Jim Reavey: Melding Two Companies into a New Vixxo Brand

Creating a new culture needed buy-in from 1,000-plus associates
by RaeAnne Marsh

Jim-Reavey

As Vixxo, the data-driven facilities management company is only a few months old. But launching the new brand was a very purposeful strategy, says CEO Jim Reavey. The former president of FM Facility Maintenance — with which First Service Networks integrated to form the new entity — explains that the goal was to have a brand and culture that would be created from the bottom up, completely fresh. “When we relocated the headquarters here [to Scottsdale], we wanted to make sure that, as the culmination of two companies coming together, it was ‘our’ company — not what legacy company you came from. It was us starting new.”

The two business entities brought together complementary objectives that has resulted in a company that can help customers maintain, repair and manage their mechanical and electrical assets. “We can give our customers better data and insights into how their equipment is running,” Reavey says. The company serves the restaurant, retail, convenience store and grocery industries.

As president of FM Facility Maintenance, Reavey had grown the Connecticut-based company from $20 million in revenue to more than $600 million over his tenure 2009 to 2013. “And then we were looking out for a technology platform to take us to the next level,” he relates. The FM Facility Maintenance culture had been focused on “being embedded with and strategic partners with customers” — looking at how to drive cost down and improve the reliability of their equipment. Scottsdale-based First Service Network was focused on the technology — how it could improve the process. Each “had a different view but wanted the same outcome for customers,” Reavey observes.

The employees helped form Vixxo’s new vision and direction, and the melding of the two cultures has been very positive for the entire team, says Reavey. Vixxo’s values and goals were built from the bottom up to make sure everyone was aligned as to where the company was trying to go. “Then we came up with the name, the rebranding,” he says, noting Vixxo is a completely made-up name that has no previous association attached to it. Reavey emphasizes the rebranding process was not done to the employees. “We embraced them and encouraged them to be engaged in the process,” he says, relating that he traveled a lot to meet with the thousand-plus associates to get their input, as “they’re the ones closest to the customer” — customer and, actually, third-party supplier as well. “Vixxo represents a new direction for the company, one that is founded on predictive and preventive maintenance and data-driven solutions.”

Reavey’s growth-oriented strategy ties directly to its culture of innovation. “We focus on the customer — getting everyone in the organization to listen to the customer, understand their challenges and come up with creative solutions,” he notes, observing, “A lot of innovation is in solving customer problems, and seeing if we can apply those solutions to other customers.” He sees the continuing evolution of technology as one of Vixxo’s own challenges, in grappling with how to best apply advances to customers’ portfolios. But focusing on how to solve customer challenges at the local and strategic level has fueled the growth that Inc. Magazine recognized in ranking Reavey’s company one of the fastest-growing private businesses in North America for the past seven years.

Another challenge Reavey sees is in the recruiting and training of employees and associates, observing that there is a growing shortage of qualified and trained technical people across the U.S. and Canada. The company culture of engagement, however, he feels gives Vixxo an edge in recruiting. Vixxo also invests in training “not only on our processes and the use of our technology,” says Reavey, “but we train our suppliers and our own people on how to work on technical equipment that they may not have had experience with before.”

Recruiting efforts specifically include military veterans. Vixxo works with members of the military as they transition out of the service to work in the civilian world. Reavey, a veteran with eight years’ service in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, says, “We find a lot of great leadership in veterans; a lot of leadership traits are very transferrable to what we need.”

Spotlight: Vixxo

  • Vixxo maintains more than 1.1 million revenue-generating assets for many Fortune 500 clients.
  • Clients include international brands such as Starbucks, 7-Eleven and Michaels.
  • Vixxo maintains a national network of 150,000 service provider technicians and services more than 65,000 client locations.
  • Part of Vixxo’s culture is giving back to the community. “We foster relationships within the communities we work in,” says CEO Jim Reavey. “We work with communities on what’s important to them.” That includes supporting the Wounded Warriors Project and, in Phoenix, helping Title I schools.
  • Describing the local business community as “supportive and pro-business, compared to where we came from,” Reavey credits business and government with “helping us find the right talent, and networking us into the community with business associations.”

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