‘Making people feel good’ is executive’s primary goal

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Lori J. Overholt, CPA
VSA Resorts
Virginia Beach

Lori Overholt oversees her responsibilities at Virginia Beach-based VSA Resorts with one guiding principle: Always treat people well.

For inspiration, she turns to a quote from the poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“Making people feel good is our core line of business,” Overholt says.

With 2014 revenues of $4.7 million, VSA is a vacation ownership company, involved in the development, sales and marketing of timeshares.

Since starting with the company in 2005, Overholt, a Certified Public Accountant, has assumed the responsibilities of company president as well as CFO. She oversees three resorts in Virginia Beach: Ocean Sands, Ocean Key and The Atrium.

“I owned a timeshare before I came here,” she says, adding that she enjoys the vacation business. “Everybody around you is happy and enjoying themselves. We have had some owners for over 20 years. They love their timeshares.”

She feels that her experience as CFO helps her think more strategically in her role as president. “It helps me make decisions and guides me in the direction we need to go,” she says. “I’ve streamlined a lot of things. I’ve outsourced some of the repetitive tasks, and I’ve focused on customer service. That has made a huge difference in our results.”

Overholt continues to develop the company. In 2013 she started VSA Association Management, a new division that specializes in condo association management. She also purchased some property with plans to develop another resort in Virginia Beach. Under her guidance, the company has made major renovations and improvements to all three existing resorts to improve owner satisfaction.

Dawn Tayman, vice president of CapitalSource in Chevy Chase, Md., is impressed with the exterior transformation of the Ocean Sands. “Lori had this vision,” she says. “They pool their owners to see what they would like, and most of the owners said they would like to see balconies added. They made that come to fruition. I was really impressed.”

Tayman describes Overholt as professional and proactive. “She is real easy to work with. She runs a good, honest operation, and that means a lot,” she says.

The renovation at Ocean Sands was a definite challenge for Overholt. “That has been a huge project, but it’s a huge improvement, and everyone is loving it,” she says.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Overholt started her career in public accounting, specializing in small business consulting. “I ended up seeing all aspects of the business,” she says.

Overholt found the past year very challenging because of human resources-related regulations and changes, including facets of the Affordable Care Act. “You have to focus on regulations and all the new changes, and that takes away from the core aspects of the business — worrying about what the customer wants,” she says.

In addition to her work at VSA, Overholt serves on the Task Force for Revenue Recognition for the Timeshare Industry for the American Institute of CPAs where she helps set industry standards.

“She is highly regarded technically in that group,” says David Rippy of Dixon Hughes Goodman in Virginia Beach. “She is a leader, not a follower. She looks at the landscape and says, ‘We can do this.’”

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