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Our VP of Sales Talks About AD's Perspectives on Technology

Clay Burnett

Responsible choices reflect the mission, vision, and values of any organization.

Dave Baker, our longest tenured Sales Team member, sees a change in AD's attitude toward technology.

"There is an expanding gap between companies that perform, and those that don't," claims Baker, "The best tech companies are delivering personable, reliable, and adaptable services. Decision making is getting easier... But only if you ask around. And I am thrilled that more and more ADs are looking to their peers to verify promises."

When Dave Baker left VNN to join FinalForms in 2014, he set a goal to create a positive impact on the culture of a business, his state, and an industry. Six years later, Baker looks back at explosive growth, key decisions, and the integrity behind FinalForms' impact.


Companies with strong leadership, adaptable technology, and outstanding customer support are few and far between in "education technology", or "EdTech". While dozens, if not hundreds, of companies and apps are bought and sold, launched and entombed, touted and doubted every year; few stand the test of time. As companies entrenched in outdated technology and sluggish support become less reliable, choices become easier for ADs.

 

Changing Perspectives

In 2013, Co-Founder and CEO, Clay Burnett, had secured relationships with a dozen schools in Ohio to prove FinalForms value to athletic departments. One of those accounts was Taylor High School, led by Athletic Director Larry Herges. "When I saw FinalForms, it changed everything," states Herges, "I realized that reliable, agile technology could improve my day-to-day work life." Around that time, Herges ran across Baker at a meeting. After hearing Herges evangelize the immediate impact of FinalForms, the veteran salesperson knew that he wanted in.

"It was simple and direct, like everything FinalForms does. I called Co-Founder Clay Burnett. We met the next day. I was on board," states Baker, "We shared a goal, but more importantly, I bought into the mission, vision, and values of the business."

7 years later, Herges is still a happy advocate... and that matters.

 

Key Decisions

Co-Founders Burnett and Macklin Chaffee, CTO, saw an opportunity to solve a problem from a unique perspective. The duo developed a paperless registration system that helped schools manage risk, compliance, and communication. The most important decision was to focus Burnett's energy on relationships while Chaffee focused on creating technology that could evolve with ever-changing rules and regulations defining athlete eligibility and coach certification. Baker trusted in the deliberate decision making processes that first delivered custom online forms and now: COVID-19 screening services.

"We knew we'd have to maintain positive relationships while delivering rapid-response solutions," asserts Baker, "These two had it down to a science. Plus, they’re ethical about the responsibility to serve."

 

Integrity, Action, & Values

As with every admirable company, aligning actions with values is a defining factor of excellence. FinalForms' fierce independence, which includes a 100% boot-strapped start-up story, allows the team to make decisions that align with values rather than bend to board member mandates for returns. The entire team, strategically built to include experts, ambassadors, and educators, collaborates weekly to share insights from coast-to-coast. Every teammate has an opportunity to put forth ideas that are prioritized and delivered to their market, satisfying thousands of ADs, coaches, parents, and athletes.

"Our independence allows us to make huge investments in future solutions, solving problems before they're problems. If we had investors and 'suits' running the business, we'd never be able to be as responsible, deliberate, and (not just forward thinking, but) forward investing in our team, product, and service," reveals Baker.

 

Change Made Easy

Athletic Directors have been burned too many times by switching, or staying too long with, sluggish service providers. The good news is that the decisions are becoming easier. Industry leaders are differentiating themselves by creating teams, adapting products, and providing services in a real-time, responsible way. And, only a few can do that.

"Dave is absolutely right. At the association level we see a few standout companies that make an impact at the school, association, and national level. Those are the obvious choices for the forward-thinking AD," says Brent VanderMay of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA).



Take Action Today

Whether you're looking for lighting, scoreboards, or athlete registration solutions ask around. Also, ask your state athletic administrators association which partners are making a positive impact on their level. Ask your colleagues about their satisfaction with different services (we proudly display ALL of our customers here). In the end, you have the same choice as FinalForms, and that is to make a responsible choice that best serves your mission, vision, and values; as well as your stakeholders: student-athletes.



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