Striking a Balance with Relationships, Developing Careers Proves Gratifying for VBS Difference Maker Rick Lingon

Someone once told Rick Lingon that “life is made with time and effort.” During a nearly 20-year career, the vice president of sales and marketing at Virginia Business Systems (VBS) of Richmond, VA, has invested in both elements to forge an experience that has been successful and rewarding.

Rick Lingon, Virginia Business Systems

In a position of authority that mixes in coach, mentor, police officer and firefighter, Lingon has found the road to success is attained by striking a balance among all the different roles. Regardless of the hats he wears, this 2017 ENX Magazine Difference Maker understands that the best approach is to connect with his teammates on an even level.

“I try to treat people as adults and set expectations, but I also talk to them as teammates rather than subordinates,” Lingon said. “I integrate honesty and empathy in my approach because the people I work with really do mean a lot to me.

“Truly, for me, it’s all about developing salespeople into career professionals. I’ve watched many of them grow into their careers and have been proud of the part I’ve taken in their development, as well as the part I’ve had in the growth of Virginia Business Systems as a whole.”

Lingon’s journey to the document imaging industry is typical of many Difference Makers who sought out career-defining paths. During his late 20s, Lingon owned a contracting business for exterior housing solutions called SupEx (Superior Exteriors), and he did some bartending on the side for extra cash. But when Lingon wanted to get married and start a family, he sought out a more sustainable vocation. It was during this time that Lingon answered a help wanted advertisement in his local newspaper for a sales rep at a small Sharp dealer, selling thermal faxes (before the age of plain-paper faxes).

During his tenure with VBS, Lingon has helped the dealership expand beyond copiers to offering hardware, software and IT services, growing the company’s geographic reach in the process. His passion for helping VBS’ sales team realize its potential has made him a role model to many young account representatives.

Lingon is merely paying it forward, having garnered a great knowledge base from his first boss, Wayne Hypes, who provided insight into the machinations of business. Hypes also stressed that the sum of the parts is greater than the individual.

“As time has gone on, I’ve been influenced by all of the people I work with and their many positive attributes which help make me a better person,” Lingon added. “I’ve learned the most from being immersed in a great culture.”

The past two years have produced banner results for VBS, which set a record for revenues and operating income in 2016, then spent much of 2017 integrating managed network services into its operations while implementing MPS into its business model.

“We continue to improve both our talent and our processes to increase efficiencies,” he said. “We’ve been implementing various solutions to help improve our business processes internally to better support our client base.”

Rick and his wife, Molly, have two sons in college—Nick and Parker. The Lingons are outdoor enthusiasts who spend time at the Chesapeake Bay relaxing with their two labs. They can often be found skiing during the winter.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.