Team Member Spotlight – Miles Oakley, Financial Controller

What jobs did you have prior to AZOR?

I’ve done a little bit of everything! I’ve worked as a bar manager, lots of restaurant work. Orange groves in Florida, sales, a recycling plant. A lot of different things, but A-Z has been my favorite by far.

Do you have any hobbies?

I really enjoy running & indoor rowing. I actually completed a full marathon indoor rowing for the Row for Hope fundraiser that A-Z did to raise money for Men of Valor! It’s a great cause. So I love to stay fit, but I play piano, write, & took some drawing classes in college so I like to think of myself as well rounded artistically as well. I even wrote a musical what feels like a million years ago. But my biggest joy by far is serving at my church & helping others when I can.

How did you join AZOR?

It’s been an interesting journey. Shortly after moving to Nashville, I applied for a warehouse position with our now President, Robbie Clark. After talking for a few minutes, & hearing some of my training background, I was put in a customer service position with an eye to develop a training program for our sales people. We have a lot of different systems, & new reps had some guidance but not the detailed documentation & hands on training I was able to provide.

How did you go from training to head accountant?

It’s been a winding road, that’s for sure! After about 9 months in customer service, I was put on training full time & worked with our IT department. That was a huge help, because a lot of the systems that our sales reps used were set up, maintained, & trained for by our IT department. I learned a lot about IT systems from our then systems administrator Jake Lura. He taught me a bunch about computers & servers, & I soaked it all up.

After a year or so of that, our leadership decided that our marketing department could use some additional resources. I maintained my training role, but took over our marketing department. That was a great learning experience. I set up our social media for what it is today, going from 400 followers to 4,000 on Facebook. Revamped our email marketing to generate deliverable sales. Rebranded our furniture division WBI, redesigned our website & designed the WBI site from scratch. Started use of PPC advertising, implemented best practice SEO, & started our video marketing. I have to give some big credit to my then assistant Liz Baertlein who was a huge help in many of these projects.

After several years of marketing, a position opened up in our payroll department. There was a lot of urgency as the previous employee put in their two weeks notice. I was ready for a change & joined! After a year or so, our previous controller retired & I was trained in that position as well. It was a big change of pace from marketing, but I got a lot of support from the rest of our accounting department & that made things very smooth.

What has been the most rewarding part of working at A-Z?

That’s a hard question! I really enjoyed being the first smiling face people got to meet at the company as a trainer. I ended up training over 50 of our account managers. But I also really enjoyed rebranding our furniture division WBI. It was totally ground up, new logo, new name, new website, everything! And I had a great group of people working with me to fine tune the designs. But ultimately, I’ve really enjoyed the people here. The people here are great, and I really respect the West family & their leadership. I rest easy knowing that my hard work supports a business I believe in.