Our Team

Tamara Barendregt
President and CEO
With a degree in nursing and a B.A. in psychology, Tam founded this company based on needs she experienced firsthand. Throughout her career in the medical industry, Tam always felt there had to be a better way to provide effective communication in urgent care situations.

As a supervisor for two major hospitals and a home healthcare organization, Tam recognized that emerging technologies could provide for improved coordination of critical care teams; but that they could also improve the level of service sought by attorneys and other business owners.

Since 1986, Answer Excellence and its exceptional team of professionals have worked with our clients to learn how their operations need to function and then through the use of increasingly sophisticated technology and custom software solutions, we’ve precisely aligned their goals with unique solutions.

Well-respected by her peers, Tam is often called upon to provide executive leadership in industry organizations while Answer Excellence is now considered the premier model for communication services in the United States and Canada. As the recipient of a continuous succession of industry awards and accolades, Tam’s company has set the standards synonymous with outstanding quality.

Fiorella Mejia
Director of Operations
Fiorella began her career with Answer Excellence in 2006 as a part-time employee while earning her degree. A steadfast contributor since day one, she is resolute about fostering a positive work environment. Her recent promotion to Director of Operations speaks to Fiorella’s solid work ethic and core values. She exemplifies the team attributes that have driven Answer Excellence to rank in the top ten of answering service companies throughout the United States and Canada.

In her new role, Fiorella finds and develops the best possible staff while providing them with the tools and training programs they need to succeed. Maintaining this strong company culture enables the organization’s answering service branch and the hospital dispatch division to operate effectively.

With an eclectic client list that includes the area’s largest hospitals, businesses, and healthcare organizations, Fiorella continues to advance the direction of the company. In addition to spearheading expansion into other verticals and business segments, Fiorella collaborates with her executive team to develop and implement the latest technologies to best support internal systems.

Melissa Thedford
Manager of Operations
With her start in the industry in 2003, Melissa has succeeded in multiple capacities in this sector. Launching her career as an answering service operator with a firm in Fort Myers, she quickly transitioned to a key role in their finance department. Upon her relocation to the Tampa Bay area in 2007, Melissa joined our team. Her outstanding commitment to customer service was immediately evident.

During her tenure with Answer Excellence, Melissa has been promoted from Shift Supervisor to Supervisor of Operations. She recently accepted the position of Manager of Operations where she ensures our procedures and policies are solidly in place, so the team is fully prepared for every situation. Melissa is also responsible for the coordination of the customized software that supports individual clients, as well as overseeing accounts payable.

Overall, Melissa focuses on maintaining the stringent guidelines and standardization of the tools used by the operators and staff. These are the types of distinctions that earn Answer Excellence the esteemed ATSI Award year after year.

Valerie Riddle
Since she started her career with us as an operator in 2012, Valerie’s commitment has always been clear: we are not “just an answering service” – we represent our clients’ businesses to the outside world.

Back in high school, Valerie started her career in the fast food industry and quickly worked her way up to management. There she honed customer service skills and the attention to details needed to maintain inventories and adhere to standards.

Now a key member of our team, she takes great pride in running all the new hire orientations; from paperwork, to training, to introduction to our systems and software. Valerie is also HIPAA-Certified and serves as our HIPAA Compliance Officer.

As a former Answer Excellence operator, Valerie’s hands-on experience enables her to effectively step trainees through the nuances of complex accounts; so they gain confidence, but still feel genuinely supported. Valerie says the best thing about her job is teaching people how to make the finest first impression as she continues to advance them to the next tier of excellence.

Crystina Trudell
Supervisor of Operations
In 2016, Crystina began her career with Answer Excellence when she joined us as an operator. Recently promoted from Lead Operator to Supervisor of Operations, it is Crystina’s expertise in quality control that is the foundation of our 24×7 coverage center.

Crystina honed her knowledge of standards maintenance with many years of experience as a quality control manager in government contracted work for advanced defense technologies and commercial solutions. She therefore brings a keen proficiency to managing the stringent criteria our customers demand. Now an invaluable member of our client-centric team, Crystina maintains the professional relationships vital to our understanding of client operations while managing accounts and scheduling.

A true liaison between our clients and their unique support workforces, our operation flourishes under Crystina’s supervision. She is one of the reasons for the caliber of service synonymous with our reputation.

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