The Steubenville Kiwanis Club heard a "moving" presentation at its Jan. 14 luncheon meeting as its members got a little insight into what's involved when it comes to an industry that provides corporate relocation solutions for domestic and international clients.
The presenter was Steubenville resident Scott W. Murison, an expense management payroll supervisor with AIReS Al Relocation Services of Pittsburgh.
He was introduced by Kiwanian Gary Wickham, January's program chair, as "a numbers guy who helps people decide if it makes financial sense for them to relocate."
PRESENTER — Steubenville Kiwanis Club member Gary Wickman, right, program chair for January, chats with Scott Murison, expense management payroll supervisor with AIReS Al Relocation Solutions in Pittsburgh, who was the guest speaker at the club’s Jan. 14 meeting.
-- Janice Kiaski
"We move corporate transferees from point A to point B," Murison said, "so if a company decides to promote someone, if they decide to hire from a different region, say I have a company in California, but I like someone in Steubenville, I need to move them out to my company," he said, noting interns constitute a big population of transferees, especially for the company's technology clients in California, for example.
"I actually had one client that I moved 3,000 interns for this year, so it's a huge industry," he said.
Murison said he read an article in a trade magazine that indicated nine out of 10 companies use a relocation management company. "That means we have a wide array of companies we can work with," he said. "To understand what we do for transferees in companies we work with is we utilize our partners to move household goods. That's one of the largest things that we do now," he said.
"A lot of it is a preview trip," he continued. The average transferee is in the 35-to-47 age bracket, predominantly male and mostly married with children. "If you think about taking a new job or taking a promotion, and you have kids, you want to see what the schools are like, what available housing is like, you want to see the neighborhoods, you want to see where you're going to be living and if you can see yourself in that environment, so that's a predominant thing that we help companies with," Murison said.
Home sale assistance is another service. "If you own a home, and you have to sell it in order to move, you need assistance with that most likely," he said. "If you think about that, you'll need a lot of assistance. You can't move unless you sell your house most likely, and then sometimes you get into a rental situation, and you need to rent instead of purchasing, so we assist in that process as well," Murison said.
Assistance with buying a house at the new location comes next.
"You need to buy a house and need to find something suitable," he said, explaining "the glue that binds it all together" is tax management, his area.
"That's what we do in my group specifically - we administer benefit policies to ensure that people get the right benefits that the company has outlined for them, that it's reported properly according to IRS standards, and then at the end of the day they're happy, and it's a successful move," Murison said in sharing some specifics of what his team does, including benefits administration.
"Part of what I do is consult to these companies, and some of them are very large companies," he said, noting some will routinely spend "almost $100 million dollars a year on relocation, so when you're spending that much money, you want to make sure that you have the proper benefits policy for these transferees to ensure that they're happy with the move, that they don't want to move back."
Creating a policy that fits the needs of the transferee "is very important, and that's a large part of the consult process," according to Murison, who said while an intern might be content with a "$3,000 lump sum," a corporate officer, on the other hand, would not.
"I did one this summer, and he (a corporate officer) spent $500,000 on his relocation, so you know if it's the right person for the right job, the company is willing to pay for it, and you need someone who can successfully manage that process, so that's part of creating a policy that meets the needs of that transferee," he said.
Taxability is the second part of the equation. "A lot of these benefits that are paid are taxable items," he said. "Some of them are excludable, so going through and understanding the tax code and law ensure that all of the benefits paid out have the proper taxability."
Another large part is tax assistance, according to Murison. "Companies want to make sure the transferee doesn't have a burden at the end of the year, so they give them tax assistance, so that's another consult process that we go through in creating these tax assistance policies," he said, noting a lot of strategy factors into a global mobility program.
Whether a move is national or international, it all comes to one thing: "Does it make financial sense to move someone for the job you want them to perform in that location, and the services we provide really make sure a person can focus 100 percent of their attention on the job that they were paid to do," he said.
"On a local level, it's very satisfying to see corporate relocation have such a big impact on my own community," Murison said in referring to Hess Energy setting up shop in Steubenville.
"You know when Hess decided they were going to move here, there was a lot of talk about is this the right area, do they have adequate housing, do they have adequate rental situations, do they have adequate schools, adequate infrastructure," he said. "Let's talk about the location - is there an airport, are they near a large hub like Pittsburgh, and so all those things really played a part in making sure this was the area they wanted to be in and transfer their employees to from all over the world, and so for me it's really satisfying to see that be so successful," Murison said.
"Even though my part is very small in that, making sure that they understand the tax consequences involved, it's still very satisfying," he said.
A question and answer period followed.
In other Kiwanis business, the club is recruiting teams interested in participating in its fourth-annual team trivia competition set for March 8 in the commons area of Steubenville High School.
The fundraiser where teams compete for cash prizes and bragging rights begins at 7 p.m. and is an event to "test your knowledge and join us for this fun, fast-paced trivia competition."
The cost is $100 for a team that can consist of no more than 10 people. Teams can bring their own snacks. There will be a 50-50 drawing and Chinese auction.
To sign up, call Tom Timmons, the club's secretary-treasurer, by phone at (740) 314-9574 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
President George Pugh presided at the brief business meeting where he announced that $885 was collected during the time frame when members of the club rang bells for the Salvation Army of Jefferson County's kettle campaign during the Christmas season.
Pugh also noted the club had received thank-you notes for various donations, including $200 to the Salvation Army of Jefferson County; $200 to Urban Mission Ministries; and $500 to the United Way of Jefferson County.