Serving South Bend, IN and Surrounding Areas.

Author: Michael Scott

Meet Kari Tuttle, Controller at First Response

Kari Tuttle
Controller

Kari started with The Sergio Corporation in 1996 as a Staff Accountant. She became the Controller in 1999 and is currently in charge of Accounting and Human Resources for the Sergio family of businesses including First Response, Michiana Properties, and Polar Clean. Kari takes pride in helping the owners run the day to day operations of First Response as well as her variety of corporate duties and responsibilities. Kari is a graduate of Butler University with a BS in Business Management with Honors in Accounting (Go Dawgs!) and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 2002. Kari is a member of the Indiana CPA Society as well as active in her church and disability advocacy groups. Kari and her husband enjoy country life with their school-age son and have two grown children and three grandgirls.

Meet Bret Young, Structural Superintendent at First Response

Bret A. Young
Structural Superintendent

Bret started his career with First Response in 2005 as a Superintendent for the Structure Department. Bret oversees the reconstruction of current jobs and organization of structural employees. Bret’s duties include everyday operations of repairs, keeping customers informed of the status and moving the employees in the right direction at job sites. Bret has over 26 years of experience in building construction.

Meet Amy Rhodes, Contents Manager at First Response

Amy Rhodes
Contents Manager

Amy has been with First Response since 2012 and oversees staff and billing of all contents processed from a loss. She builds the Contents Book and works with the software used to photograph, and detail all contents from a loss. Amy has one son and is very active with local animal rescue organizations in St Joseph county.

Meet Cheri Eberhart, Account Executive at First Response

Cheri has been with First Response since 2015 working as a Sales Executive in Business Development. Cheri makes sales calls focusing on new business and establishing relationships with clients both Commercial and Residential. Her experience of outside sales has been 20+ years of selling Transportation Freight Forwarding Services in Cincinnati. She is a graduate from Brandywine High School and attended Indiana University South Bend and National University in California working towards a Business Management Degree. Interests are physical fitness and eating healthy along with a special interest in her pet rottweiler and black lab.

Meet Luisa Guevara, Accountant at First Response

Luisa Guevara
Payroll Accountant

Luisa joined First Response in 2017 bringing over 16 years of accounting experience. Most recently Luisa was the payroll/HR administrator for a company of over 1,000 employees. She is responsible for processing weekly payroll. Luisa is the youngest of 10 and has eight sisters and one brother. She is married with two children and four grandchildren. Away from work Luisa enjoys traveling, crafting, baking and spending time with her siblings and family. Life is too short, you have to make the best of it!

Meet Brad Harding, Contents Superintendent at First Response

Brad Harding

Contents Superintendent

Brad started at First Response in 2002. He is the Superintendent for the Contents Department and oversees a staff of 7. He is responsible for the packing out, cleaning, storage and pack in of all contents deemed salvageable at a loss. All contents are stored at the contents facility until the repairs have been completed. Brad and his wife have 2 children and are very active in their church community.

Meet Jim Overhulser, Estimator at First Response

Jim Overhulser started his career at First Response in 2009 leading the Environmental Department as a Superintendent and in 2013 he became an Estimator. Besides holding a B.S. from Bethel College, he has received specialized training related to structural drying, remediation of fungal (mold) growth and microbial contamination: AMRT (Applied Microbial Remediation Technician); WRT (Water Damage Restoration Technician); and ASD (Applied Structural Drying). Jim came to our company with over three decades of construction and management experience. He has served hundreds of homeowners and property managers in caring for their properties over many years and in diverse circumstances.

Jim serves our clients through managing our well-trained staff to rapidly dry various types of floods, to remediate microbial/fungal contamination, and in beginning the restoration process after disaster strikes. Jim is a key player in leading our response teams into commercial, institutional and residential disasters: Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, Notre Dame, local hospitals, schools and homes to name a few. Jim is involved with the community of Bristol Indiana as a volunteer Fire Chaplain. He and his wife of over 45 years have served in short-term missions and have two children with four grandchildren.

Meet Chris Macknick, Estimator at First Response

Christopher Macknick joined the First Response team in 1998 as a lead carpenter and in 2010 became an Estimator, reviewing the losses and working closely with adjusters to have a complete scope for repair. With over 20 years experience in construction and restoration, Chris has developed a keen eye for detail. He has received specialized training and certification related to structural drying, remediation of fungal (mold) growth and microbial contamination: AMRT (Applied Microbial Remediation Technician); WRT (Water Damage Restoration Technician); and ASD (Applied Structural Drying) and continues training with the industry software used to create scopes for repair on homes and businesses damaged. Chris has lived in South Bend for over 30 years. He has one son, two dogs, and two fish. He also enjoys cooking, mushroom hunting and devoting much of his time as a local Boy Scouts of America Den Leader.

Meet Tony Sergio, Owner and Founder of First Response

Tony Sergio is the founder of the first series of Sergio family businesses that now comprise The Sergio Corporation. He coordinates the large loss and catastrophe disaster restoration division of the corporation. He has been a driving force in the rapid growth of First Response through 30+ years. Tony’s extensive background in reconstruction, structural drying and disaster response make him an asset on any job site. Tony has overseen expert luxury residential restoration projects and his vast commercial experience extends from flood restoration services in Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Cedar Rapids in the Heartland to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast states. He is an active member of Disaster Kleenup International, and many other professional industry specific associations. Tony is a life long resident of Michiana area and is active in his church as the past Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Tony has also served on multiple short term mission trips with his family. Tony and his wife have five children.

Meet Jenni Bryan, Emergency Services Team Coordinator at First Response

Meet Jenni Bryan, Emergency Services Team Coordinator at First Response

Jenni started with First Response in 2014 and is responsible for coordinating the Emergency Service, Structural Drying, & Environmental Departments. She also assists in coordinating the Biohazard Remediation Department. Jenni has over 8 years’ experience in the restoration industry. Jenni processes incoming calls for any type of emergency services that are needed, keeping customers and insurance companies informed on the status of the project, billing, and collections. She has received specialized training and certification related to structural drying; WRT (Water Damage Restoration Technician); FSRT (Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician); Odor Control and continues training with the industry software used to create scopes for mitigation & emergency services on homes and businesses damages with a keen eye for detail. Jenni enjoys her job, but in her leisure time she loves to spend quality time with her two children going bowling, skating, walks, bike-riding, hanging out at the beach or just watching a movie.

Meet Tara Taylor, Accounts Payable at First Response

Meet Tara Taylor who has worked with accounts payable in the accounting office at First Response since 2013.

Tara has many years of office experience in Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Human Resources, Payroll, Customer Service and Office Management. Tara is an Edwardsburg, Michigan native who still resides there today. Away from work, Tara enjoys spending time with family and friends and loves attending her son’ soccer games.

Tara gets great satisfaction knowing that she is able to help others in their time of need. She also enjoys being surrounded by great people with the same intentions.

Why are you not a BOMA Member?

What is BOMA?

BOMA is the Building Owners and Management Association and our local chapter is BOMA Michiana.  BOMA hosts a monthly meeting at different sites throughout the county offering a variety of services and experiences.  In the past BOMA has enabled its members to take exclusive tours of new building sites and offered educational programs to further business development and promote networking throughout the community.   BOMA is the strategic partner to property professionals throughout their career and provides advocacy, influence, knowledge and resources to ensure business and personal success.

Why would I want to join BOMA?

1. To build professional relationships in the Real Estate industry and network with vendors in the Michiana area.

2. To work in a peer group environment that allows for cross collaboration when issues arise.

3. To take advantage of the opportunity to learn and share the best practices in your industry.

4. To take advantage of the opportunity to see the latest innovations in new construction being utilized in St Jospeh County.

5. To take advantage of the educational opportunities within the industry.

How do I join?

For more information on membership, please email Rachel Smith at [email protected] or Elliot Lusk at [email protected]

Meet Denise Long, Structural Team Coordinator at First Response

Denise started at First Response in 1999.  She is one of two Team Coordinator’s for the Operations Department. Throughout her time at First Response, Denise has held a number of different positions and has seen the company grow and expand.

Team Coordinators are the office support for the superintendents and field staff.  Denise works closely with our customers to help ensure their satisfaction and consistently exceed their expectations.

Denise and her husband have four children.  In her leisure time she enjoys boating, reading and spending quality time with her family.

Meet Cindy Merton, Business Development Administrator at First Response

Cindy joined First Response in 2007 as a Project Administrator in the Structure Department. She moved to the Business Development Department in 2010. She primarily works with Insurance Agents and manages the training programs that First Response sponsors for Insurance Agents and Fire Department Staff. Cindy is an Air Force Veteran and also worked as a Fundraiser for various non-profits for over 15 years. She has three children and ten grandchildren that keep her young.

First Response Lunch and Learn

30 Minutes Toward More Successful Negotiations

First Response is hosting a lunch and learn on February 23rd from 11:30-12:30pm.  A free deli lunch is provided.

Geraldine Parhm, Certified IAIP Instructor will be our presenter.

Everyone has experienced the necessity to negotiate. Whether it be with your employer, salesperson, customer service, spouse, an employee – the list is endless.

RSVP to [email protected] or call 574-288-0500. Seating is limited.

Congratulations Chris Macknick on Becoming A HAAG Certified Roof Inspector

First Response estimator Chris Macknick recently completed his HAAG training and is now a HAAG Certified Roof Inspector.

Chris is highly proficient with all major types of residential (steep-slope) roofs. He knows how hail and wind interact with roofing, inspection safety techniques, roof area calculations, and applicable codes. He has a comprehensive understanding of manufacture, installation, weathering, hail damage, wind damage, maintenance, mechanical damage, and repair costs for each major roofing type — composition, wood shingle/shake, concrete and clay tile, asbestos, fiber cement, and various synthetic, slate, and metal roofing types.

To view Chris’s Certification please visit the following: http://haagcertifiedinspector.com/find-an-inspector/12699/

Meet Jessica Pantoja, Structural Team Coordinator at First Response

Meet Jessica Pantoja who has been with First Response since 2014. Jessica is a South Bend native that loves her Pinterest Boards and apparently is not worried about survival on a desert island.

Jessica is a strong leader who inspires confidence and trust in others by motivating the project staff to perform at high levels to consistently meet customer expectations. In her free time she enjoys spending time outside and working on various art projects.

Learn and Lunch Sponsored by 1-800-BoardUp

Do not miss this great opportunity to hear Indiana Fire Marshal Jim Greeson and Goshen Fire Cheif Dan Sink. Buffet lunch will be served at 11:30am followed by the presentation from noon-1:30pm.

Event will take place in the First Response Training Center located at 1919 S. Michigan St. South Bend, IN 46613.

Please email Tony Pigors with any questions at [email protected] 

Meet Al Scott, President of First Response

He holds the distinguished title of Certified Restorer which is an elite group of professionals that have receive advanced training covering all aspects of the restoration industry. There are less than 300 individuals with this distinction. Al and his wife have four children and two grandchildren.

Al enjoys the unique food choices offered at Temper Grille and has a golf game that most would not brag about!

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