1. What drew you to Examinetics?
Examinetics is a solid company, with a long history. I took a very clinical view of the opportunity when approached by the board. I think there is still room for improvement in three primary areas: processes, technology and people. I believe the company has succeeded without strong processes and advanced technology underlying those processes. I want to see us use our scale as the industry leader to have more streamlined, technology-supported processes - less paper, less rework, less errors. More importantly, we have relied on our people to plug the gaps in some processes. I want to free them from burdensome processes and unleash the talent and knowledge of our people to drive innovation and continuous improvement. And most importantly, I want to see excellence encouraged and rewarded. The strong foundation we have and the opportunity to take Examinetics to the next level drew me in.
2. What plans do you have for the company in the short term and long term?
Short term, I want us to strive to do things well - to consistently deliver flawless execution. That may actually be a medium-term goal, because in this business that’s really hard. As a mobile provider, we are reliant on weather, traffic and client readiness as a prerequisite for us then to be flawless. That’s a tall order. Longer-term, once we have a platform of consistent excellence then we set our sights on incremental growth. Some of that will be organic, but some of that will also be through acquisition.
3. Describe your rationale before you make a big financial decision. What criteria do you use to decide which products or services to invest in?
Having been a CPA, a Wharton School graduate and a Partner in The Boston Consulting Group, I believe there is no substitute for analytics. I am leery of people who say “I think” or “I believe”. You can and should make a logical, well-supported argument for any decision. True, there will always be some assumptions required in any forward-looking decision, but you can demonstrate the reasonableness of those assumptions with some level of analysis - looking at past history, identifying analogs, testing the negative hypothesis.
4. What have you enjoyed most so far about your role?
I have enjoyed seeing people step up and rise to the occasion. The COVID-19 challenge basically left us in the last week of March with work for only 7 techs. One client asked if we could do round the clock temperature screening. A small team took that on and launched it. Within two weeks, we had overcome the loss of the business. It was a team effort, for which our techs deserve our thanks and praise as they are there “at the rock face.” But behind the scenes, a small group was working hard on scheduling, developing procedures, creating supply kits, recruiting contractors nationwide and managing logistics. Even running that first payroll was a monumental task because of how different things were compared to our usual business.
5. What do you look for when hiring or promoting?
Someone once said they looked for a combination of confidence and insecurity. It’s an interesting paradox, but I think it’s right. You need to know you are good enough - smart, analytical, good with people. If you know that, you don’t have to prove you’re “the smartest person in the room”. You can let others get the glory. You can be a servant leader. But then you need the insecurity to push you. To want to constantly prove to yourself that you are as good as you think - so you work hard, always push for a win, always innovate, always try to make things better. Plus, you listen to others, because you realize you don’t have all the answers. Those people create the culture we want to have here.
Bonus Q – How do you keep your teams motivated?
To steal the U.S. Army’s tag line, I want to help people “Be all that you can be.” I like to have people participate in challenging work. I like to support them, but not be overly directive. I will never steal someone’s limelight. And I like to teach. I’ve had over 30 years of marvelous experiences that I like to share. Creating that type of environment keeps people engaged and motivated. If you ask anyone that’s worked with me, I think they will say that they’ve learned a lot, that their careers have been enhanced; and that they’ve actually enjoyed the experience.
Bonus Q – Who do you admire?
At the risk of being obvious, George Washington. His leadership, vision, and sense of duty - and to walk away from it. Most leaders want to keep power and the worst are kleptocrats. I admire Churchill’s resolve in the face of incredible adversity. Theodore Roosevelt’s progressivism in a time of wanton exploitation of the working class. Saint Katherine Drexel is an example of great selflessness. In business, I admire Steve Jobs and Jamie Dimon - both of whom succeeded twice with two different companies, proving that it was not luck. Closer to home, in the KC business community I admire Terry Dunn, David Dillon and Mike Kulp - all great leaders and great people.
Bonus Q – What advice do you have for a young person just starting out in their career?
Play the long game with your career. My wife is an executive recruiter. I hear her with candidates negotiating over small amounts of money. To me, that is silly. Money is tactical and short term. Over the course of your career, your salary matters far less than the experience you are getting. What role will you have? Will you be challenged? What will you learn? Who will you work for and what will that do for you? In the long run, these questions, plus liking what you are doing, will make you the most successful. A college president recently told his incoming freshman class that they will change careers eight times in their lifetime. Careers, not jobs. Broadening and deepening your skillset is the most important thing you can do.
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