Setbacks at The Scooter Store
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - Between changing up his management team and taking legal action against some of his former employees, The Scooter Store President Doug Harrison had his hands full in early 2012.
The Scooter Store lost two executives in January: chief financial officer (CFO) Tom Shaw and chief sales officer (CSO) Mike Pfister. But the vacancies shouldn't result in structural or strategic changes within the company, Harrison said.
"Those are both positions that we will keep on my staff," he said. "One has been filled and one's about to be filled."
The Scooter Store hired Shaw as an interim CFO in mid-2011. But his family remained in California, meaning he had to commute to Texas every other week. That's what led him to take a new position there. At press time, a replacement had not yet been named.
Pfister has returned to the oil and gas industry. Steve Tatarian, who was executive vice president of managed care, will step in as interim CSO. Tatarian has been with the company for eight years and has worked in several sales capacities during that time.
Also in January: The Scooter Store sought legal action against ex-employees for violating non-compete agreements. Employees who sign the agreements are barred from competing against The Scooter Store within certain geographic areas, for a certain amount of time. The areas and times vary by state, Harrison said.
"We have lots of people that come to us that are brand new to the industry, so everything they know about it, they learn from us," he said. "We have a very thorough training process for all new employees and lots of ongoing training, as well, which is at no small expense to us."
Typically, employees honor the agreements, and there are few problems, Harrison said.
"Sometimes it is a problem, and then we have to pursue it legally and we will," he said.
Despite these setbacks, The Scooter Store is here to stay, Harrison said.
"The Scooter Store, like other companies in the DME industry, is faced with some serious challenges and also some tremendous opportunities," he said. "The increasing pressure may cause many, if not most, providers to go out of business. However, my faith in the American entrepreneurial spirit says that many companies will find a way to survive."