In the wake of Atlanta-based USMotivation's sudden announcement that it was going out of business on Feb. 3 without any advance notice to employees or clients, Eric D. Webb, the CEO and co-owner of the 55-year-old incentive and motivation firm, gave Incentive this statement via email on Feb. 7:
"Clearly, the closure of USMotivation was a very unfortunate event and one we certainly did not foresee or desire. The impact to our employees and our clients is extremely disheartening. However, given the state of the company, ceasing operations was essentially the only option. Once we complete our investigation and determine the most appropriate course of action, we will address accordingly and share the appropriate details surrounding the demise of USM."
Incentive's earlier article on the closure can be found here.
Another person who wanted to address employee anger arising from the demise of USMotivation is Tina Weede, the company's former president, whose tenure with the company ended on Jan. 3, a month before the closure. Weede had turned in a resignation letter on Dec. 9 but remained as president until, she says, she was escorted out of the building a month to the day before the firm ceased to exist. Over the weekend, Weede announced that she and several former USMotivation employees were planning to start a new incentive company, Innovative People Strategies (IPS). That sparked some anger among former colleagues, who felt the move was long-planned. (See Editor's Note below.)
"There was not a whole big plan to set up a new company before I'd left USMotivation -- or even after," said Weede. "I formed an LLC on Jan. 13, and I am its sole member. I created that company so I could purchase USMotivation. That was my only goal -- I was in talks with USMotivation's owners until two days before the closure. My business did not start until Monday, Feb. 6. I applied for a business license on that day, and have 30 days to get it."
The team of four former USMotivation executives who have joined her in working to create the new incentive firm, IPS, is made up of former colleagues who reached out to her after they were terminated on Friday and over the weekend, Weede said, addressing comments by some former USMotivation members who felt they had been left behind. "I know exactly what I can and cannot do," regarding non-compete clauses and similar issues, she added. "The team working with me now are not employees, none of us is being paid, but now we have people looking at us thinking, 'You were planning this,' and we weren't."
Weede added that, "I wanted to buy the company to save it for the associates and the clients, and today that is 100 percent the same. This is about providing for USMotivation associates and giving the clients a place to go."
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Several angry comments were posted by Incentive readers over the weekend and on Monday on our story about USMotivation's demise. While several remain, Incentive was informed by one former USMotivation employee that a comment posted in her name was not written by her. Therefore we removed that post and subsequent ones posted anonymously. Future comments must be posted under the author's own name, and will require verification of their email address.]