This Durham office is a bit like 'The Office' - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

This Durham office is a bit like 'The Office'

Posted: Updated:

It's not in Scranton, Pa., and the set of the NBC hit "The Office," but a Durham health insurance company has found a way to mix in the quirky with the fun and be successful along the way.

"You have to have a little dysfunction to have fun because the word ‘fun' is in dysfunctional," said Rich Walters at Hill, Chesson and Woody.

Just listen in at one of their meetings, and you'll hear comments you might expect to hear on NBC on Thursday nights, such as, "We didn't hit our numbers for Pictionary last month, either."

And they might break out into a cheer for "free queso" or sound a great deal like the "Party Planning Committee" on the "The Office." That's what control freak Angela Martin does in the show.

WNCN went looking for an office similar to "The Office," whose long run ends Thursday. And while the people of Hill, Chesson and Woody aren't exactly like the off-beat characters in "The Office," but there are some similarities – including at the top.  

"This is my rate wand. So often times what I'll do is use the wand to get what I need to get accomplished," quipped Skip Woody, a partner at the Durham firm, while raving a pink wand around his desk.

Even Woody's co-worker Walters, the Triangle Regional Manager, says of Woody, "That is Michael."

As in, Michael Scott, the boss in "The Office" and the famous character played by Steve Carell.

"People tell me I'm the best boss they've ever had and I don't know if I'm really the person that could be a judge of that, but I guess I am," he said. "So, I guess I agree with them."

"Skip. Michael. Same person," Walters said. "You never see them in the same room together, do you?"

Others at the Durham office, though, say Woody is more like a different "Office" character - Andy Bernard.

"Unfortunately I've had several people suggest I look like 'Office Andy,'" Woody said.

"I think he may resemble him a little bit, but I'm not sure he'll agree with that," said the firm's Courtney Justice.

"I have done everything short of plastic surgery to make certain that that is not the case," Woody said.

But Bernard, in "The Office," is known for his singing and Woody can do a bit of that, too.

"Musically gifted management is probably my favorite," said Katherine Fernandes, the consultant coordinator at Hill, Chesson & Woody.

"I came up with something as an intro to who I am," Woody said. "And, it goes a little something like this: ‘Now all my rhymes are ready and totally completed. From this moment forward I won't be defeated. Because I have a little rhyme that just won't miss. This is for the people didn't know I exist.'"

"You don't know what's going to come out of his mouth. So, just go with it," Fernandes said. 

Fernandes can identify with one of the characters on the show herself - Pam Halpert.

"On the show, Pam is kind of the buffer for Michael in a lot of ways and that's a big part of what I do," Fernandes said.

Fernandes had to adjust to her new environment when joining the firm four years ago.

"The person who strolls by my desk is rapping into a chocolate chip cookie about HSAs.  which I later learned were 'health savings accounts,'" she said. "I think that was when I realized I was not where a lot of my friends worked."

There are pranks at Hill, Chesson and Woody, too, such as cell phones in overhead panels in the ceilings, a prank that was inspired by the show.

And there is also the "Golden Funnel," which goes to the top business development person at Hill, Chesson each month.

"We try to make certain that new folks coming in know this is a good place to come to work, have fun, but we do expect a lot," Woody said.

And that makes for a successful – and fun – environment.

"I don't think there's ever a day I wake up and don't want to come to work," Fernandes said.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

  • EntertainmentMore>>

  • Correction: Britain-Obit-Richard Attenborough

    Correction: Britain-Obit-Richard Attenborough

    Monday, August 25 2014 12:36 PM EDT2014-08-25 16:36:55 GMT
    Acclaimed actor and Oscar-winning director Richard Attenborough, whose film career on both sides of the camera spanned 60 years, has died. He was 90.
    In an obituary Aug. 24 on actor-director Richard Attenborough, The Associated Press erroneously reported that "In Which We Serve," a movie starring Attenborough, won an Oscar for Best Picture in 1942. The film did not win...
  • Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande kick off MTV VMAs

    Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande kick off MTV VMAs

    Sunday, August 24 2014 9:57 PM EDT2014-08-25 01:57:25 GMT
    By MESFIN FEKADU AP Music Writer Snakes and stage slips: There's drama and the MTV Video Music Awards haven't even begun yet.
    By MESFIN FEKADU AP Music Writer Nicki Minaj helped open the MTV Video Music Awards with a "Bang" as she brought her "Anaconda" video to life with a rump-shaking performance and had a wardrobe malfunction...
  • Nominees share Emmy-day rituals, perspectives

    Nominees share Emmy-day rituals, perspectives

    Sunday, August 24 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-08-24 22:06:43 GMT
    Most everyone was still a potential winner as nominees stepped out this weekend to celebrate in advance of Monday's Emmy ceremony.
    Most everyone was still a potential winner as nominees stepped out this weekend to celebrate in advance of Monday's Emmy ceremony.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.