Work Hard, Play Hard

Apex president Andrew Westlund’s charisma has helped make the company one of the most inspirational places to work in Canada.

Apex Wireless Inc. wins the hearts of employees and clients with inspirational management

Although Andrew Westlund is officially known as the president of Apex Wireless, he’s a man with a few other informal titles—notably that of coach and head cheerleader. During each monthly company meeting, it is imperative for Westlund to profile the personal side of the company. A short video starts off the meeting, documenting what the company did outside of work the previous month. The video features highlights from each event and recognizes the individuals who participated.

Such actions help reveal Apex’s modus operandi: inspiring people. Westlund only hires managers who appreciate people, rather than those who default to being critical. It’s a management style that keeps the company’s 125 employees engaged and the company competitive.

Westlund’s untraditional and inspirational management style has given Apex the success to be the number-one TELUS dealer in Canada, beating companies that have twice the number of locations. “We know that we have to earn the right to get a customer to come back for another sale,” he says. “We don’t think that we are entitled to this.”

This mindset has allowed Apex to thrive in a competitive environment since Westlund founded the company in 1989. “As more wireless competitors have emerged, convenience is no longer the competitive play,” he says. “It’s about customer experience.”

Apex serves a range of companies, with staff sizes between 5 and 5,000 employees. Most of these companies are looking for ways to monitor usage, both of hardware and airtime. Apex has incorporated many measures to give its company-clients unprecedented access to data.

Just last year, Apex released a free mobile application that allows each of its customers to monitor and report their cell bills in a simple format, eliminating the need for internal self-management of cell services. “These free tools are an excellent resource for companies to monitor and control spending through clear visibility into their account,” Westlund says.

In addition, Apex has renovated its stores to have an open classroom layout. Customers have easy access to products and knowledgeable sales representatives, providing another ingredient for a better customer experience. “We are constantly looking at being aware of what the customer needs and filling that gap,” Westlund says. “If I can fill that gap, I can win the hearts of companies.”

To remain successful, Apex values consumer insights and innovative thinking from its employees. For Westlund, the challenge in business is to value people and use money—not the other way around. “It’s an attitude [of] ‘nothing is guaranteed,’” Westlund says. “We are always reinventing ourselves in an arena that is always changing.”