Team Member Spotlight: Julie Ruzicka
Let Me Tell You About Julie
By Karen Carpenter, COO
Eighteen years ago, as a first-time mom I asked my pediatrician at what age I should stop putting Kayla down for naps. His answer was, “Oh, you’ll know.” Then a few months later, when Kayla began staying wide awake past midnight, I realized that that was what he meant. I just knew it was time.
Several years later, I found myself in a similar situation at EPM. I was involved in the company’s day-to-day financial maneuvers (among many other things) and started wondering when I should get myself some help. So, I asked my business-owners peer group, “How will I know when it’s time to hire a bookkeeper?” And they said, “Oh, you’ll know.” Sure enough, the day came when I just knew it was time. And I also knew it would have to be someone that Jason and I could trust implicitly.
So, we reached out to our friends and family members for referrals, and Julie came highly recommended. She and Jason had gone to grade school together and had known each other for a long time, which only added to that “trust factor” that was so important to us.
Six years later, and I can’t say enough about the impact Julie has had on our business. She has been an exemplary employee and partner to Jason and me. and acts like every dollar in the company is her own. She’ll let me know if she sees something in our payables that seems unusual, or she’ll pull a report together at a moment’s notice so we can meet a deadline or make an important decision. She attends to every detail, catches others’ (and her own) mistakes, and just sees things that other people don’t.
She regularly goes above and beyond to make sure EPM – and its assets – are all buttoned up. We have over 40 vehicles now, and she takes it upon herself to make sure everyone is properly licensed and insured. That means you will find her standing in a long line at the BMV from time to time (something no one relishes), yet always without complaint and definitely not in her job description. I happen to know that she recently worked throughout the weekend to compile a copious amount of data for a special project with a tight deadline. This wasn’t something anyone asked her to do, but in true Julie fashion, she went the extra mile – without even mentioning it to anyone – because she knew it was in the best interest of the company to do so.
In addition to being whip smart, Julie is just so funny and witty. One of the many things I love about her is that you always know where you stand with her. She’s honest and straight forward, and I really admire and rely on her for that. She’s been such a blessing for EPM, and is, without a doubt, my right-hand person.
What EPM Means to Me
By Julie Ruzicka, Finance Manager
It’s my job to handle everything related to EPM’s money. I make sure the money comes in when it’s supposed to, that all the bills get paid, and that there’s always enough cash on hand to make sure leadership can continue to invest in EPM’s growth. I also work with our CFO to make sure Jason has all the financial reporting he needs in order to make sound business decisions.
Our customers are our number one priority, and even though I don’t regularly interact with them, I do a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make sure they get their money-related questions answered and that any problems they might have with invoices, and such are resolved with urgency and to their complete satisfaction. I’m a puzzle girl in my free time. It might sound boring to some, but I just love solving a mystery. So, on the rare occasions we have to troubleshoot something with the finances, I’m all over it.
I’ve been with EPM for six and a half years and have loved every minute of it. What I appreciate most is the company’s culture. The company in general, and its people in particular, are just so warm and welcoming. I’ve worked for big companies in the past, where you’re just a number and people aren’t treated as unique individuals. But EPM goes above and beyond to make sure that if you need something, they’re going to do whatever they can to accommodate your particular circumstances.
When I first started working here, my kids were in school (and not yet old enough to drive) so EPM let me tailor my work schedule so I could always be there to drop them off and pick them up. I was part-time back then, which gave me and EPM a little more flexibility with my hours. Over the next few years, as the kids became more independent, EPM had grown so much that they needed someone doing the finance job full-time. So, they promoted me to a full-time Finance Manager – that’s the job I have today – which was a win-win for both me and EPM.
Karen, especially, is constantly doing thoughtful things to recognize and acknowledge and celebrate special occasions in each employee’s life, like birthdays or graduations or anniversaries.
I can honestly say that EPM genuinely cares about its employees and about making sure we find a balance between work life and family life. Karen spends one-on-one time with each of us once a quarter to learn what’s going on in our lives. I think it’s remarkable that she spends her valuable time talking with each of us about how EPM can support us, not just in our work lives but also in our home lives.
Speaking of life outside of work, my two boys are now 22 and 20 years old. The oldest just graduated college and recently moved out on his own. (Thank goodness – he’s kind of a messy guy!) Both boys were into drag racing since they were youngsters, so I’ve spent considerable time with my family traveling to racetracks around the country.
Now that the boys are older and leaving (or about to leave) the nest, my husband and I have more time to get involved in the local community. We’re working to encourage people to run for school board and city council, and with fewer drag races on our schedule now, it’s been nice to be making friends closer to home.