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Quick, tidy up the place, a company's coming!


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POSTED: Thursday, June 04, 2009

Resumes may start flooding in to California-based FreedomVOICE Systems once people read that the company is bringing its employees, their spouses and significant others to Hawaii — on the company dime.

The company, which provides Internet-delivered phone services to businesses, hit “;a major benchmark, so the CEO decided to take everybody to Hawaii,”; said John Lincoln, marketing communications manager.

Employees get four days off in all — “;a travel day, two days there and a travel day back ... everybody's really excited about the trip,”; Lincoln said.

Some have extended their stays or have decided to spring to bring the kids along.

Nearly every employee will be going, but newer employees like Lincoln will be sitting this one out.

“;We're taking everybody that was on board when we hit the target,”; said Eric Thomas, chief executive officer. “;Some will come early and stay through the weekend, while some will come at the weekend”; and stay their two nights or perhaps beyond.

FreedomVOICE also will host a special company event on the Saturday night that everybody's trip will overlap.

Travel is staggered because some folks must be around to mind the store, “;so our customers don't suffer just because we're out having fun,”; Thomas said.

The FreedomVOICE crew will arrive at the Hilton Waikoloa Village later this month. The resort was chosen because, said Thomas, “;I had a great experience there before.”;

His wife “;is a very good salesperson and keeps me in the manner I'm accustomed to,”; he said, laughing.

She won a winners' circle trip there about 15 years ago and he got to come with her.

Remembering the resort's pool, Thomas is really looking forward to going back to enjoy it with his 3-year-old.

“;For something as special as this trip, I wanted to go to someplace that everybody associates with a premiere destination, the place you really want to go when you go someplace.”;

Some employees have not had the opportunity to travel and, based on all reactions so far, he “;thinks we knocked it out of the park for them.”; The offer to bring significant others applied to couples that were actually engaged, “;which is funny because a couple people got engaged (after the trip was announced),”; he said.

The company will spend as much as $80,000 to bring about 54 people here, not including all the children who get to come with their parents. The figure also does not include the money the employees will spend while here.

On behalf of the residents of the Aloha State, your columnist thanked Thomas for choosing Hawaii.

He never considered President Barack Obama's admonishment against corporate travel to exotic locations as applying to his company in this situation.

FreedomVOICE is privately owned, it is not taking a taxpayer-funded bailout and the travel is a reward for the employees' hard work.

“;We've got a ton of money in the bank. We always run the company fiscally soundly,”; he said.

He set the business goal in advance and “;did the math”; for the Hawaii trip “;out front, to make sure we can afford it.”;

“;I think the big thing ... people don't get is the most important thing is getting the right people in the company — and you have to treat them like the right people,”; Thomas said. “;The biggest asset any successful company has is the people.”;

On the Net:

» www.fvscorporate.com

» www.freedomvoice.com

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)