Brand Yourself as a Best Place to Work in 2015

More and more employers are beginning to see the impact of workplace happiness on the efficacy of its employees. Higher morale results in increased productivity, lower absenteeism, company loyalty, and a myriad of emotional and mental benefits for staff members. Prioritizing the well-being of your employees can earn you a reputation as a desirable place to work, attracting new, talented candidates and retaining your existing workforce. Below are four strategies that will brand your company as a best place to work in the coming year.

1. Treat your employees like adults.         

Treating your employees like grownups can manifest itself in a variety of ways. On one hand, you can give them the flexibility to determine how they work best, whether that’s their office hours or their desk configuration. Always assume that they are responsible enough to manage their individual workloads without constant supervision. You should also try to strike a work-life balance, allowing your employees to focus on their families or their health when necessary.

2. Think outside the box with benefits.

You should always provide your employees with a comprehensive benefits package, but there are other nontraditional benefits that you can offer to improve employee morale, satisfaction, and even their health. If you have the space, offer access to a gym or fitness center, and encourage employees to use these facilities whenever they need to re-energize. Provide healthy food, whether it’s from an on-site café or well-stocked vending machines. Consider offering rare, highly sought after benefits like paid parental leave for new parents.

3. Support education and professional development.

Employers can accomplish this in a variety of ways. You can host on-site professional development seminars, reimburse education expenses, or provide training programs for employees looking to further their skills. You should also use support mentoring programs to nurture underrepresented demographics, such as women and minorities. These methods will help provide employees with a sense of forward momentum and a constant challenge that improves their well-being and satisfaction within a company.

4. Give back.

Many people prefer to work for organizations that give back to the community or demonstrate environmental awareness. Your company can provide volunteer opportunities for employees, organize fundraisers for good causes, or find creative ways to reduce your carbon footprint. This will instill pride in your employees, while bringing about social and environmental benefits.

Implementing some of these tips may require more work, but you can improve your company’s work environment in dozens of small ways. Let in more sunlight, fill the office with potted plants for higher air quality, or provide ergonomic office equipment. Develop the right strategy for your business and make it a goal to improve employee satisfaction and well-being in the coming year.

Published in Hiring Managers

What You and Your Recruiter Need to Do Together This Year

Whether you’re actively seeking a job, or just want to have an established relationship with someone who can help you find new employment quickly, having a recruiter on your side can be highly beneficial. There are many advantages to working with a recruiter, including:

  • Typically faster job placement
  • Access to great jobs that aren’t advertised to the public
  • Being referred for positions by someone who has a working relationship with employers
  • Additional resources, such as help with your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills

In order to make the most of your partnership with your recruiter, there are some things you can do to make the process smoother and ensure great job placements. Here’s what you can do this year that will help your recruiter help you.

Reply to emails and phone calls

This may seem like basic common courtesy, but it’s surprising how many candidates fail to return phone calls or reply to emails from their recruiters. If you’re unresponsive, the recruiter will assume that you’re not interested in the position — and if you habitually ignore or fail to return messages, the recruiter may decide they can’t help you at all.

Recruiters have a responsibility to find great candidates for their paying clients, which are the employers they work with. If a candidate doesn’t return messages or calls in a timely manner, it’s easy to view them as irresponsible or uninterested, which are not  qualities employers want.

Follow up — but not too often

It’s a good idea to stay in touch with your recruiter. Following up on job offers demonstrates interest and helps the recruiter keep track of where you are in the process, and it’s crucial to let your recruiter know when you have a job offer. You may also check in from time to time, such as once a week, if there hasn’t been any recent activity.

However, it’s not a good idea to send your recruiter six emails a day, and call two or three times, to check on a specific position or any opportunities in general. Keep in mind that your recruiter is working with multiple candidates and multiple employers, and will contact you whenever they have something relevant or actionable to share.

Take advantage of your recruiter’s resources

Most recruiters offer more than a job-matching service. Recruiters work closely with many employers, and they’re often able to share resources that will help you improve your resume and cover letter, sharpen your interviewing skills, or even get additional training to qualify for more positions.

In addition to general job-seeking resources, recruiters can provide you with assistance for specific positions. Don’t be afraid to pick your recruiter’s brain and find out as much as you can about the positions you’re being referred to, such as the responsibilities of the job, the company culture, and the employer’s preferences. This will help you perform better in the interview and increase your chances of being hired.

Make honesty your policy

The best relationships are built on trust and honesty, and that goes for the relationship between you and your recruiter. If you’re not honest about your capabilities, your expectations, and your interests, your recruiter can’t help you find the best job for you.

Always be upfront with your recruiter. Offer an accurate picture of your skills and experiences, and don’t lie about your salary in the hopes of earning more. If your recruiter offers you a position that’s not the right match for you, make sure to tell them — and in this case, you may also want to have a conversation about what you’re looking for specifically, so the recruiter can find opportunities that are better tailored to your needs.

Finally, remember that trust needs to extend both ways. Take your recruiter’s word if they tell you that you haven’t been selected for a position, or that a particular job isn’t right for you. Never go behind a recruiter’s back and talk directly to the employer — this will damage both your relationship with the recruiter, and your potential relationship with the employer.

Keep these tips in mind going forward, and you’ll enjoy a smooth and productive 2015 working with your recruiter!

Published in Recruiting

Why You Need to Get On Board with the Hybrid Cloud

With the rapid evolution of the Cloud, today’s companies no longer wonder whether they should climb aboard the Cloud bandwagon, because the answer is yes. The only question is how much of your infrastructure should move to the Cloud, and when.

Hybrid cloud environments—infrastructures that mix cloud services with on-premise solutions—are here to stay. But many organizations still aren’t leveraging the cloud in the most effective ways. The primary reason for this is a focus on costs, as companies try to replace on-premise solutions with the cheapest cloud services possible.

However, there’s far more value in choosing cloud components on the basis of innovation, and aligning your hybrid model with the primary functions of your business.

Identifying candidates for the cloud

When planning a hybrid cloud environment, CIOs need to separate their workloads by business function, and decide which functions would be best served by migrating to a cloud-based service. For most businesses, these functions will be the core enterprise workloads.

Infrastructure components like messaging, supply chain, HR, service management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are typically ideal cloud candidates. These functions can be expensive to maintain through on-premise solutions, and difficult to integrate with a network. The cheaper, faster cloud alternatives for core enterprise workloads help organizations improve automation and cross-departmental functionality, delivering a more streamlined and cost-effective environment.

In these spaces, migrating to the cloud can be equated with buying innovation. Advances in software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) enable more features, better scalability, and decreased downtime for universal cloud-based services that are common to most businesses.

Choosing on-premise solutions

Where most companies err in developing hybrid solutions is choosing the cloud to save time and money for workloads that feed into core business functions. On-premise solutions allow for more robust and innovative platforms, which further key differentiators and help organizations remain competitive in their primary fields.

For functions that serve as your company’s main profit centers, on-premise solutions are the right choice. Your infrastructure investments should be directed toward these on-premise models—including all that money you’re saving by migrating core enterprise workloads to the cloud. On-premise solutions allow you to retain control of every aspect, which permits greater innovation and competitive advantage.

Blurring the line: Tips for maintaining hybrid environments

In most cases, dividing workloads into enterprise and core won’t always be a clean or simple process. The flow of information between departments must be taken into account, and full integration can be challenging with a hybrid model.

In an environment with cloud components, control is always decentralized to some degree. There will be parts of the IT process outside of your control, particularly when you’re feeding multiple cloud services into an on-premises environment. Within a hybrid system:

  • The IT environment is chaotic (but it can be controlled)
  • Operational performance will rely on external systems to some degree
  • The user experience is highly distributed, with some aspects reliant on a third party
  • Visibility is the key to optimized performance

Successful hybrid solutions will extend visibility to every component of the network layer. With orchestrated visibility, you can control the flow of information even when some elements are outside your control.

Choosing the right components to migrate to the cloud, and ensuring a seamless information flow with high visibility, will help you develop and maintain an effective hybrid environment that delivers optimal ROI for your organization.

Published in IT Infrastructure

Tired of Losing Top IT Talent Heres How to Stop It

There’s a new market for organizations to find and recruit the best IT talent—your company. With the war for talent heating up, savvy companies are bringing their IT employee searches to the competition, effectively doubling the blow by enhancing their own talent pool and weakening their rivals.

If your best talent is jumping ship to work for your competitors, you need to understand how they’re being lured away and what you can do to keep them on board. Here’s how your talent is being poached, and how you can turn the tides.

Professional search tactics

Professional search firms employ a subtle approach to luring in talent. They research and identify potential targets, then make contact with them to discuss a “great opportunity” through social media, professional networking events, industry events, and conferences.

Companies looking to tap their competitors’ talent pools will often hire these firms—or if it’s not in the budget, they’ll use the same subtle strategies to entice even employees who like their current jobs to consider a move.

Career matchmaking services

Recruiting passive candidates—IT talent who are not necessarily looking for a new job, but will make a move if they get a better offer—is a challenging strategy, but one that can pay off for hiring managers and recruiters. In the current market, both candidates and employers are interested in passive tactics: candidates for the opportunity to demand higher pay, and employers in the interests of solving the talent shortage and lengthened time-to-hire for IT jobs.

But hiring managers struggle with finding the right passive candidates, and employees who are working full time and not necessarily unhappy often don’t have time to search for passive opportunities. That’s where new tools like Poachable come in.

Poachable is an “anonymous talent marketplace,” geared for IT. Employees create a profile that describes their skills and experiences, and outlines their dream job—one that would lure them away from their current position. Employers then search these anonymous profiles for a match. The service, which has been called “Tinder for job searches,” makes passive candidate strategies easier on both sides of the equation.

Baiting with benefits

Smart companies looking to attract talent from the competition understand that money doesn’t always make the world go ‘round. Many talented IT professionals place a high value on the benefits and perks offered by a job—sometimes higher than the salary itself.

And they’re not just looking for healthcare, although a great employee-paid healthcare package is important. According to a recent study from Dice.com, tech pros are driven by benefits like flexible work schedules, free food, and the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies. Remote work opportunities, subsidized child and elder care, job sharing, on-site fitness facilities, and generous vacation time are also highly valued by top talent.

Showing them the money

While benefits can and often are a deciding factor, offering a truly competitive salary is crucial to retaining top talent—because if you don’t, your rivals will. Paying your IT talent well demonstrates that you’re invested in their future, highlighting their recognized and valued role in your company.

The best monetary incentives are more than a salary. IT talent values meaningful pay increases (those not tied to length of employment), generous bonus structures, and long-term incentive plans that hinge on the overall success of the organization as well as individual performance.

Keep your IT talent from working for the competition by offering competitive, meaningful compensation and great benefits, and being alert to strategies like passive recruiting and professional search tactics.

Published in Hiring Managers

 Bridging the Gap Between Your IT Department and End Users

The role of the IT manager is changing as rapidly as technology itself. And while the normal mode of operation for IT concerning internal end users used to be rigid control over technology choices, many of today’s CIOs and other IT leaders are realizing the benefits of saying “yes” to user requests for new technologies, while finding ways to maintain standards and mitigate risk.

In the past, IT managers were able to tell employees and end users that they had access to the best technology available — even if it wasn’t completely true. But today’s employees have access to the latest apps and industry information. They’re savvy, they know what’s out there, and they want the right tools for the job.

On the other hand, allowing access to any tool your employees want to use can create security risks and productivity issues. Here’s how to balance end user demands for new technologies with best practices and a degree of control, so you can bridge the gap for end users across departments.

Give end users tools that work

Many CIOs are realizing that when employees use tools they don’t have permission to use, it’s not because they’re contrary or looking to break the rules. They just want to get their jobs done — and if a tool helps them accomplish that, they’re going to use it. Often this means the tools IT has made available to them simply aren’t working well.

It’s important to make sure you’ve authorized tools, apps, and services that help employees do their jobs. You may have enterprise solutions in place that are confusing, or that don’t integrate well with existing systems. This is when employees start to look for workarounds in the form of easier tools that may or may not be authorized.

How can you figure out what users want? One strategy is to use a cloud visibility solution like Skyhigh to see what services employees are actually using — and instead of restricting usage, look for common needs and deploy solutions that address them. For example, if a lot of end users are engaged in file sharing, look into the app or apps that would work best for them without risking security, and authorize its use.

Collaborate on tech budgets

Even as technology expands and advances, many IT budgets are shrinking. The primary reason is that other departments are receiving higher budgets for technology investments — marketing, for example, typically invests heavily in analytics and Big Data strategies. For many organizations, marketing departments are becoming the largest software centers.

Rather than fight this shift, CIOs and IT managers would fare better by cooperating with other departments and gaining a say in how technology budgets are allocated across the organization.

Separate departmental decisions on IT spending can fragment an infrastructure and cause more headaches for IT. Instead, tech leaders should focus on working cross-departmentally and acting in an advisory capacity for marketing, sales, HR, and others with budgetary discretion. It’s easier to create a unified solution that successfully integrates with multiple systems from the start, than to throw a bunch of disparate systems together and try to patch things over after the investments have been made.

The new role of the IT manager is to bridge technology gaps for end users throughout the organization, and keep things running smoothly, efficiently, and securely. Being open to saying “yes” more often, and willing to cooperate with other departments, is the key to success in today’s business IT landscape. For more information on how to use this knowledge to benefit your organization, contact the IT recruiting experts at The Armada Group.

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Published in IT Infrastructure

 

Why You Should be Encouraging Feedback from Your IT Employees

Honest and constructive feedback is a valuable tool for any manager. But while you may have no trouble offering feedback to your IT employees, receiving honest feedback can be challenging. There are many reasons your employees could be reluctant about being honest — but overcoming those roadblocks and encouraging feedback can benefit your team in a big way.

Why employees avoid giving feedback

Even if it’s solicited, a lot of IT employees are worried about offering feedback. One of the most common reasons is concern that their opinions will be used against them, resulting in a more difficult working environment or negative consequences for their career. If this concern exists, employees will typically either give falsely positive feedback, or not speak up at all.

Another popular reason employees refrain from giving feedback is the belief that their thoughts and suggestions won’t be taken seriously, or even considered at all. If they feel, rightly or wrongly, that you’re just asking for feedback to humor them or because it’s expected, they won’t waste their time offering it.

How to encourage honest feedback

Whether your employees are afraid of recrimination or feel they won’t be taken seriously, you can overcome these issues by clearly communicating what will and will not happen when feedback is offered, how you’ll use the feedback you receive, and how your employees can help.

Trust is essential to giving and getting honest feedback. In order to find out what your IT employees really think, you need to create a company culture of open, authentic communication that encourages honesty. To do this:

  • Start with yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can’t expect to do better with your employees. Genuine feedback can be a powerful tool to help you identify opportunities for improvement and change your company for the better — but only If you really want to hear it. If you’re just going through the motions, your efforts could have negative consequences.
  • Show your commitment. Simply asking for honesty isn’t enough to get real feedback. Demonstrate that you’re offering more than talk by acting on the feedback you receive and making changes that address employee concerns. When you show that you’re serious, you’ll find your employees far more open and willing to participate in feedback.
  • Enlist your people. It’s far too common for leaders and managers to solicit feedback from employees, and then vanish while they “fix” everything themselves. This not only places more pressure on you, but also keeps employees from seeing the efforts you’re making to incorporate feedback. Make sure your processes are designed to engage everyone in making changes.
  • Check your reactions. If you’re known for reacting poorly to bad news or things you don’t want to hear, don’t be surprised when your employees fail to offer honest feedback. Taking note of and tempering your reactions will go a long way toward an open and secure workplace environment.

As a leader, your actions and attitudes set the tone for your IT team. Encouraging and gathering honest feedback — whether you use simple surveys, focus groups, interviews, team meetings, or informal hallway chats — can benefit you significantly and help you build a successful, productive, and focused workplace that gets results. If you want to find out how to better solicit honest employee feedback, contact The Armada Group today. They are industry experts who know exactly the types of feedback you should be seeking from employees, and how to get it.

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Published in Hiring Managers

 

Should You Streamline Your Hiring Process

With the explosion of the IT sector the last decade (or two) it seems to logically follow suit that onboarding and hiring should be automated and streamlined. Recruiters who have trouble communicating with either the candidate or other personnel involved in the decision will waste considerable time and effort, not to mention the undue frustration that will inevitably result. Here are a few reasons why streamlining the hiring process will help your business tremendously.

Time. Having a single source of all documents required and an integrated task list will eliminate a substantial amount of time, and free up recruiters and HR personnel alike for other tasks – like hiring other candidates. Time is always of the essence, and streamlining a hiring process can help you recover what is otherwise lost.

Efficiency. In addition to time, having a streamlined process puts all the documents in one place. This is especially important if there’s more than one person involved in the hiring process. The hiring manager can look and see what the recruiter still needs to do, and the HR manager can quickly access forms that need to be filled out for background checks or a W-4. Having everything integrated and streamlined avoids the frustrations of a disorganized service.

Communication.  A streamlined process will enable everyone to see who needs what done, and when. This eliminates several people running back and forth with a stack of papers to complete, unnecessary conference calls for status updates, or losing paper applications. Telling a candidate that they need to re-complete an application because it was misplaced is a great way to make them question the company’s ability.

When it comes to hiring and onboarding, technology plays as much a part as it does anywhere else. Having a streamlined and automated process will eliminate overlaps and duplication of efforts, as well as avoid “bottleneck” efforts which are held up by one person’s task.

At The Armada Group, we use a streamlined process to help you find the top tech talent. We work with some of the most innovative and fastest growing companies in the nation, and recruit the most diverse talent with a wide array of skill sets. Contact us today to see how we can help you!

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Published in Recruiting

 

Resume Red Flags for IT Candidates

With the IT career field exploding, an increasing number of candidates are applying for new positions. One common problem, however, is that a fair amount of personnel are trying to “stretch” their credentials a little too far. Here are a few red flags for IT candidate resumes to ensure you’re spending time interviewing qualified candidates:

1. Too many keywords, not enough substance.
Most IT workers and business savvy candidates understand that recruiters search for keywords on LinkedIn and resumes. Using a disproportionate number of keywords – without actually saying anything – is usually an indication that candidates might be borrowing one too many skills from a search engine. If their resume reads like a SEO cluster, don’t bother calling them.

2. No quantifiable experience or improperly paired certifications.
It’s not completely abnormal for a recent college grad to have higher certifications than experience. However, someone who claims to have a CCIE, but received a BS in networking a decade ago with no experience in between is probably not being honest. Similarly, someone who claims to have a CEH but works in desktop support is not likely telling the full story, either. It may not be a bad idea to hear the other side, but be prepared to perform due diligence in finding out the legitimacy of their credentials for  yourself.

3. Higher level position without a duties description.
Having a fancy title is nice, but titles are important because they mean something. A candidate who claims to be a software development manager, but cannot comprehensively list their duties (besides programming) is a red flag. Instead, look for words like “increased,” “reduced,” “performed,” and “productivity” followed by figures or percentages to show that there is not only a valid description, but legitimate, quantifiable results as well. These are the terms managers think in – and the words they’ll most likely use.

Ascertaining what’s relevant in a job field can be tricky, but determining the validity of a resume can be nearly impossible, especially if that candidate has had some exposure to what they’re claiming. Unfortunately, interviewing the wrong candidates can cost considerable time and resources.

At The Armada Group, we routinely work with elite talent, and we know exactly what to look for. We’re a Silicon Valley based group, and we work with some of the fastest growing and largest companies in the world. We can help you find the high caliber talent you’re looking for, and the best mix of soft skills to maximize productivity. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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Published in Recruiting

 

5 Things Tech Employees

Motivation can be a difficult concept to pinpoint and identify. Different people have different reasons for taking or working a job, and subsequently, different aspects they like in a job. Tailoring one specific aspect may work for one, or even several employees, but certainly not everyone. Therefore, understanding a multitude of reasons is ideal for maintaining high morale and an effective, productive work force. Here are the top five things tech employees want in a job:

1. Compensation and benefits.
IT workers know how much they’re worth – and it’s considerable in comparison to other verticals. Paying a fair wage ranks among more than 50 percent of IT professionals as their primary motivator. However, pay is unique because it’s often the primary, but almost never the only motivator.

2. Job Stability.
When a professional accepts an offer, there is an unspoken agreement that both sides commit long term. When a professional is unsure about their future, or the future of their IT department, this creates a perpetual undertone of instability – which often can create or encourage self-serving behavior in employees.

3. Challenges.
IT workers, perhaps more than other sectors, enjoy being challenged and solving complex problems. Mundane, routine, and repetitive tasks can wear on a professional’s enthusiasm. Workers want new tasks and responsibilities, even if they aren’t attached to a pay raise or promotion. Allowing workers to trade tasks can be an effective means to combat this.

4. Flexible schedule/Remote working.
Most IT workers are on a computer most of the day – enabling a large plurality the ability to work from home. Many workers are even willing to take a pay cut to work from home or work their own hours. Regardless, this is also one of the top requests from tech employees.

5. Relation with superiors.
This is a broad category, ranging from effective leadership to employees feeling that their opinions are valued. Often, workers want “attaboys” and praise or recognition, and will opt for a company that offers them more freely. Other professionals simply want to have a say in the direction of a company or project. Whichever the case may be, your company should strive to avoid an oppressive environment, instead allowing ideas to transfer freely.

There are a number of reasons different people choose different employers. The business culture of a company is often equally as important as the compensation and pay. Thus, creating a culture suitable for innovation is the most important aspect of an effective IT workforce.

At The Armada Group, culture is one of the ways we create lasting relationships between employer and employee. We carefully vet candidates to understand what they’re looking for, and match them to businesses of a similar vision. This method has enabled us to recruit for some of the top companies in the U.S., as well as the fastest growing companies in the world. Contact us today to see how we can help you. 

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Published in Recruiting

 

 

There was a time when job searching was largely confined to the local newspaper, and maybe a few friends or bulletin boards. Today, you can conduct your entire job search from your computer—or smartphone, tablet, or Internet-connected device of your choice.

Along with online job boards and electronic applications submitted through company websites, social media is playing an increasing role in the job market. The business world connects through online social channels, and you can use this vast network to find and land the perfect IT job.

Here are four ways you can use social media to find great IT job opportunities.

1. Leverage LinkedIn

For professionals looking for a job, there is no better social network than LinkedIn. This business-oriented social site, closing in on 300 million members, is built for connecting people with careers—so if you’re not on LinkedIn, now is the time to join.

One of the fastest and most direct ways to find jobs on LinkedIn is through the social network’s massive jobs board, categorized by industry and location. You can also find opportunities—or have them come to you—by being active on the site. Follow industry leaders and potential employers, participate in conversations, and post your own content to engage and share with others.

Also, make sure your LinkedIn profile is completely filled out, with detailed work experience and links to your online resume or portfolio, when applicable.

2. Advertise your availability

Referrals are one of the best ways to land a new IT job, but your online friends and acquaintances can’t refer you if they don’t know you’re in the market. Use your primary social networks (especially LinkedIn) to professionally announce that you’re on the job search path.

On LinkedIn, you can use your “professional headline” to establish your status, by adding a phrase to your job title such as “in transition” or “seeking new challenges.” This subtle cue can also be copied on your other accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter.

If you already have contacts in your industry, you can use social media to contact them personally, refresh the relationship, and tactfully find out whether they’re aware of any opportunities that might be a good fit for you.

3. Say it with status updates

Whether you post, tweet, or note, status updates are a good way to periodically remind your current network that you’re looking for a new opportunity. Be sure to note the types of IT jobs you’re looking for, and any companies you’re particularly interested in.

The best way to gain results with this strategy is to give back to others. Monitor your connections’ statuses so you can identify anyone else looking for a job, and forward appropriate leads or connections to them. People are more willing to help those who’ve helped them.

4. Expand your network

The more people you’re connected to through social media, the better your chances of finding the right job. It’s all about who you know, and who they know. With a larger network, you’re more likely to find someone who knows someone, who can get you a foot in the right door.

Start by ensuring that all your social profiles are filled out completely and ready for viewing by prospective employers. Then, invite everyone you know to connect with you—those you’ve gone to school with, worked with, people in your community, and anyone else who would recognize your name.

Finally, consider joining relevant groups on various social networks. You can find alumni networks, industry groups, interest groups, and even job-seeking groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that will offer even more potential connections.

How will you use social media to find your next IT job? If you are looking for tech employment in San Jose, contact our team today.

 

Published in Recruiting
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