To our owner, Brian Posten, “Celebrate Excellence” is more than a business name known for custom awards. It is a methodology of merit-recognition for the purposes of invigorating a workforce. This simple but effective model, where outstanding conduct and leadership is recognized, runs parallel to similar practices that exist in the military.
This is no coincidence. As a small veteran-owned business, with a customer base largely comprised of members of the military and first responders, our practices are informed by those experiences. Our home base of San Antonio is called Military City, USA, after all!
It makes a huge difference in the lives of servicemen, and the civilian workforce, to know that their efforts will be acknowledged and rewarded.
Brian first experienced one such moment of recognition while he was stationed in Cheyenne, Wyoming—but not until he stepped up to the plate.
“It took me a little bit to get self-motivated… to tell the truth, when I got there, I was still acting like a civilian. Didn’t care, starting trouble.”
It’s difficult to imagine Brian as a trouble-maker. If you’ve met him, you know right away that he’s got a mischievous streak, but one tempered with self-discipline and an abiding respect for others.
“I realized one day, that I wanted to make something out of my life. So I really applied myself, and started improving who I was. Once you get a reputation, people begin to make assumptions. It’s very difficult to change the minds of these individuals. You basically have to do double the work, so that they see it’s not just a one-and-done situation, that you are continually producing results that are higher than the standard level.”
Continued Success and Excellence
Winning the Airmen of the Year Award is a lauded achievement. It’s given based on one’s performance and integrity, and the candidates are highly scrutinized. The winners of this award are expected to be the most outstanding representatives of the Air Force’s enlisted, with impeccable careers spanning their entire lives.
It is truly a mark of Brian’s personal growth, that when the time came to put forth names for Airmen of the Year, his 1st Sergeant sought him out immediately.
“My 1st Sergeant at the time picked me up to go in for an interview. It was the final phase of who they would select. And he told me that he would have never known that I was such a productive airmen… that he had only thought I was a troublemaker, from the stories he’d heard. He was very impressed about how I’d turned my career around. Duty… community involvement, education improvement.
“I won that for the group, which at the time was about 500 other airmen. It felt almost indescribable. All of this attention on me, and all my accomplishments being recognized. I felt out of this world.”
For Brian, winning Airmen of the Year for his unit was only the beginning.
“I was there for a total of eight years. As my career started opening up, and once my leadership started realizing I was the go-to person… when some of the Generals came in and needed to be shown around, I was the go-to guy to do the tours. But keep in mind, it wasn’t just because I received an award. I would get those tours because of my reputation, and then they’d coin me—a form of recognition, presented in front of your peers, for doing something above and beyond. Recognition is very critical, wherever you are in society.”
Winning Airmen of the Year was a turning point in Brian’s life, but those informal moments of recognition are what matter to him the most. Giving someone a Challenge Coin (“coining” them) to recognize their achievement, inspires recipients to continue to do their best. A bit of praise that you can carry around in your pocket.
Other informal awards, such as personalized awards, custom trophies, or plaques purchased outside of the command structure, also have a great potential for lasting encouragement.
“In the military, with the various units that you go to—and especially as a 1st Sergeant, where you bounce around to different units—the awards that meant the most to me are what my troops, the people I took care of, gave me when I would depart. Thanking me for being such a great 1st Sergeant, helping them out. Those are the awards that meant the most to me. Because it means that I had a positive influence in their careers and their lives.”
The Celebrate Excellence Method
It’s clear that the Celebrate Excellence method really makes a significant impact in people’s lives, even outside of a military setting.
“Since retiring from the military, I’ve worked in other positions, such as a business development officer. I’ve tried to implement recognition programs, and the motivation you can give your people by recognizing their contributions to the organization. It’s worth its weight in gold. Even if it’s a pat on the back, or a thank you, or a letter, it really means a lot for people to be recognized for the work they do. I think I display that even as a business owner today.
“My recommendation is… I know a lot of the time money is a factor, and I understand that. But you have to have some sort of recognition program. Even if it’s a certificate for a free lunch! Or a letter. Or you as a leader, as a business owner, going to your people and thanking them from the bottom of your heart. Mean it. Be sincere about it. Say, ‘I thank you for what you do for us, continue the good work’. They are as significant as awards or trophies you can give.
“I recommend you visit a custom awards establishment to see what kind of ideas they might have. We have fabulous ideas here at Celebrate Excellence.”
Celebrate Excellence is located in San Antonio, Texas. We offer a wide range of products, from custom trophies and personalized awards, to Challenge Coins and medallions, to police badges and lapel pins.
Think of us when you want to Celebrate Excellence!