An Interview with InterSolutions Employees: Meet Michael Benton and Marquis Parham!

Meet two members of our Southern California team, Michael Benton, Regional Sales Manager, and Marquis Parham, Staffing Specialist, and learn more about this dynamic duo. Find out how long the two have been working together, what their new hobbies are, and even their favorite beverage.

From left to right: Lisa Hannah, Caroline Nicol, Marquis Parham, Michael Benton

How long have the two of you been working together?

Michael Benton: What Marquis? 2014?

Marquis Parham: No, I joined on May 19th of 2015 that was my first official day. It was funny because you were on the way out.

Michael Benton: Yeah, I took a hiatus. I started my own business. And miserably failed at it *laughs*. Luckily, I was welcomed back! I would say for both of us, this will be our 6th year together.

 What would you say is your favorite thing about working together?

MB: I like working with Marquis because of his integrity. He literally does not cut corners and genuinely cares about our clients and associates. He is always true to himself. He’s definitely the type of person you want to work with. And we can agree to disagree sometimes. That’s a good working relationship to me.

MP: The best thing about working with Michael is it kind of relaxes everything. It is a real talent to see somebody walk into the room and capture everyone’s attention and be able to convince that room of what we’re trying to sell. He can defuse a situation.  There have been times where a client was upset or the room was tense, but when Michael goes in there everyone comes out laughing with a smile on their face. That’s a powerful skill you can’t teach anyone. That’s what I love about working with Michael.

MB: This is fun!

Okay, and on the flip side, what is the most difficult thing about working together?

MB: The most difficult thing about us working together is that like in any relationship sometimes you don’t always see eye to eye. I might have an idea I think is great, but Marquis doesn’t think is a good idea. We may not always agree, but we have a resolution, and we get it done.

MP: I think it’s funny that we can both acknowledge that and be okay with it. I don’t get upset by it. If we disagree, we just disagree.

MB: Yeah, we’re not alpha male type people.

MP: I think we get it and sometimes I think we’re both eager to get an idea out or help a client in a certain way and then we end up kind of clashing because of it. It’s just because we’re both trying to help the client, we just have our own way of doing it, so that would be it.

Did you pick up any new hobbies over the past year?

MP: I wouldn’t call it a hobby but trying to educate myself, so I can educate other people on certain things regardless of what they want to do in their lives. I’ve kind of been like a big brother or a mentor in a way to close friends and people that have reached out to me because they’ve heard from someone else. We’ve started a little investing group just kind of talking about different things and educating people.

MB: For me, being an extrovert, it is very hard for me to be at home and not see people and give hugs and things like that. So, what I’ve learned to do is, take a step back to be more understanding and become a better listener. That’s not a hobby but it’s a skill I’ve acquired since working for InterSolutions. The hobby though… I have become a professional bread maker. And I’m just getting started, I can make bread. *laughs* I got a bread maker as a gift and am addicted to it. I’m stepping outside the recipes that they gave me and just try to do it myself.

MP: Making bread, that sounds like an investment. I’m going to get myself one of those.

MB: They’re really good. I just made a walnut banana bread, and the girls are like “Dad, another one?” This Sunday we’re going to try making pretzels.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

MP: Rite Aid is the only place I can find it, it’s the Chocolate Malted Krunch. I can’t find it anywhere else. There’re so many different things going on at the same time, I don’t know what it is, but I love it.

MB: I don’t eat ice cream, so let’s see. When I do, I like the ice cream bars, the strawberry ice cream bars. When I get a craving for ice cream, I always have those in my garage freezer, and sometimes when I go out to get one, they aren’t there because my girls got them. But I think that would be the one for me.

If you could be any animal which would you be and why?

MP: I would like to be a mountain lion. I have always liked them as a kid, and they are pretty good hunters.

MB: Let’s see, any animal. I think I would like to be a Bald Eagle.

MP: That’s so fitting *laughs*

MB: Drone around and make sure everything is okay and the land is good. And I’m bald. The transition would be easy. *laughs*

If you could have dinner with any person dead or alive who would it be?

MP: Oh, my goodness I’ve got a few this is hard. I think Steve Jobs for sure, no matter what he’s at the top of my list. Kobe Bryant would be another one.

MB: I think for me, I think at one time I would have liked to sit down with Vince Scully from the LA Dodgers. Growing up in LA I think it would be fun to just sit there and listen to his voice and just hear him talk about the history of baseball and sports. He’s also a big golf fan.

MP: I’m going to add another, my mother Rhonda Parham. You know what it’s going to have to be three.  I thought we were just going with famous. Why does it just have to be one? My list just keeps growing.

MB: I would love to have dinner with Marquis, I haven’t seen that guy in forever.

MP: I’m still alive too, we should do that.

MB: We could *laughs*.

What drink besides water would you choose to drink for the rest of your life?

MB: Lemonade. Ehh a mimosa. Okay, I said it. *laughs*

MP: Mimosa is probably the best alcoholic beverage to say out loud and everyone’s okay with it. I’m probably going to say sweet, iced tea.

MB: I’m drinking that right now!

MP: Yeah, as long as it’s ice-cold, I can drink it. In Cali it’s mandatory.

If you could live anywhere where would that be?

MP: It would have to be Singapore.

Have you been to Singapore before?

MP: No, I want to go so bad. I need to learn Mandarin first though. The furthest I’ve been is the Bahamas. But I want to go to Singapore so bad, there and Tokyo.

MB: This is a tough one. I don’t know if I’d want to live there because I’ve never been to these places. It would have to be somewhere on the coast, by the beach. I would just say anywhere on the beach. No specific place. Just beach. Like the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Beach, that’s where I want to live.

MP: You would probably love the Bahamas it’s nothing but beach, beach, beach, and the sand looks artificial it looks so nice.

MB: Possibly Key West.

Do you have any advice for those looking to enter the Multifamily industry?

MB: Show up for work *laughs*. This is wide open Marquis.

MP: There are really only two things you need to do well: be very proactive and just be on time. If you do those two things, you can land a full-time job. When I started, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. In 2007 I used to be a bagger at a grocery store. I started this and realized that if I have the right attitude and start asking questions it’s that simple. And have fun with it. You work with people all day, whether it’s over the phone or greeting someone when they walk in. Try being a people person and make it fun for yourself.

MB: Agree with everything Marquis said. I also recommend for anybody to just keep your moral values in check, make yourself available, and listen to understand, don’t listen to reply. Take in as much as you can, be a sponge, especially if you’re new to the industry. Or to any industry in any job. We’re given an opportunity to prove ourselves, so you’ve got to put 100% in. So, I’d say integrity, have integrity, and learn along the way. Never stop learning.

If you know anyone looking for work or if you are a hiring manager seeking InterSolutions talent, give Michael and Marquis a call!

Michael Benton                                                                                                                                                                                             858-877-0102                                                                                                                                                                    mbenton@intersolutions.com

Marquis Parham                                                                                                                                                                                         619-202-9387                                                                                                                                                              mparham@intersolutions.com