RISCPA, Atrion Networking share passion for leadership training

Tim Hebert, Chief Executive Officer at Warwick-based Atrion Networking Corporation, believes in the trans-formative power of leadership. He has seen it work first-hand at Atrion -- and at hundreds of the IT service provider’s clients. 

“By instilling solid leadership behaviors in every team member, an ‘X factor’ occurs, thus thrusting the organization into phases or growth, transformation and achievement,” said Hebert. “Leadership and vision, purpose and values are critical components to the success of a business.”

Professional training success stories tend to capture the attention of RISCPA Executive Director Robert A. Mancini. When he realized something special was going on at Atrion, he wanted to know more. Mancini learned that a partnership between Atrion and RISCPA made sense.  Soon, the training center at RISCPA headquarters in Cranston was tapped the “Atrion Education Center.” Mancini explained that RISCPA wanted to reach to a wider audience including the small business community.

“With over a 300-member workforce, Atrion is a homegrown entity boasting a solid reputation and in effect, that impressive brand will serve as an appropriate complement to our organization,” said Mancini. “By naming our training facility, ‘Atrion Education Center at RISCPA,’ we are making a strong statement that promotes traditional continual education training for the CPA at the Society, but also promotes the alternative business training being offered by RISCPA’s newly unveiled, ‘Center for Business Education,’ which primarily focuses on the small business market. The Atrion name brings added credibility to this effort.”  

As the Society continues to refine its leadership training initiatives it will be looking to Atrion for ways to embrace aspects of the company’s own program as a benefit to RISCPA members. 

Hebert is convinced that true leadership – at every level – is key to the success of any business. He also believes that every employee is a leader.  

“Leadership that rests alone at the executive level never delivers the results desired,” said Hebert. “Strong coalitions of every employee to share and execute the vision are required.” 

It’s why the Atrion Academy is such a focal point at Atrion, one of the region’s fastest growing and successful companies since being founded in Charlie Nault’s Coventry garage in 1987.  To describe Atrion accurately is to acknowledge just how far the company has come. Atrion accelerates business productivity and satisfaction with full-scale customized technology solutions, including consultation, project management, manufacturer-certified training, carrier services, telephony, software and application services, equipment procurement, local and wide area networks, managed services and digital, and interactive and mobile media design. 

It’s a mouthful.  The company has earned its unprecedented success by being forward-thinking – by fostering the virtues of leadership. It is a company willing to share its expertise. The personal and professional workshops given by Atrion, as well as the industry publications and published articles written by its staff exemplify the passion and commitment of Atrion to its clients and the industry.  The company formed its Atrion Academy to foster continuous learning and professional development for career and personal advancement.

“Although the academy rises to the surface many areas of learning, leadership is a key foundational component,” said Hebert. “Within our academy framework, a specialty program called ‘Leadership Challenge Workshop’ is the core launch and development training for individuals inspired to be great leaders and make a difference at work and personally.”

Leadership training has long been a key component of the Atrion way. Launched in 2007, the company’s “Leadership Challenge” series is designed for everyone who wants to be a leader, from front line managers and executives, to those who wish to attain more from their jobs. 

“Properly trained leaders not only perform better on the job, they also make those around them more productive, responsible, loyal, and motivated,” he added.  

The five-part series follows the following format:  

Level I -- Model the Way
Leaders establish principles concerning the way people (constituents, peers, colleagues, and customers alike) should be treated and the way goals should be pursued.

Level II -- Inspire Shared Vision
Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become.

Level III -- Challenge the Process
Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so, they experiment and take risks. 

Level IV -- Enable Others to Act
Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams. They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts.

Level V -- Encourage the Heart
Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognize contributions that individuals make.
Leadership is a learned experience that anyone can attain if they believe in their ability to become a positive force in their work environment. Becoming a leader does not require a superior position, rather, it requires conquering fears, dispelling doubt and striving to achieve the most from life.

According to Hebert, Atrion employees have embraced the program, with 75 percent of them having completed all five stages. Enrollment, he said, is at an all-time high. There is a demand for leadership – a demand for professional education. 

Like Mancini, Hebert sees the collaboration between Atrion and the RISCPA a natural fit.  The two, in many ways, share the same core purpose. 

“Atrion’s core purpose is to positively impact the lives of others -- our employees, clients, partners, and the community,” he said. “RISCPA’s new training facility is a ‘forever learning’ opportunity we could help but to support through sponsorship. Personal and professional development is paramount to success. Our association with the new RISCPA training center is right up our alley and true and core to our brand identity.” 

The collaboration is a proverbial win-win. 

“Decisions in technology are no longer contained within the four walls of IT leadership,” he said. “Today, non-IT peer leaders, especially CFOs, are intimately involved in the investment decisions around how technology can achieve business outcomes.  There is a business justification required today more than ever in the history of the IT industry.  Atrion exposing our leaders and employees to the RISCPA membership and the member’s clients is a positive relationship development opportunity for both parties.  We get to understand the decision process of financial leader in a more cohesive way, and financial leaders and members gain a better understanding as to the business gains technology can lend.”