a comfy hammock to be cozy.

Who has inspired you in your life and why?

I try to get inspiration daily from everyone I interact with. The people we surround ourselves with are our mirrors. I try to absorb the good qualities of those around me.

What is the last movie you went to see?

Star Wars.

Do you believe in Big Foot?

No, but I believe in mermaids.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies consist of reading (every book except Twilight), drinking coffee, and swimming in the ocean.

TargetSolutions’ Top 10 Online Safety Training Courses in Spanish

Engaging online training courses for Spanish-speaking personnel are available through TargetSolutions.

TargetSolutions features 76 Spanish courses in its online training catalog. Courses cover Driver Training, Human Resources and Occupational Health and Safety.

This library of training provides organizations with valuable workplace safety courses to meet the needs of employees who speak Spanish.

Here are TargetSolutions’ top 10 Spanish courses, based on the total number of completions:

  • Back Injury Prevention
  • Slips, Trips, & Falls Prevention
  • Sexual Harassment Awareness
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Safety
  • Fire Extinguisher Safety
  • Hazard Communication
  • Workplace Violence
  • Working in Extreme Temperatures
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Workplace Diversity

Please click here to view TargetSolutions’ entire library of training in Spanish. If you have any questions, please contact us at (800) 840-8048.


Empowering Employees to Make the Right Decisions in the Workplace

Empowering Employees in the Workplace
Building a culture that allows for empowerment takes courage, commitment and vision.

Blog by Peter Dove

Shared Values Associates

My wife, Kathleen, and I recently visited my daughter Haley’s in-laws in Las Vegas. A small, spontaneous poolside party took shape so Haley went with two friends to a neighborhood chain sandwich shop for refreshments.

No one was in the shop except two employees so she went to the clerk and said, “I’d like to order 10 sandwiches to go please.”

The clerk said, “Well, that would be a party order and our policy says we need 24 hours’ notice.”

Haley, a bit puzzled at this stated the obvious; “There is no one in the store or the parking lot for that matter. There are two of you here with no orders to work on, couldn’t you just make the sandwiches”?

“You’d think so,” replied the clerk, “but that would be against our policy.”

She thought about this for a moment and said, “Well I’d like to order three sandwiches for me, would that be within the rules?”

“Certainly” replied the young and well-intentioned clerk. Her friend also ordered three sandwiches as did the third and all slept well that night knowing that the 24-hour party order rule was kept intact.

I wonder if the CEO of the chain would have slept well in his home on the east coast that night if he had known about my daughter’s experience.

Just about all companies these days say they want empowered employees, but there are some rubs.

  • Can they be trusted?
  • Will they comply with policies and procedures and what about the law?
  • What happens if they err?
  • What if they take advantage of the situation?

Empowerment is fine as long as all goes well. What happened to the last brave soul who was empowered and took a risk? The motives for empowerment are laudable: speed to market, customer service, continuous improvement, and actualization of both line and staff functions and the intrinsic motivation that results, which is the durable competitive advantage.

So how do you get people to be empowered and stay that way? It begins with the CEO and senior management framing the question and making a firm and heartfelt decision of yes or no.

Building a culture that allows for empowerment takes courage, commitment and vision because it will be a contest of wills as all change initiatives provoke.

Here is an example of a frame; it might be something like this: The keen internal vision is for all of our people to both feel and be safe in taking appropriate risks for the organization’s sake.  The expectation is for all employees to be proactive in serving the internal and external customers by using their own best judgment. 

Proper framing by the senior team is an imperative and requires much thought and conversation in order to minimize the UC’s (unintended consequences) so go slow here. So, the frame is established, now what?

All organizations have a culture. The question is this; is the culture by default or by design? The sad answer is that the culture is usually one by default. It is important to keep in mind that a corporate culture is organic, that is to say it is something grown. The fruit of the culture can be empowerment or it can be dictatorial control, it depends on the roots.

Space here does not allow for a comprehensive conversation about corporate culture design or empowerment, but here are a few main roots that must be established for empowerment to become possible.

  • Trust
  • Freedom
  • A transaction zone mindset

These three roots can only be established by and through shared values. Empowerment cannot be established by some program, mandate or announcement. One does not “brand” their way to empowerment. Which values must be institutionalized so that trust, freedom and transaction zone thinking can be established?

Employee Empowerment in the Workplace
Empowered employees are often more productive employees.

Research shows there are eight values beyond fair pay and workplace safety that must be shared by all in the organization in order to have the right culture for empowerment. Seventeen million people from 40 countries in 32 industries say this is what they need to be empowered and volunteer their hearts and minds.

The Eight Heroic Values

1. Treat others with uncompromising truth.

2. Lavish trust on your associates.

3. Mentor unselfishly.

4. Be receptive to new ideas regardless of their origin.

5. Take personal risks for the organization’s sake.

6. Give credit where it’s due.

7. Do not touch dishonest dollars.

8. Put the interests of others before our own.

Now, let’s look at the three main roots of trust, freedom and transaction zone thinking in light of shared values. Trust is the foundation of all relationships whether at work or at home.

I’ll take your orders boss, because I’m a good soldier but I won’t take your empowerment if I don’t trust you. Empowerment has to be a win for both the organization and the individual. Faced with making the choice between the right thing and the safe thing, many employees will choose the safe thing just like the clerk in the sandwich shop.

Penguins mass on the edge of the ice to force one of their number into the water to see if a leopard seal may be lurking nearby. Is it safe to risk going into the water where you work? The trust root becomes more possible when the next root is healthy and growing and that root is truth.

Have you ever had a boss that if you were to tell him or her the uncompromising truth, it could have been a career-limiting event? Most of us have. It must be safe for all regardless of station to be able to tell the unvarnished, uncompromising truth. The truth will set you free. Here are some common sense truth guidelines to establish with your people.

  1. Am I discussing the issue with the other person within 24 hours?
  2. Am I asking the other person for permission, “Is this a good time to talk?”
  3. Am I approaching the other person in a non-threatening way?
  4. Is my language simple, polite, understandable, non-apologizing and non-personal?
  5. Am I making a request of the other person and not a complaint? Is my request telling the other person how I would like it to be?

Establishing these two roots of truth and trust take time. Let’s say we have some solid trust established and difficult conversations regularly occur from line to staff and visa versa within agreed, established guidelines. An adult-to-adult environment is being established. So far so good, now for the third root to make empowerment come alive: transaction zone thinking.

Transaction zone thinking is the moment of truth. My daughter asks for 10 sandwiches and the clerk is now in the transaction zone. It’s time for a decision. Do I keep the party rule policy intact and refuse the customer, knowing full well that there is no harm to the company, community or team in making 10 sandwiches or do I seize my freedom?

Do I trust that my choice will be perceived as acting in good faith to honestly please the customer and make the 10 sandwiches? If my decision goes against me is it celebrated as a learning experience or is my freedom eroded? In the end, empowerment is about the employee feeling safe in using their own good judgment and management trusting them and giving them credit for doing so. Your choice is freedom or control.

About the Author

Peter Dove, is president of Shared Values Associates, a firm dedicated to corporate culture design. Learn more about Peter Dove at


Get to Know TargetSolutions’ Account Specialist Jessyca Altenbach

Originally hired as a Client Services Representative last August, Jessyca was recently promoted to Account Specialist. After graduating from Cal State San Marcos in 2015, Jessyca is now focused on assisting TargetSolutions’ clients with implementation and utilization.

“There are so many different personalities and stories within this office,” Jessyca said when asked about life at TargetSolutions. “On top of that I get to work with clients, who also come from all kinds of backgrounds. It’s very rewarding being able to build relationships with so many great people.”

When not in the office, Jessyca enjoys catching up on her favorite TV shows, baking, taking her Bengal cat, Dexter, for walks, and looking forward to prospective traveling opportunities. She’s already circled Portland, Ore. as her next target, she said.

Here is a recent Q-and-A to learn more about Jessyca:

What is your favorite food?

My hands down ultimate favorite food would be Italian; more specifically, lasagna with a side salad and breadsticks.

What are your three favorite movies and why?

Bridesmaids, Big Daddy, and Bad Boys. Why? Because those are the three movies that I can actually quote lines from, and that’s how I know I love them. Plus, old school Adam Sandler was the best.

Which bands/artists/genres of music do you listen to?

I bounce around with music. One day I might be listening to Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra, and the next day I have Jay-Z and Drake playing.

You just discovered the ability to time travel. Where would you go first and why?

Take me to 200 years from now. I’m very curious to see what life will be like for the generations coming up. We already have cars that can navigate themselves, and an Apple Watch can time travel to show you what’s coming up in your day. What else is going to be built, and how is that going to change the way we live our daily lives? 

You just won an all-expenses paid vacation to anywhere on the planet. Where are you going and why?

Bora Bora! I would need at least five cans of 100+ SPF so I don’t get burnt, but even if I did … it would be worth it. Between the crystal-clear water you can snorkel in and the gorgeous bungalows, it looks like paradise.  

What’s a saying or motto that you go by every day?

Whatever you do, make sure it makes you happy.


MSA Equipment Courses Now Available on TargetSolutions

New online training videos covering MSA Safety’s firefighter equipment are now available inside TargetSolutions’ online training management system.

TargetSolutions, a leading provider of online training management applications for public safety agencies, is excited to announce it has partnered with MSA Safety to deliver video training courses for MSA equipment.

MSA Safety Inc. is the global leader in the development, manufacturing and supply of safety products that protect people and facility infrastructures.

The following titles are now available inside TargetSolutions’ firefighter training platform:

  • MSA G1 SCBA Care & Use
  • MSA ALTAIR 4X Multigas Detector Care & Use
  • MSA ALTAIR 5X Multigas Detector Care & Use

Each course contains a 15 to 25 minute training video and a short quiz to test retention.

If you are a TargetSolutions client and would like to have these courses made available to you, please contact your account manager at (800) 840-8048.

TargetSolutions’ Confined Space Entry Training Course Undergoes Updates

TargetSolutions’ Confined Space Entry training course touches on hazard evaluation, personal protective equipment, and entry supervision.

TargetSolutions recently updated its Confined Space Entry training course with enhanced interactive content and multimedia. The 14-module course from the NFPA 1500 Series covers standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), permit requirements, and hazard control.

Other courses in the NFPA 1500 series include Bloodborne Pathogens Safety, HAZMAT Spill Prevention & control, Hazard Communication, and four modules of Advanced HAZWOPER Awareness.

TargetSolutions’ Confined Space Entry Training course is a one hour course featuring a 10 question exam. After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize a confined space and the hazards associated with confined space entry work.
  • Understand the respective roles and responsibilities of authorized entrants, attendants, entry supervisors, and rescue personnel.
  • Understand the elements of the confined space permit system.
  • Understand the equipment selection, calibration, use, and maintenance of specialized equipment and instrumentation necessary to identify and work within confined spaces.

This course is offered online and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This course is self‐paced online training. Review exercises and case studies reinforce the content, and students are evaluated with a multiple choice exam. Upon completion, students are prompted to submit a course evaluation.

To learn more about TargetSolutions’ NFPA training courses, please click here or contact us today.

TargetSolutions Presents Awards, Gives Thanks at Networking & Training Workshop

TargetSolutions hosted its annual Networking & Training Workshop on Feb. 2 during Firehouse World in San Diego. The event was highlighted by the presentation of three awards for clients.

SAN DIEGO – TargetSolutions hosts a special event each year during Firehouse World to thank clients for their valuable contributions. And each year, TargetSolutions has more and more reasons to express gratitude.

The opportunity to say thank you came Feb. 2 when account members packed the house atop the Marriott Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. Attendees mingled with TargetSolutions’ employees and networked with peers, as two fire agencies and one long-time platform manager were honored with prestigious awards.

Stuart Sprung of the Oceanside Fire Department (Calif.) was given the Helping Hand Award, presented each year to someone who goes above and beyond to help TargetSolutions improve its fire department training system. Two other agencies, West Metro Fire Protection District from Colorado and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue from Oregon, were recognized with the Vanguard and Technology Achievement Awards, respectively.

Attendees gathered to ask questions, learn tips and tricks, and offer platform suggestions.

“This is really all about you, the customers. We really want you to know we wouldn’t be here without you.”

Kegan Konrady, Regional Sales Manager

Here is a breakdown of the awards presented by TargetSolutions:

The Vanguard Award
West Metro Fire Protection District (Colo.) is a cutting-edge department constantly looking to maximize its training resources. After economic reasons led to a re-organization, the District was forced to find more efficient, cost-effective ways for managing training and compliance.

“It was out of necessity, really,” said Division Chief Dan Pfannenstiel. “We lost some people in training and we needed a new delivery model. That’s why we decided to blaze the trail with TargetSolutions.”

The District signed on with TargetSolutions in May of 2012 and has worked hard to exploit the platform’s capabilities and communicate those capabilities to other agencies in the area, making West Metro a clear choice for the Vanguard Award.

“West Metro is one of the most respected agencies in the Denver area and all of Colorado,” said TargetSolutions’ Regional Sales Director Phil Coons. “It’s a progressive agency that is looking to be at the forefront of innovation and that explains why they are experiencing such significant success utilizing the platform.”

The Technology Achievement Award
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (Ore.) was not able to attend the event in San Diego, but was given the Technology Achievement Award. The Oregon-based department has shown remarkable ingenuity in its implementation of the system, said Coons.

Having signed on less than two years ago, the department has quickly mastered the platform’s capabilities and is continuously pushing the envelope to achieve departmental efficiencies.

“Tualatin fully grasps the concept of customization with the platform and is finding ways to make TargetSolutions work for the specific needs of the department,” said Coons.

The Helping Hand Award
Sprung, who serves as Oceanside’s Fire Training Specialist, was a slam dunk for the Helping Hand Award because he consistently works with TargetSolutions to improve the platform’s capabilities. Sprung takes time to provide feedback, troubleshoot issues, and work with his neighbors looking to make the most of TargetSolutions.

Regional Sales Manager Kegan Konrady (left) presents Oceanside’s Stuart Sprung with the Helping Hand Award. Please click here to watch video of Sprung receiving the award.

“This is a really nice gesture by TargetSolutions, but it’s really recognizing the work of all of us collectively who are trying to find training improvements,” said Sprung, who works closely with members of the North Zone, a group of fire departments in San Diego’s North County who collaborate to maximize TargetSolutions.

“We might all have common issues and we’re collectively working to find solutions,” said Sprung. “I think I was kind of designated as the (chief liaison) for TargetSolutions. The one thing I’ve always loved about TargetSolutions is it’s always looking for feedback. It’s always been responsive to ideas.”

About TargetSolutions
TargetSolutions delivers cutting-edge software applications, engaging online training courses, and world-class customer service. The company was founded in 1999 and today there are more than 2,000 organizations across the country using TargetSolutions to manage training.


TargetSolutions Optimizes Two Online Training Courses for Water Professionals

TargetSolutions has made exciting upgrades to two courses in its online water and wastewater training catalog.

Two of TargetSolutions’ training courses for water industry professionals, Mathematics Basics and Maintenance on Pumps, Motors, and Circuits, have received major enhancements. The updates include a fresh design with newly optimized content, as well as activities that provide an interactive learning experience. Both courses are approved for recertification in select states.

“It has a new style, there are way more interactions. It was very static in nature prior to the revisions,” said TargetSolutions Director of Content Jeremy Lynch. “The content is all new.”

Special emphasis was placed on Mathematics Basics, which aims to engage the course-taker rather than tread along traditional textbook learning methods.

“I think what we’ve done to make them really attention-grabbing is the interactivity and the engagement,” said Multimedia Designer Paul Heresa. “They’re going to sit down and read and actually click-through interactions and attention-grabbing visuals. They’re going to consume and remember the information going forward.”

Please click here to learn more about TargetSolutions’ online training for water and wastewater professionals.