Business Monday

Dale Carnegie Training Southeast Florida teaches ‘the people-side of business’

CEO Scott Garvis and vice president Christine Ramírez Pallesen, at Dale Carnegie Training Southeast Florida, 3107 Stirling Rd., Fort Lauderdale.
CEO Scott Garvis and vice president Christine Ramírez Pallesen, at Dale Carnegie Training Southeast Florida, 3107 Stirling Rd., Fort Lauderdale. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The company and its services: Dale Carnegie Training Southeast Florida teaches employees to stand out in their own fields, work together more effectively and improve sales and competitive skills.

The Fort Lauderdale-based franchise of Dale Carnegie Training, which has branches throughout the United States and overseas, offers an extensive program of modern courses for individuals and company employees based on the concepts of Dale Carnegie, an American lecturer, writer and pioneer in self-improvement and business training.

Courses range from one-day seminars to nine-week programs given at company facilities or offsite locations like hotels, as well as online courses. Clients include small businesses, professional offices and large companies like Apple, Florida Power & Light and The Breakers.

“We offer a wide range of public classes and customized training sessions, as well as one-on-one coaching and assessments for executives,” said Scott Garvis, owner and CEO of the Southeast Florida franchise. “We trained about 1,200 people last year — that was up 10 percent year over year — and we are committed to obtaining real results and ROI [return on investment] for our clients,” said Garvis, a graduate of Florida State University who became CEO in 2001 and took control of the family-owned franchise. “We receive feedback on all our courses.”

Clients are usually in middle and upper management, ranging from 25 to 55 years old.

The most popular courses at the local franchise are Skills for Success, which includes sections on building self-confidence, developing people skills, communication and leadership skills and stress management; leadership training for managers, high-impact presentations, employee engagement and retention and improving sales skills.

Getting started: Dale Carnegie, a successful salesman who became a public speaking instructor, founded the Dale Carnegie Course in 1912 and became an internationally known self-help guru. One of Carnegie’s books, “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” was a best seller after its publication in 1936 and has been regularly updated. The book, which now includes a version for the digital age, helped make Dale Carnegie a popular name across the U.S. for people seeking self-improvement. Today, Dale Carnegie Training has more than 200 franchise offices in the U.S. and overseas. Carnegie, who died in 1955, was not related to Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate and philanthropist.

Larry Garvis worked in sales for Dale Carnegie Training and saw the opportunity for business training in South Florida more than four decades ago. In 1970, he and his wife, Marlene, set up and ran the Southeast Florida Franchise. It is now owned and managed by their son, Scott Garvis.

The difference: “Business schools at universities generally offer theoretical education and don’t have the wide range of specific, customized training we provide,” said Christine Ramírez Pallesen, vice president. “We offer practical training and soft skills you don’t get at universities,” she said.

Sales: Revenues in 2015 were $1.9 million, and the franchise expects to reach $2 million for full-year 2016 and $3 million per annum soon, Garvis said.

Competitors: The Disney Institute, Sandler Training, FranklinCovey.

Glitch: “We have not told our story as well as we could have,” Garvis said. “We offer businesses a lot more than people perceive.”

Outside view: TrainingIndustry.com, an online publication covering news, trends and best practices in the employee training sector, chose Dale Carnegie Training as one of its top 20 companies in the sales, leadership and workforce development categories for 2016. In an article published in July of this year, the Wall Street Journal said that Carnegie’s 1936 book was still ranked among Amazon’s top selling 100 books and that its basic lessons about human nature and dealing with people in business are still effective.

What customers say: Davie-based Sprinklermatic Fire Protection Systems Inc., which designs, builds and installs fire alarm and sprinkler systems, was growing rapidly and asked Dale Carnegie to analyze its management system and help with employee retention. “They met with me and my partner, Robin Collier, and with all our employees (now at 150),” said Tim O’Brien, vice president and co-owner. “They told me I had to change my management style and let foremen and other employees make decisions, rather than handling all the issues myself.” Dale Carnegie started working with Sprinklermatic in 2014 and provided courses and coaching to management and staff. “The results have been remarkable,” O’Brien said. “They taught me better leadership and communication skills and how to deal with individuals. Our team is working together very well, people are making decisions on their own and achieving results. We are very pleased.”

Olga Torres, senior vice president for human resources at Doral-based SOEnergy International Inc., has been working with Dale Carnegie for two years. “We wanted to improve management teamwork,” said Torres, whose company supplies electricity and builds/manages power plants for international clients. “It was a good match,” she said. “They provided individual coaching in a variety of sessions and they helped create a better, more effective team. It was a positive experience.”

One of Dale Carnegie’s most famous students, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, told an interviewer on a BBC video that his certificate from Dale Carnegie “is the most important degree I have.” In the interview, Buffett said: “I was terrified of public speaking when I was in high school and college. I couldn’t do it — I would throw up and everything.” Buffett took a Dale Carnegie course and when he finished, at 20, went to the University of Omaha to teach so he would be in front of people “and make sure I didn’t lapse back. … It changed my life.”

Challenges and outlook: Demand for Dale Carnegie training in South Florida is expanding in several areas, and the firm is adding instructors. “Some firms have aging senior leadership and need to train managers and move them up,” Garvis said. “Others understand that they need training at all levels to compete effectively in the future. During the recession, some companies held back on training. Now that they’re experiencing growth pains, they call us.”

The writer can be reached at josephmannjr@gmail.com.

Business: The Southeast Florida franchise of Dale Carnegie provides training and consulting services to companies of all sizes and to individuals who want to improve their people and business skills. Covering the area from Key West to Sebastian, it offers a variety of courses at companies, offsite locations and online, as well as seminars and executive coaching, specializing in areas like sales effectiveness, leadership development, presentation skills, process improvement and team engagement. Building on more than 100 years of experience, Dale Carnegie emphasizes practical skills, principles and processes for “the people-side of business.” Dale Carnegie Training, which oversees franchises in the U.S. and more than 90 other countries, is based in Hauppauge, N.Y.

Southeast Florida headquarters: 3107 Stirling Rd., Fort Lauderdale.

Founded: 1970 (The parent company was founded in 1912 by Dale Carnegie.)

Founders: Larry and Marlene Garvis set up the Southeast Florida franchise.

Leadership: Scott Garvis, owner and CEO; Christine Ramírez Pallesen, vice president.

Employees: 10 full time, plus additional part-time instructors.

Ownership: Scott Garvis, son of the founders.

Website: www.southflorida.dalecarnegie.com

Source: Dale Carnegie Training Southeast Florida

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