Small businesses typically have a family-like dynamic that is often very crucial to their success. As soon as a business starts to scale and increase their workforce, this family feel is often the first to go out of the window. A professional employer organization helps you keep your employee engagement healthy even as your business grows. Jay Hornbuckle is the Founder and CEO of Abatys, a PEO that helps employers with their HR and employee benefit needs. Sitting down with Betsy Westhafer and Tony Bodoh on the show to share what his company does, Jay’s business philosophy revolves around really knowing who his customers are and who they aren’t. He also talks about the human side of customer support, employer-employee relationships, positivity, and employee culture.
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Who Your Customers Are And Who They Aren’t With Jay Hornbuckle
Taking the long view
We have Jay Hornbuckle. He is an amazing individual. I met him a few months ago, but his organization is a B2B organization and they work specifically with companies to provide benefits. What I love about the conversation we’re going to have here are the stories he gets to tell about those individuals and how they’re navigating this challenging time of COVID-19. How they’re navigating the crisis in the workplace and how they know their customer so that they can provide the best benefits to those customers.
One of the things that excited me most about having Jay on the show was when we had a conversation in another community that we both belong to. He mentioned what these people, these employers are going through as they’re dealing with the fallout from COVID and what that has done to his company in terms of how they support their customers. It’s a different type of support because this is a challenging, emotional, complicated and compliance-related issue. The support that his company has to lend their customers is extraordinary. I can’t wait to dive in.
Jay is the CEO of Abatys, which is a PEO, many of you are familiar with that term employee benefits. What strikes me about his background is he is well-traveled. He has been in a lot of cool places. He studied college in Hawaii. He had been all over the world. He’s also a champion powerlifter and an excellent businessman. Also, he has a daughter who was one of those who had special graduation from high school in 2020. There are all kinds of stories about the creative ways that seniors had to graduate from high school and I think at first, and I’m going off on a tangent here, but I think this is important.
At first, everybody’s like, “Those poor seniors. They’re missing out on this. They’re missing out on that. They’re not going to get to go to prom,” and all those things and what I’ve seen unfold from that is the creative, magical, memory-making high school graduation that is unique and extraordinary to each high school. Jay, when I read that your daughter was in that class, I thought, “That’s a special group and this experience is going to live with them forever.” I wanted to touch on that a little bit, but Jay, welcome to the show. We’re glad you’re here. Fill us in on some of those points that I brought up as far as your travels, your business and your family life. Let us know who Jay is.
Thank you. I’m privileged to be here guys. When I was in college, I started off at the University of Hawaii because I have a buddy and I love to surf. We decided, “Where do you want to go to college?” It’s like, “The best surfing place in the US is Hawaii.” We started there but only stayed there for 1.5 years before I went over to the University of London. I transferred over to the University of London. It’s the complete opposite end of the world in the spectrum on how we lived but then we came back to California after that. That was fun on the travel parts. The seniors this year, they’re going through unique pieces. They’re doing a car drive-by memento. They’re going to have all the drones in the air and some fun things like that. Prom was virtual for her. She and her date got dressed up. Everything was done online. It was so unique.
Isn’t it crazy? It’s crazy to see the problem solving that’s going on and the creativity. Who a few months ago could have imagined the term virtual prom?
They get to be the first one. There is a uniqueness and yet there’s safety in it. We’re looking at the positive on those pieces and letting her know. My father, when he graduated immediately joined the Air Force so he wouldn’t be drafted into the Army, Marines or whatever during Vietnam time. You don’t have the only unique time, but at least this is your situation versus something like that. We’re trying to keep it on a positive level. Even though there’s some sadness in it and like this only one parent can be in the car. You can’t have all your grandparents. It’s only one car per family and some of those things. There are some, “Aw,” type of pieces into it. They’re going through a unique time.
I think that a lot of this ties into business as well, but the whole concept of managing expectations. What we’re going through now in these events, in graduations, weddings and all of these things, we had a certain set of expectations on how it’s supposed to be. Realizing now that our expectations have been blown out of the water, but it doesn’t make it bad. That translates into the business too. We expected X, Y, and Z to happen because that’s what the strategic plan called for and now that plan’s been blown up, but it doesn’t necessarily make it bad because of look at all the businesses that are pivoting and serving their customers differently. It’s an interesting time and we’re looking forward to getting your perspective because I think this conversation with you will illustrate that point about how you’re having to manage your customer’s expectations and serve them differently.
I’m excited about the conversation here because it is a unique time. It hasn’t been that long and yet every state is going through a shutdown. What did that shut down mean? There were companies that were allowed to stay open. They’re considered essential. There are companies that had completely shut down and they’re being told at first, “It’s going to be 2 weeks, maybe 3 weeks,” and then that got extended. Now we’re in the position where there are some states that are fully open, some states that are opening certain businesses more, but with more rules. There are some states that are still in virtual complete shutdown.
When you were talking about how it’s been a short time, but it feels like a long time to some. I saw a meme and it said, “This is such a unique year because February had 29 days, March had 427 days, and April had 937 days.” It feels like so much has happened in such a short amount of time with virtually little notice. Tony, I know you had some good kickoff questions for Jay, so let’s turn it over to you.A person’s business is their baby. You have to remember that.CLICK TO TWEET
It’s interesting because the conversation there, where we’re going, it’s the thing that stands out to me in this time of crisis. I’ve heard that in the Chinese language, crisis means opportunity and challenge. There’s something that we can learn from this. As I think about it, you’ve got all these different companies that your team helps provide benefits for you. You work with vendors who have these benefits and you broker them. Give us a little bit more about what your company does and help us to understand what it was like maybe back in January and February when you’re going through all the benefits sign up or taking off the new benefits a year for most companies, probably at that point. Suddenly how that shifted and where you are now, walk us through what that looked like for you and for your company.
Abatys is a PEO product, a broker provider, which means Professional Employer Organization. We do the HR and employee benefits for companies. Product broker means we’re not the carrier, we’re not Kaiser, Health Net, and Blue Shield. I’m not sure what everybody knows all across the country. We connect them with those best carriers on a platform that maximizes their cost benefits versus the richness of benefits. To give you an example of how we work, we had about 340,000 employees when we came into January. We had a business plan of tripling this over the next 12 to 15 months and that was realistic for how we’re doing business, working with TriNet, working with Insurity, places that we work with on how we work across this nation. You’re moving forward, you’re helping people work with those HR legal mitigations, your worker’s comp, health benefits, all those pieces. You’re rolling forward.
Our economy was booming. If you’ve been around for any bit of time, you understand, we have these ebbs and flows in business. We were at the height of the height. We had not seen a better economy since maybe the ‘60s, if not ever. Things were moving forward and we had a lot of pieces rolling in and then March hit. We’re hearing little things in February or whatever but nothing was being done. You’re still moving forward and then, as we all know that March 12th I believe, where the markets fell. At the same time here in California, I happen to be located in California here, the shutdown happened on that Monday. On Friday, the markets fall and we understand people are seeing what’s going to happen and then the markets fall and everybody has to start doing business differently like that.
It boggled the mind. Most people, they started hearing this like, “I could shut down for two weeks, I’ve been on vacation for two weeks before. I can do this. Shelter in place. It means I’m vacationing inside my home where I’m located.” Businesses are like, “Employees, we’re going to shut down for two weeks,” but immediately we’re getting those calls. We’re getting, “Can they take the vacation off their time? What does this look like? Am I furloughing? Am I laying them off for two weeks? That doesn’t make sense? What are those pieces?” We immediately pivot shift. For us, that was a little bit of a shift on what we were receiving in questions and having to answer for our clients.
There wasn’t much way that you could predict what those questions are and even still now, I’ve got clients and Betsy has got clients. On a week-to-week basis, the questions are changing as we’re consulting. I’ve been working with clients trying to help them get new online revenue streams. That was in March. April was like, “What do we do with this continues?” Now it’s the reopening for some areas. How do we reopen? Should we reopen yet? What does that mean if this or that happens? In your world, you’re seeing the questions change week-to-week and depending on where the company’s located, that’s probably also having an effect.
Where you’re located, you could be under different rules and regulations. What’s the red tape you have to jump through even to make those shifts, make those pivots? Those questions are happening. What is my responsibility versus having this person inside the office? Now they’re at home working for me. What does it look like they were a full-time, 40-hour-a-week person, with what they’re doing at home, I think they’re working about 20 hours a week? Am I still paying them 40? There were a lot of those questions that were happening immediately as they shifted from what we considered normal for decades and then all of a sudden being shifted into doing things differently.
Jay, you shared with us a story when we had our prep session about some of the tough decisions that your clients were having to make but involving you in those conversations. One specifically was about a husband and wife team that owned a company. Tell us a couple of these stories that you’ve had to change your skillsets maybe or enhance your skillsets on helping your clients navigate this beyond the, “Here’s what you need to do. Here’s the compliance thing. Here’s what we’re recommending,” but some of these other human aspects of customer engagement.
As this progressed, we’ve gone now past this two-week period and we’re being told, “You’re going to have to be shut down another 2 weeks, 4 weeks,” whatever this looks like. Now, we started going into a time where people did start laying people off. What Betsy is talking about is now our clients are going through things. A lot of business owners, they’re related, it’s their family members that they now have to lay off. It’s their brother, it’s their nephew. As I told Betsy and Tony one of the stories, a husband, wife team that had been working together for over twenty years, they own this company together. They’re incorporated, they’re both employees of the company and their CPA as they’re talking, “How do we move through this? What does this look like?” He goes, “One of you needs to go.” Now they’re sitting there going, “We have to lay one or the other off. Who is more important? Who runs the company better?”
Now, the other spouse is going to go on unemployment and look for other jobs. It happened to be the wife that chose to be unemployed. She went out and looked for another job, did get one amazingly. How hard is it to be in a relationship and have that relationship tied to a business that is your baby? For many business owners, their business is their baby. It is and everybody involved, especially the employees. Employers love on their employees. For the most part, I would say 98% of all business owners love their employees whether they’re family members or not like their family.
Like this situation, the psychological effects that now start going on and you have to start working through. It is no wonder that you start seeing some of the challenges. We see alcoholism, drug use and suicides go up because of situations like this. They’re not all related to this, even though most of them are from being unemployed or no longer having your business. There’s nothing harder than shutting your business door and knowing you’re never going to open it again. When you’re now tying that to family members and we’ve heard all the stories. I could tell you many of this was my brother and I’s company. We were both contractors. This is what we do and now we’re having to shut the doors or lay one of those people off. It’s hard.Almost all business owners love their employees. There is nothing harder to do than shutting down the doors on them.CLICK TO TWEET
In conversations like that, when they come to you and they’re sharing with you what their situation is, how do you as their guide and their advisor manage that? How do you keep your team feeling upbeat and positive in a stressful situation so that they don’t start sinking as well?
As a team, we work on those positive modes. We do The Miracle Morning work and how that works. You gave the thumbs up so you must know The Miracle Morning.
I do and I had the great fortune to get to interview Hal Elrod for an article I wrote. I’m a big fan of The Miracle Morning.
We work in the same circles. Hal Elrod lives about four blocks away from me. I’ve known him since he had his accident 16, 17 years ago. We work on what we can do as a team to keep our own selves up and then try to bring that to our clients. I’m that frontline guy where many other on the team are on the fulfillment piece. They’re after the census comes in. I’m that frontline guy a lot working with the business owners, not the employee so much, but I work with the CEOs, founders, owners. Our discussions started going from 1 minute to 5 minutes to 10 minutes, conversations that we never had. How is this affecting you, your family? How is your shift going to matter to you? There’s no harder conversation than those of when they’re choosing to shut their doors, which has been about 20% of our business.
When we talk about the Really Know Your Customer, you’re taking that to an extremely deep level because you are truly getting to know what’s going on with your customers. When those 20% decide to shut their doors, the impact that has on your business as well. It’s this circle and I don’t want this to turn into a big negative thing, but then what I mean is you have to think too, “How do we get new customers, new clients during this time to sustain our own business?” What are some of the things that you’re doing to attract new clients and getting to know them?
During this shift, we have had a purposeful okay. For those that are going to make it, there are even startups happening now that we are being there as a resource. We’ve been there, done that. We have a lot of story of going through the last recession, that 2008 to 2011 period where people rode that completely different roller coaster. In fact, that’s in a different park, but we’re still able to talk through how to get into the seat, how to put your seat belt buckle on. We’re working hard on that. At the same time, we’re learning how to work with less. I say we’ve lost about 20% of our business clientele and about 30% to 33% of our employee base, which is how we get paid is by the number of employees. We work with companies that have 10 to 500 employees and that affects us. If you were a 300-employee company, now you’ve laid a bunch of people off and you’re a 50-employee company. That affects our bottom line. Also, we understand how that’s affecting their business on a bottom line as they’re making those decisions. Exactly, you have to go out and replace that.
We’re looking at the long-term on those and fortunately, like our company, we were already in a good growth mode sector. Now we’re working with the shifts as we call them of doing business. You’re looking for positives. One positive that we’ve seen come out of this situation is people willing to do business online, on a Zoom call. Zoom is a big power player in the market of virtual meetings. Before they wanted, they had to see you face-to-face. You had to be able to shake their hands and give them hugs. Now, you can do a meeting for 30 minutes, that same 30-minute meeting, but instead of a 30 minute, 1-hour, sometimes 3, 4-hour drive, now you’re doing a 30-minute meeting and you’re onto the next one. You’re able to meet more people and work with them one-on-one yet, you’re still seeing them. I see your face, Betsy, I see your face, Tony. I can see, “Are you tracking with me? Are we working together?” It’s close. I know it’s not perfect but that is a positive shift change in my mind for our business.
It’s funny, Jay, because Betsy and I, most of our relationship has been on Zoom. I say that because we’ve met in person I think twice before we wrote our book in 2018. We wrote our entire book, ProphetAbility, completely through Zoom calls and Google Docs. It was virtually done. This was years ago. I know Betsy has been running her company that way, although she has been traveling with that as well or had been before this hit. As I step back and think about it, one of the things that I noticed is you have this deep understanding of who your customers are, the types of business, they’re all small business 10 to 500 employees. You’ve got a deep understanding of your customers as individuals, as business owners, you understand certain industries there. Take us a little bit deeper into how you decide once you know these industries, once you know these customers, who you’re looking for. How you get to know that aspect as you’re looking at a new prospect or a new lead that comes in the door.
That’s one of the shifts we’ve had to make because our largest sector that we worked with, they have a lot of onboarding and offboarding. In other words, a lot of change in employees which made our company extremely valuable were your Main Street companies. They were your restaurants, dry cleaners, people that are brick and mortar, have had their doors open on the street. Those companies have had a lot of change. One of our shifts has been we’ve already been working with a lot of the startups in growth mode, which makes a lot of sense for PEO. A lot of times, they’re the ones that have heard of what PEO does. In fact, a lot of times it’s demanded by their Angel investors or venture capitalists, the people investing in them will demand that they’re on a platform like we offer.
For the audiences, to let you know, a couple of small companies that have been on the platform, that there is a time where they come off, it’s usually about 1,500 to 2,000 employees. If you’ve ever heard of Yahoo, Google, Salesforce, HubSpot and Facebook, just to name a few, they all started on the platform and then graduated off. They are all companies that have many more employees than what I just named. That’s where our focus has gone now is those startups or tech companies that are in growth mode because they’re the ones that are seeing business. The software companies and virtual meeting companies, there are companies that are going into the space of, “How could I log on with Zoom and make things better?” or make your life better for at home?The typical small business owner would rather run their business into the ground than hurt an employee.CLICK TO TWEET
We started working with a company that is working with companies on this shift. They are called RemoteWorks. They are working, “You were a standard-based go-to-the-office type of business. How do we shift now every piece of your business to where you have a certain amount of people working virtually whether that’s everybody or a percentage or what not?” What they’re doing is amazing in my mind. Those are the kinds of companies. They’re there and we’re out there trying to help them with the pieces that they don’t want to work with. You’re working with your widget and your service. You don’t want to be doing all the HR, state-level regulation and your benefits if that’s not the business you’re in.
What strikes me about what you were talking about, Jay, is when you talk about, “They start with us, but then they graduate.” You’re not trying to be all things to all people. You really know who your customers truly are and who they aren’t. Even though the opportunity to have these big companies is probably massive. You’re focused on who you can serve the best and I love that because you truly know who your customers are.
One of those reasons is because that’s who Jay Hornbuckle is. Jay Hornbuckle has always been that small business owner running a company with 20 to 25 people. It’s funny the business I’m in and yet I do not like all of the regulations, everything that goes along with having employees. When I say regulations, even the taxes that go along, but other people sitting at home, they’re working for a government agency or they’re working for their employee and they don’t understand all those behind the scenes pieces that are going on. They see the big evil business owner, he’s taking it all. It’s like, “No, 95% of those guys will run their business into the ground before they hurt an employee, don’t pay them or whatever that looks like giving them the opportunity.”
One of the things you mentioned was that sometimes business owners care so much that it’s to their detriment. Talk to us a little bit about what you mean by that statement.
That’s easy is where they’ll take too long to lay somebody off because they’ve had the company picnics, they know their family, their children. Those children come to the office and say, “Dad, mom, this is what’s going on.” They will take so long going, “We can’t afford this person anymore,” but they wait to, I won’t even say last minute, because that minute’s already passed, weeks ago, months ago. They’ve kept this person on to the detriment of the business, to where sometimes that it can close down the business because they’re like, “I’m going to make this work. I’m going to find those five extra clients or whatever to keep John and Martha on.” Unfortunately, it can be to such a detriment to the company that sometimes it can close it down or at least affect future growth. The business still survives, but where the business owner isn’t taking in any money, they’re wondering how they’re going to pay their mortgage. They’re wondering how they’re going to put food on the table and a lot of times the business owner and we see it will not eat themselves so their employees can eat. That’s loving on your family to a detriment.
Jay, it’s interesting because we’ve had conversations with other companies, other CEOs, and they’ve been in the tech sector. They’ve been startups that are with physical products and that. All of them, we’ve seen this pattern develop. I heard a different element of it here. I want to bounce this off you. This is off the cuff here. They talk about that there’s phase one where you engineer and innovate around your product. Phase two is where you innovate in the marketing and sales cycle and you figure out who’s the right person to sell to that’s after your product’s been invented and out there and it’s a good product.
The third phase is the whole customer experience phase of what we traditionally think of customer experience like, “How do we onboard them? How do we move them through the process?” There’s an element that we’ve never talked about on this show and that is the employee culture side. How does that employee culture, as you’re scaling up a company, what do you see from your clients as far as if they’ve got ten employees? Generally, this is what it’s like. If they get to this level, there’s a shift in it this way. If they get to this level, there’s a real shift because you talked about Yahoo and HubSpot, some of these other companies that they probably started out one way, but by the time they got off the platform, they were different as far as what they provided. Everyone wants to have that family feel, but there’s more to it than that, I’m guessing.
Some employers, they don’t want to grow past that family feel. Employee counts can matter. They can, you can keep that family feel up to about 100 employees and it seems like once they go above 100, from 100 to 500, there is a shift. Depending on how they do things because many companies want to do all in-house. They want to do their HR in-house because they want somebody there sitting at a desk and being able to have somebody come over and say, “This is what’s going on. How do I deal with this?” They then move to that next piece and the next piece. This is my love, I do PEO is that any company that gets over 500 employees, 87% of them now have been with a PEO. It depends on the goals of the company. Are you going to be growing past those amounts? Do you want to be nationwide? Each piece starts to affect that employee culture of how you do things, unless you are purposeful at it.
There are companies that can do certain things to keep employee engagement. This is the greatest place to work and you see those come out. We have people that are doing those reports that, “Franklin Templeton, the best place to work in the US,” those kinds of reports. They’re being purposeful of having team play. That’s the thing is if you’re going to start growing and yet still have that small feel, you’ve got to start putting people in teams and their team has to start mattering. Some employers, that’s not their direction. Their direction is “I have a mission. If you want to work here, you’ve got to be part of that mission and you have a classification. You have a title and you have to live within that title.” We see where there can be jealousy.
It’s like, “I’m the vice president or the sales manager,” or whatever your title is. Yet, company B over here, the same type of company doing the same exact things but, they are loving on their employees. They’re giving them the attaboys, the trophies for doing things and people love that kind of stuff. They do. They want to be acknowledged and that can make a huge difference with employees. Do they feel like they can talk to the CEO, even though we’ve grown from 50 to 100 to 500? How does that look? Does that guy still walk the floor every so often? He takes that time. There can be many differences that affect that employee culture, as you’re saying, Tony. We see it and a lot of those decisions are made at startup.Invest on your employee culture. Your relationship with your employees will reflect on their relationships with your customers.CLICK TO TWEET
I think that the employee culture translates then to how they interact with your customers and how they develop relationships with the customer and what that means for your business as well. Jay, one of the things that Tony and I love to do on the show gives you an opportunity to give a shout-out. We’re changing gears here, but give a shout-out to some kind of community organization, nonprofit, charitable works that you might be involved in or a big raving fan of. Is there an organization that you’d like to tell us about that we could maybe shine the spotlight on for a little bit?
I thank you for that. We love on all of our community organizations. I love a lot of the entrepreneurial organizations that are nonprofit, your chambers and things like that. When you go to my heart, I’m a Christian and I had the opportunity to meet in 2008 an organization Christ’s Hope. What was nice is they were doing a ride out of California called Ride for Hope and at the time I was a huge cycler and we would ride across the country every other year. In 2009, 2011, 2013, we’d take off from San Francisco or Dana Point and we’d end up in Baltimore, Maryland or we went Ormond Beach in Florida. Different areas depend on if you’re doing a Southern route or Northern route, those kinds of things.
Lately, they’ve been doing all these around Lake Victoria in Africa because what they do is they love on children that are infected and affected by the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. I’ve been with them ever since. I loved on them and there’s another organization that has off-shooted from that called Good Gaali where they’re now using bicycles to get goods to all the hospitals in these areas because the difference from a hospital here and a hospital in Africa, they don’t provide your food. They don’t provide your clothing. The family still has to provide that and a lot of people, they don’t have their families. They’re finding out who those people are. You’re in the hospital for whatever reason and getting them food and resources. I love that.
That’s phenomenal work. Congratulations on all of that, especially thinking about things that we take for granted. It never occurred to me in a million years that hospitals don’t provide food for their patients. That’s an eye-opener. Thank you for that, Jay. Tony, do you have anything else?
I think we’ve covered so much ground here. Jay, I appreciate you being on the show to give us this insight into what’s happening in the small business community, how you understand and know your customers, and how you’re getting to know them in an entirely new way. It’s caused us to open doors and to ask questions. Frankly, this is something Betsy and I have talked about quite a bit over the last few months, people are much more vulnerable now and I don’t mean that in a negative way. People are opening up and we’re getting to see the true person that’s there, what they’re afraid of, what they’re hoping for, and how we can serve them. When it comes to really knowing your customer, I think that’s a beautiful thing and an awesome thing for us because now we can serve them better if we know them better.
Jay, what strikes me is that your clients are going to remember how you supported them through this. They’re in the throes of it now. They may not be thinking, “That’s the greatest company ever to work with,” but then when they can finally take a breath and know, “We survived it, we’re going to be okay,” and they start reflecting on it. They’re going to see but for Abatys in their team, we might not have survived this or our employees might have lost their healthcare and they helped us figure out a way that we could support our employees that way. Hats off to you for the work you do. It feels like frontline work if ever there is any for what you do for trying to keep the economy going, keep these businesses going, and we truly appreciate you being here. Where can people find you, Jay?
We’re at Abatys.com. To give you a little history lesson, abatis fences where those medieval fences that had the spears, the swords, and the sticks sticking out to keep the enemy from approaching that as an abatis fence or a protection fence. That’s what we feel like we do is we protect our customers but you have to be sexy and techie so you do it with a Y.
Jay, thank you so much. We appreciate it. This has been a great conversation and I’m quite certain there’s a lot that our audience will take from this and hopefully implement. Thank you for your time. It’s been great getting to know you better. We wish you continued success and I know that you’re doing some great work.
Thank you. This has been a wonderful experience for me, even though I have been on 1,000 Zoom calls, this is my first show. I was a virgin here. I’m thankful for the way you guys handle yourself. You are a wonderful team, written a wonderful book together, and I love the mindset of getting into the psychology of business and you guys are doing a wonderful service for the business community, the entrepreneurial community out there.
Thank you, Jay. We appreciate that. We’ll talk to you soon. Thank you to the audience for being here. We hope you’ll be back for the next episode of the show.
- Jay Hornbuckle – LinkedIn
- Christ’s Hope
- Good Gaali
- ProphetAbility: The Revealing Story of Why Companies Succeed, Fail and Bounce Back
- The Congruity Group
- Tony Bodoh International
- ProphetAbility Membership
- ProphetAbility for Teams
About Jay Hornbuckle
Jay Hornbuckle was born 1968 in Sacramento, CA. He used college for travel going to the University of Hawaii, Hartnell in Santa Cruz, and the University of London, which enabled him to study at the International Stock Exchange and do study travels behind the “Iron Curtain” in Moscow, Greece, France and all over Europe before coming back to California. As he stumbled out of college, he opened an advertising company which in 1998 became a wireless internet company in Northern California with its biggest client being Intel in Folsom. Selling in 2003 as the largest provider in the Northern California region – just before DSL and Cable became widespread Jay took a year off before going into employee benefits. Currently Jay is the Founder/CEO of Abatys a PEO/Employee Benefit/Protection Design Product Brokerage Company helping employers with their HR and employee benefit needs.
Jay has been a championship power lifter in his youth. He rode his bike across the US twice in 2011 and 2013 for his favorite charity Christ’s Hope. His love of entrepreneurialism has had him on several Chamber of Commerce Board’s and he is currently a chapter President for CEO Space the #1 business accelerator. He was currently asked to be a part of an entrepreneur history and building course for Harvard Business School.
He is happily married to his incredible wife who is a Senior Psychologist for the California Prison System (yes she has many stories to tell) and one daughter who is a graduating senior in the high school class of 2020.