Michael L. Nichols Client Service Award: Charles Archer

Congratulations to Charles Archer, Account Director, Raleigh for receiving this year’s Michael L. Nichols Client Service Award. Charles leads North Carolina’s statewide client development efforts. Charles is a true trusted advisor to many of our clients, and brings this passion and educator spirit to the whole North Carolina team. Charles is able to “get our foot in the door” with new clients, then his sincerity, charisma and follow-through build trust and almost always result in FNI receiving a project opportunity. He goes out of his way to assist clients with any need, talking to some daily. He will wear any hat to assist a client, including writing grant applications and managing that process, and leading public engagement efforts to minimize headaches for others.

Charles gets deeply involved in the communities he serves attending council and board meetings to truly understand their needs and objectives, and mentors and coaches many of our clients. Charles is heavily involved in ICMA as well as state-level organizations, often making presentations and hosting events at their conferences.

Mike Nichols remarks on Charles receiving this year’s award:

“I am excited for Charles and this award couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. Where do I begin? Charles excels at client service and it just comes natural. He is humble and so many clients respect him in North Carolina. They’ve learned to call on him and not just for work-related issues but as someone they trust and lean on for their professional development. His approach is thoughtful and supportive, he’s truly unique when it comes to client service. His first few years out in North Carolina were rough, but he never lost faith in Freese and Nichols. He would call me thanking me for helping what they’ve achieved but I did very little, it was Charles, it was sincerity with the clients. I couldn’t tell you how many city managers or county managers rely on him for advice. His client service will always be more about the relationship than the project.” ​​​​​​​

This year, the award is given in special memory of Will McDonald for his outstanding client service. Mike Nichols remembers Will McDonald:

“Will was by far one of the greatest mentors in Sales, there is no greater teacher than Will. He was always genuine and honest in his meetings with clients. He taught me about meeting with clients, you are to focus on their needs first, do not try and sell anything until an understanding of their needs are met, until a relationship is formed.

“I have two memories that stand out with Will. We lost a client many years ago that I was the Project Manager on, and he found it a challenge to win them back. Of course, he succeeded, and the client agreed as long as I was out of the picture! And, Will loved his hot coffee and could never sit still in any meeting and it was probably because he was up getting more hot coffee.”

Freese and Nichols established the Michael L. Nichols Client Service Award to recognize outstanding service in internal or external client development. This award exemplifies our LEADS values of “Delivery Quality and Serve Always” as we serve our clients with respect and dedication by adding value and exceling in all we do.