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Russell Cellular executives Darin Wray, left, Nathan Mindeman, Jeff Russell and Robert Lister recently relocated into new corporate offices. SBJ photo by WES HAMILTON
Russell Cellular executives Darin Wray, left, Nathan Mindeman, Jeff Russell and Robert Lister recently relocated into new corporate offices.

SBJ photo by WES HAMILTON

2017 Dynamic Dozen No. 4: Russell Cellular Inc.

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SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
Nathan Mindeman: No. 1, you have to have the right people in the right positions. No company can succeed without its staff working hard and being ready to adapt to new challenges. This is especially true in the wireless industry, where change is a regular occurrence. Great people utilizing their skills for the betterment of the whole organization allows a company to grow. No. 2, you have to have a solid structure and support system. We operate with a franchise-style system – we want each person and each store to have tools and resources at their disposal to help them succeed. That system is critical when you are onboarding new people to keep up with growth, and when your current employees are going 90 miles an hour to keep up with the pace. When you have great people with a strong system, those two things can propel a company forward.

SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Mindeman: The biggest thing is trying to not outrun the support structure. When we’re trying to grow, we have to look at our system and say, “Can our growth be supported by those people?” You have to make sure, or you’ll see trouble there.

SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Mindeman: Jeff and Kym Russell have always been passionate about the company being a vehicle of opportunity. Russell Cellular’s growth has enabled us to bring more people on board, and to help those individuals make RC a career. We have numerous people within our organization who started in an entry-level position and have worked their way up to leadership positions that didn’t even exist at Russell Cellular five or 10 years ago.  I had the opportunity to begin my career in Arkansas as a sales rep, and because of the company’s growth, I was able to secure management positions along the way, until moving to Springfield six years ago to become the director of operations. You can talk to others within our company who have a similar story. In many cases, we as employees gained personal development and growth that we may not have received otherwise.

SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Mindeman: Oh, definitely. We have seen in our industry examples of that. Folks have taken on something that was more than they could take on at once. We’ve seen those unfortunate consequences. The wireless industry is always changing. When you’re trying to double or triple in size at the same time, that’s a lot to take on at once, especially from a financial aspect.

SBJ: Have your goals changed as business has taken off?
Mindeman: Our goals have been maintained. Kym wrote a full mission statement toward the company’s beginning. We go back to that every couple of years and look at it. We haven’t changed them since. It’s still about the people who work for us and the people who come into our stores. It’s been neat to see. We’ve changed and adapted in a lot of areas, but our mission statement has remained the same.

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