Large Company Executive of the Year: Rashke’s socially responsible business style honored
Thanks to Dan Rashke’s commitment to social responsibility, Total Administrative Services Corp. is recognized as one of the best philanthropic companies in Wisconsin. Thanks to his business acumen, TASC, now a $120 million company, is poised for more explosive growth.
Rashke, CEO of the Madison-based administrator of employee benefit programs, is quick to point out that management can envision programs such as the Combined Federal Campaign and the Universal Benefit Account, but his staff has to execute them in order to secure customers. The company’s investment and the employees’ design have set up TASC for a sustained period of prosperity.
Rashke and seven other Executive of the Year winners will be honored at an awards reception on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Overture Center for the Arts. For more details about the Executive of the Year event and to purchase tickets, visit IBMadison.com/ExecutiveOfTheYear.
Executive of the Year judge Joe Pleshek of Terso Solutions believes executive leadership has a lot to do with TASC’s standing as a leader in charitable giving. “TASC is recognized as one of the best philanthropic companies in Wisconsin and beyond,” he notes, “which is a true reflection of Dan’s commitment to social responsibility.”
With the Combined Federal Campaign, TASC is enabling others to give more. The CFC, a new online charity enrollment and donation system to accommodate federal workplace giving, already has centralized and digitized what used to be a cumbersome, paper-based system. It also was the first donation system to meet rigorous security standards established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and before the government shutdown put things in limbo, workplace giving was trending up.
“So, what we’ve been able to do with the Combined Federal Campaign is centralize and digitize the entire campaign compared to what it was before we took over,” Rashke states. “It was centralized and paper-based, so we accomplished that objective.”
The system was the first one to go through the higher security standards established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, and others have followed suit. The federal campaign of giving had fallen in numbers in the past 10 years, and Rashke says the new system was on pace to help “turn the worm,” meaning it was going to accommodate an increase in giving. However, “the government shutdown clearly impacted it. They had to shut down all non-essential activities, and the campaign closed on Jan. 11,” Rashke notes.
“So, we had a very positive story and there are three key points there. One would be the digitization and centralization. Number two is a very secure system that didn’t exist before, and the third one would be, and probably the most fruitful and meaningful one, would be the increasing of giving, which is more impactful for society.”
Rashke also gives a lot of thought to TASC’s internal giving, combining 40 hours of PTO for volunteering with a Dollars for Doers program that resulted in more than 5,500 hours of community volunteer time by TASC employees. For volunteer time, the company pays employees up to 40 hours, and then they volunteer on their own time as part of Dollars for Doers, where the company will put additional dollars in their account. Rashke believes the 5,500 total hours estimate is probably well short of the real total because the company learned that many professional positions aren’t reported.
“The beauty of the Dollars for Doers program is they not only do the volunteering that is on their time, not ours, but they also get the kicker of the money in their account,” he says. “So, we’ve seen a greater affinity of having a donor account and then having them participating in that donor account on their own time. Some people of limited economic means that might not be able to give financially, they can give of their time and we find that account puts them in a position to be able to give financially.”
Rashke wants to enable even more giving, inside and outside of TASC, through enactment of the federal Everyday Philanthropist Act, a bill that would enable pre-tax giving. The measure has bipartisan support and Rashke likes the prospects for passage in this session. On a recent trip to Washington, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin signaled to TASC the administration’s endorsement.
“The nice thing is that when you do have something that already have bipartisan support, it doesn’t matter what the mix is in Congress and the executive branch,” he says. “We already had cued up people to introduce a complimentary bill on the Senate side, and they just did not act on that late in the last Congress because it was a lame-duck session. But we’re very opportunistic about the current session of Congress. Right now, they are going to have to deal with a couple of other issues before they would take up something like this.”
TASC is championing an initiative called We Care for Dane Kids, but there is some initial paperwork. Rashke just worked on an executive summary draft that’s being put forth for a Jan. 29 competition. On that date, We Care for Dane Kids goes in front a Schmidt Futures panel — that’s Eric Schmidt of Google — that will make a determination on whether to fund it.
“What I’ve been working on is a component related to employer buy-in and support on the idea that we could be more effective in assisting our employees in providing them information on how they can obtain subsidies, how they can obtain tax savings, and how they can best position themselves to access day care,” Rashke says. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the employers that have shown interest and have clearly indicated that this is a concern for them in their ability to get talent, and they are concerned for their employees. So, we see about one dozen employers signing on with the proposal.
“We see after the proposal many of them participating because we’ll have the program all figured out, and there will be a very clear and concise campaign across Dane County if we are victorious in the grant competition.”
For TASC, another promising business driver is the Universal Benefit Account, a single platform that is able to consistently administer all types of benefit accounts. The UBA technology enables client businesses to work outside of legislative silos when it comes to employee benefits and various accounts such as health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts, thereby eliminating costly administrative burdens.
Rashke likens the technology to a bank where a consumer utilizes a particular account and other than a couple nuances, all of the accounts generally run the same way. This consistency means it’s easier to understand it and operate it, it’s easier for employers to communicate effectively with employees and give them access, and it means the employee experience is so positive that they are less likely to contact HR needing assistance. There is intra-connectivity among the accounts and among other systems (i.e., payroll or claims systems connecting with your health insurance company).
“Through the years, when various benefit accounts are put in, such as a health savings account, or a flexible spending account, or something like COBRA, every one of these is constructed in a silo,” Rashke explains, “and it’s a huge administrative burden for an employer in an HR office. The Universal Benefit Account makes that burden go away.”
When it comes to employees, “we’re delivering an omni-channel experience,” Rashke adds. “That’s kind of a buzzword, but that would mean the individual has all the feature functionality in the palm of their hand with their mobile device, as well as online, as well as traditional service methods like good old-fashioned give us a call.”
Across its 2.4 million accounts, TASC has created $30 billion in tax savings for clients and participants. With the pieces in place for more rapid growth, Rashke believes the investment TASC has made in building these products will drive future growth. “On the back side, with the gains we’re going to get from the Universal Benefit Account, and by having a résumé that shows that we’re able to serve the largest employers in the land and do so with a secure, efficient system, we see tremendous bottom-line uptick and then our growth proposition is very positive,” he explains. “We’re fortunate because the type of services we provided are kind of economy proof and inflation proof. So, if the economy tanks, the dollar means more to people and the tax savings is critical, so we tend to see greater participation in some of these accounts.
“When the economy is growing strong and people are making money, then they start thinking about tax savings, so it’s kind of a weird but positive position for us as a business. I’d like to say that we got here because we’re so smart and that kind of thing. Well, maybe there were some smarts in there, but a big part of it is we’re just in the right place at the right time, and our ability to take something that’s very complicated and siloed and decomplicate it puts us on a great future path.”
Given that EOY winners are selected by their peers in the Madison business community — specifically, past Executive of the Year winners — the award is especially meaningful for Rashke, who credits his staff for the honor.
“As I look back at all the individuals who have received this award, I’m very humbled, first of all,” he says. “I find it neat to be part of that constituency. That would be my number one reaction from a personal level. Number two is bringing attention to the great works of the TASC organization, which is made up of its people. That’s probably the other thing that strikes me.”
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