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Thank you for visiting our site. We value our customers and appreciate being able to service the packing and shipping industry in many ways. We make it a point to have employees and contacts who are devoted and skilled to our commitment and our goals.

The formal training and experience of our staff and constant contacts is varied, so this is a great asset in writing and producing our products. Our group's backgrounds consist of mechanical engineering, retail and corporate operations, licensed building contracting, sales and marketing, corporate management, software development, bookkeeping and accounting, and of course, packing and shipping. We hire office personnel who know the packing and shipping industry.

OUR GOALS
Our goals are to supply the best in packing and shipping training since this is key in helping merchants to survive and to be profitable. Also, we want to keep our own learning process ongoing so that we can impart more information to all of our customers. Our pleasure is knowing our customers personally, too.

Please contact us to let us know of any questions or comments that you may have.

OFFICERS
The officers of VAN are owners, too, in a retail packaging and shipping store business for over twenty-four years. We continue to learn, research, and write and revise training. We want to help others to learn from our experience. Education is the key to success, especially in this ever-changing industry.

Fran Scarborough
Rutledge Scarborough

Fran Scarborough, President and General Manager
Fran's experience centers around operations, sales, marketing, and personnel, both in the retail and corporate worlds. She started at age 11 working for her family's grocery store, and then worked for Pepperidge Farm/Campbell's Soup for six years while working her way through college. With Pepperidge Farm, she was a store manager and assisted in opening stores in Texas. She learned the precious art of good operations and customer service from this fine company, in addition to earning a regional sales award for highest increase in sales.

With the help of the Campbell Soup/Pepperidge Farm, Fran was able to support herself and excel in college with honors. She wrote her thesis on Interdependent Learning and Interracial Relations. Her thesis supported the fact that college students learn best when they teach each other, as opposed to learning alone, regardless of their skin color, national origin, their prejudice towards others, or other variables. Her thesis has been reprinted in several languages. You can find it online at the Georgia State University web site under Fran Songer, The Effect of an Interdependent Learning Environment on Prejudice in College Students. Training was in her blood at an early age.

After college, Fran became a manager for Steak & Ale Restaurants (owned by Pillsbury at this point). She then moved onward to become a Food & Beverage Manager for a luxury suite hotel chain (formally Guest Quarters Suites Hotels ). GQ promoted her within five years to several positions: Director of Meetings & Banquets, Sales Director, and then to Marketing Director after she won a national sales contest. The Marketing Director position moved her to Charlotte, North Carolina to assist with the expansion of a hotel.

In North Carolina, she met Rutledge and helped him with his packing and shipping multiple stores plan. She applied what she knew from the corporate world to this new industry while overseeing multi-store operations, new store openings, personnel, bookkeeping and accounting, sales, and marketing. Within two years, she increased the net income by almost three-fold (see Sales & Marketing).

She started Vision Alliance Network in 1996 after being an international export agent for two years. Also, she and her partner (now husband), Rutledge, have been consulting for fourteen years to share what they know.

Fran and Rutledge have won five national awards in this industry while working with a franchise--three for best national multi-store operator, and two for best national store. The awards were based on sales. In addition, they were voted by convention attendees as the vendor with the best products and services at the Associated Mail & Parcel Centers National Convention in 2004. Fran and Rutledge are Certification Packing and Shipping Program Trainers. She wrote the national DHL training for Walgreens for Retail Shipping Associates when DHL was rolling-out this program.

The franchise with which they worked discontinued operations, so both Rutledge and Fran have had the experience of being in a franchise, but most of their years have been spent as independent operators. They did their own store renovations: from electrical, to furniture, to fixtures, and to the final store.

Vision Alliance Network still believes in the concept that the customer comes first. "Without our customers, we wouldn't have a business," Fran states. "Our company policy is to make each customer glad that they called us."

Rutledge Scarborough, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Rutledge started his work life very early at the age of fifteen working in a family auto parts company at the retail counter, doing deliveries, cleaning, and overseeing and working in the warehouse. In his part time as a teenager, he rebuilt autos for his own pleasure in racing, fun on the sand, and for four-wheeling in the mountains. Rut has won several racing awards (dirt bike racing and four wheeling).

When he went to college at Clemson University, he designed and built his own solar powered home and lived in it until he sold it and moved to Charlotte. The move was prompted by Duke Energy, and he was a nuclear production engineer. Rutledge is a mechanical engineer by formal education, too. His employment with Duke Energy was to write performance software for several nuclear stations. He now is writing software for the packaging and shipping industry (see The Packaging Expert).

Rut started a chain of retail packing and shipping stores when it was a new industry in 1985, so he knows the "in's and out's" of it quite well. He and Fran have won five national awards in this industry while working with a franchise--three for best national multi-store operator, and two for best national store. The awards were based on sales. In addition, they were voted by convention attendees as the vendor with the best products and services at the Associated Mail & Parcel Centers National Convention in 2004. They both are Certified Packing and Shipping Program Trainers, and Rut absolutely is the best with the Advanced Packing Training. He makes advanced packing simple to understand.

The franchise with which they worked discontinued operations, so both Rutledge and Fran have had the experience of being in a franchise, but most of their years have been spent as independent operators. They did their own store renovations: from electrical, to furniture, to fixtures, and to the final store.

Rutledge is too modest to have written about himself, so we (the staff) have written his biography. We have received rave reviews on his training, store designs, and crate building training, not to mention the fact that he's fun to speak with about new ideas.

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