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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
Well, my story is probably a little bit different than most. I mean, I came out of school thinking I was going to be a banker for most of my life, started off in investment banking. But I went to work for a large multinational bank within just a few months after I started the bank experience significant problems in fact, within a year it was close to bankruptcy, so that time was somewhat scary but it's been a great opportunity because head started a role and people needed to make a change that opportunity for those who work hard and try to do a good job so that allowed me to progress very rapidly through the bank and become one of the senior executives over a short period of time, which then led me to be able to move my career to a different direction. I went to work with one of my customers as their CFO. Later, that company became a public company, really set a lot of the stage for what I ended up being in life. If I try to summarize kind of what that all means, I think you just really need to set your priorities like what is it that you want to be and what is it you want to do. There is an old saying, "If you really pick something in life that you like, you really will never have to work a day in your life because it'll really be fun the whole time". It's important, though, throughout my career I noticed to really trying new things to imagine and to take the risk. You're just going to day after day, come and do the same thing and work for someone else, but creative people will notice that creativity and that imagination and it will make a difference in your life now sometimes it will not work out for you. I mean, you don't take risks and don't make mistakes then you won't learn from them. I think it's really key that you try to enjoy the journey, enjoy what you do and try to not focus on results, which is a lot of times what your boss wants you to do but focus on learning, focus on your own personal growth and venture that results in good results, great outcomes that's my background. I don't know how much more detail you'd like me to go into and after that, I worked for a public company. That company, eventually sold to another public company. And today I started my own business and now have nine businesses that we run in various different fields. So it is all based upon the things you learn and the things you strive to do all the time.

What are the responsibilities and decisions that you handle at work? Discuss weekly hours you spend in the office, for work travel, and working from home.

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
Like I mentioned, I've worked for multinational Fortune 50 companies where my decisions affected thousands of our customers. Today I work for a relatively small business. Today, my career changes significantly that now Best Business Services has about 20 employees at all. So going from a company that had three four five thousand employees to a company that only has 30, the breadth of your responsibilities is much different. I don't just handle the strategic decisions as I did as the CEO of the public company, I handle day to day decisions. People will need help if a truck is broken, we may have to go out and fix it ourselves or tow it in so it's a lot different for a small business. At the same time, the company itself is mostly bookkeeping in various administrative functions for other companies. So I'm constantly out talking to people trying to get new business and try to find new clients for us to be able to work with. It's interesting because at different times in my career I've put in over 100 hours a week working and sometimes now as the boss and the owner, I only put in 10 hours in a given week. If you get the right people working for you then there is no real reason for me to go in and get in their way. I need to let them do their job. So work depends upon what you're striving to accomplish and how much you're trying to learn and at this point, I'm of a mentor than the person trying to learn new things. I travel a lot, I travel probably ten days a month. I'm going all over the place, not just in this state, but throughout the country and even internationally, I do a lot of my work traveling because due to modern technology there is no reason to be in the office. So a lot of that work is done while I'm traveling and I do a lot of it at home. I actually only come to the office for about two days a week. All the rest I work I do is there on the road or at home.

What qualities do you look for when hiring? How do you interview candidates?

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
We use to have a test so that we give potential employees to just make sure their skill base is there, what they profess to be, they actually are and they've got the necessary skills to be there. After that, I like to interview people myself in person. I'm really looking for long term potential and while ambition can be both a plus and a minus, I'm really looking for people that want to move forward and want to become something more than they are today, want to learn, want to grow of enthusiasm and passion for what their own past experience has been, but also what they feel they can do for our business. I look for people that fit in our company that, understand what our culture is and how we work, that they feel that they fit in and likewise, we feel they fit in because if not they aren't here for very long and that employee hiring costs tend to be one of the difficult things we work with and the response to my questions is there's no right or wrong answer, but just how they think through the question that's kind of what I look for the most. I don't do when they're interviewing me any kind of skill-based questions like I say we test them beforehand, make sure that there it's really just to see how they think and what they're planning to do in the future.

How do you inspire and motivate your team-members? How do you foster creative thinking? How are ideas shared and implemented?

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
That is key for I think the most business success. The first thing I always try to do is to make sure we foster a friendly, good, fun environment at work. People like coming to work and like what they do, and they're more like to do a good job at it. Secondly, we really try to make sure we don't focus on one's mistakes. In fact, if anything, we push people to make mistakes that help them to be creative. They don't worry about, if I do that wrong, no one's going to care. I learned from it and do better because we're all constantly trying to let people know that, Hey, it's okay to do things wrong. Just what did you learn from it and what can we as a company learn from it so we can move forward? I think we really try to focus on what your career path is? What is your future in the company? You might start as a beginning level employee, or you might have started as a senior executive, but where does this take you? Where is it going to take you not just for us, but whatever career you want? Someone may not be right for us at a different level in the company, but this may position them for in their opening your own business or doing something in the future which would be meaningful to them and we let them know that we support that. We want them to be able to be great for us at the same time, we want to support what their career goals are. We have a lot of what I call brainstorming meetings where people could just get together and there are various issues were going through our company or with our customers and say, How would you solve this or what are the things that we just throw out on the board? I would say nothing's right or wrong. Just the ideas that we'll explore and see where we take those farther and that helps foster a lot of creativity and ways to get things done. In the next meeting, we'll talk about which ones we thought were the best what people thought as well and we'll start figuring how to implement more to go forward.

How do you set targets for your team-members? How do you measure their progress? How do you incentivize them to meet their targets?

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
From early in my career, I've always found it easiest to have them set their own goals. If they understand our strategy and they understand our culture then they can set their own goals and I don't have to set goals for them, they want to accomplish the same things we do and if they're setting the goals then they buy into them, understand how they fit into the organization as a whole and it's easier to incentivize them to meet them, because, you set your goal, now how are you going to measure it? Tell me what I should be looking for if you're meeting or not meeting. They're setting the measuring criteria then as they meet them, they're rewarded, and they could be rewarded with anything from monetary reward to pats on the back to an employee of the month all kinds of different recognition systems to make sure that they know we care about them, we care about what they did, and we recognize what they've done.

What major challenges do you face in your job and how do you handle them? Can you discuss a few accomplishments?

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
One of the biggest things throughout my career, in whatever job I have been is changing technology. When I started the business, you could see from my gray hair there were no computers, there was no Internet so people were used to doing things a certain way and over time, technology continues to replace and change what everybody's doing, and that creates great opportunities. But for some people, it tends to create great challenges, and seeing people that can adapt to this tends to be folks that are more successful and they are also the people that you can count in the future as things continue to change to be able to do that. I remember when I was an investment banker like we were going from spreadsheets and writing everything ourselves to simple things like word processing didn't have to type everything up. For some people, that was hard because they couldn't understand why people wouldn't accept errors in their work like they used to use cross things out so for now, everybody needs to be perfect on a word process document so they were frustrated by that whereas us, we could get just adapt to that, found it great, it made everything faster, made more efficient, made everything look nicer. The same thing when the Internet came around people, some people were slow to want to put data on there and transfer date over email or whatever it might be because they're nervous about how it might be seen or what security there was and while that is a significant issue and those who adapt to those things move forward have been much more successful, made businesses much more successful. Companies that are leading top companies in the world today didn't exist when I started. Google, Microsoft, Facebook didn't even exist so it tells you that 15 to 20 years from now, just because these are the company's doing well, new technology and new ideas can make businesses more successful in the future. What I learned from those things, for the most part, the ability to adapt, employees that have the ability to adapt and the ability to turn challenges into opportunities. I can say that my company's about to go bankrupt that became more of an opportunity for me than a challenge where most people, a lot of my colleagues, left the company, they said we're not sticking around for this thing to fail, moving on the company ended up not failing because those who stuck around were able to become the leaders of the company and I think that's where success is made by the ability to adapt quickly to what's going on in the environment. When I first moved to Utah, which is in 2010. It was right after 2008, the recession really impacted people all over the country and particularly here in Utah. But my partner today at BBS happened to be one of those people who basically lost their business, went bankrupt, he was in the real estate business, real estate just stop doing anything and he lost his business, but that created an opportunity for me because I came, I had extra money, he needed a job, between the two of us we were able to put things back together and now again, his business, which I am 50% owner of now back to being the largest business here in Utah, in that particular industry, which is a residential concrete so that's where being able to adapt, taking advantage of opportunities and challenges, really paid off.

What are the job titles of people you routinely work with inside and outside of your organization? What approaches do you find to be effective in working with them?

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
When I say investment banking, they were very formal in terms of almost everything. Positions and titles are very large multinational that was a lot different than the way I do it today. Today we don't really use titles much. When we have to the titles are more like a supervisor is more like a coach or a facilitator. Other than that, we more or less functionally title you, if you're in sales, then you're a sales executive. We don't use Vice president, executive vice president, everybody here is important in their role as long as they understand their role, that matters. Outside sometimes we have to kind of describe that to folks because they want to talk to the top guy or they want to talk to the senior vice president of sales like this is the most senior person in sales in the organization and he's called the Sales executive. So, because the titles tend to make the culture inside the company more restrictive. People thought like they are senior to me so I'm in this position. Nobody's senior, you come up with the best ideas, you're rewarded the best that's the way it works. So that's kind of the way we've done things in the past, and that's been effective both inside and outside. You call anybody, they'll get you to the right person, and that person may not have that some fancy title but they get the job done.

What was the hiring process like for your job? What were the roles of people who interviewed you? What questions were asked and how did you answer them?

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
So I can talk about different jobs obviously as the president now and there wasn't any hiring process but I do have partners. I have nine businesses now, I've got partners in all of them and we got together for quite a long time before picking partners because there's really a compatibility issue, and that's the same with any employee you need to make sure that there's a fit, as I mentioned earlier in my discussion, that they feel what you want to do and you feel with what they want to do. This doesn't fit particularly in an environment today, when there are lots of jobs and not enough people to fill in, you want to make sure that you have the right person that they're not just being hired to fill a spot, but they're being hired to really make an impact on your company. So new positions that come in as I could say, we people interviewed me for different jobs over my career. I really tried to focus on past experiences that I've done for other companies at the beginning it's harder because you have less but hopefully, those things you've accomplished in school, whatever might be in terms of tests or projects or different things you did that you could point to because accomplishments show your ability to be able to learn and adapt and to be able to do those things that I mentioned earlier makes sense. The type of question people typically asks it hasn't changed a whole lot here, what are your strengths and weaknesses and what do you want to do in your life? What is it you're looking for in this career? Those types of things are all important to try to understand, what is the fit? What are these guys looking for and what are you looking for? I always try to push my candidates today when I'm hiring them, to ask lots of questions, find out whether I'm the right employer for you because too often it's employer asking all the questions and the employee leave not really knowing whether they like this company or not. They haven't asked enough questions to know how they're going to fit in, and then they come aboard later, and they say this isn't really what I want to do, and that doesn't work out for anybody.

What are the responsibilities and decisions that you handle at work? Discuss weekly hours you spend in the office, for work travel, and working from home.

Based on experience at: Partner, Solid Concrete Walls, LLC aka SCW Footings and Foundations
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
So Solid Concrete Walls is quite a bit different than Best Business Services. I mean they are a residential concrete company. I don't know anything about residential concrete other than what I've learned since I've been here, but my partner and I, when we interviewed each other, I found out that he has been in the concrete business for 40 years. He's my age, up to 2008, he ran the largest residential concrete company in the state of Utah but 2008, they put him out of business as I mentioned before, we talk and my background is turnarounds, from the investment bank to running large companies and particularly finance background was CFO before that so we were a good fit because he doesn't like any of that stuff. He wants to be out in the field pouring concrete, setting up concrete, doing fancy concrete work. He doesn't worry about the books, the records, legal, all the administrative stuff so that's what I do and that's what I've been doing a lot of years and we worked out very well in that. So once again, I don't come to the office here or a lot. I could do all my work at home or when I'm traveling. I don't travel a lot for that business because it's really just focused here in Utah. But all put in some weeks, when we're doing taxes and different things, we might put in 60 to 80 hours a week. Other weeks, I probably still put in pretty much 30 to 40 hours a week but most of that is done at home. Both of us make decisions together to some degree. If it's more concrete-related, like what are we going to do for this customer? How we're going to build this particular foundation and how we're going to build a sports court. I'll put totally it to him. If it's, are we going to buy a new computer system or are we going to buy more forms, we do financial analysis along with the needs analysis and we work together and I make all administrative decisions myself because he's not interested and so that's kind of how we split up the decisions and it works very well.

What major challenges do you face in your job and how do you handle them? Can you discuss a few accomplishments?

Based on experience at: Partner, Solid Concrete Walls, LLC aka SCW Footings and Foundations
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
This job to get is very different. For example, some of the problems yesterday, we had one of our big crane trucks, which cost $200,000 and slip on the road and tip over that's an expense plus, it's just a big impact on the work because now we're down a crane truck that delivers so forth and so the type of challenges are different every day. We have employee challenges as well. If people get sick, it's just a relatively small business so we have one of CAD guys who is doing the plans and gets sick, how do you get that done for the day so that all your project managers and supervisors know better so we have a number of challenges like that. On computer systems, the network goes down so we can't communicate with our folks and get them their schedules, those types of things. But you once again, almost in all those types of challenges, just be calm and think about them, find solutions, find ways around it, there is no challenge that really can't be overcome if you think about it and work through it. I guess that's the thing we are trying to adapt. What we've done, in general, this company, as I say, we started from scratch in 2010 and now we're back to being the largest residential concrete construction company in Utah again, back to where my partner was before we went bankrupt. So it's one of those things that with his experience in that business before his bankruptcy was caused by the same markets we have today you get the lenders coming out and saying, buy this new piece of equipment, that's $200,000, crane truck like I said, we'll give you 100% financing and then the next year there's no business and you can't pay the bill and they take back the thing but don't give you back the credit for the money so he can't pay the bill. We don't have any debt, the type of business we are in it's one of those businesses where leverage is just not your friend because next year there may not be any business because the way the market works but instead of that you can be adaptable and do that. If you get a lot of debt, it'll kill you every time. So that's kind of how we've accomplished a lot of things because we learned from our past mistakes, in terms of this is not the type of industry to get a lot of debt in.

How did the program prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts?

Based on experience at: Masters of Science, Information Services, University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
Well, there were a lot of great parts. Networking was great. A lot of people that I met there are people who I have as customers or vendors or different things today. These are other students that are now in different roles that I call up and say, Hey, what's going on? Also, from a faculty standpoint, it's been nice to be able to call them up if we have a question, particularly in the Best Business Services business about some technical issue that one of our customers is dealing with that we need to solve. Exposure was the classes itself, my background wasn't IT, it was finance and with IT changing as fast as it was, understanding some of the security risks from an IT standpoint as well. The database management and other programs that I was able to learn helped to kind of facilitate not for me to do it myself, but who to call and how to solve the problem when we have them. It's just overall the large understanding, top-level view of kind of how IT fits not just in our organization, but in our customers' organization has really been helpful in terms of our ability to grow and be able to satisfy customer needs. So the best parts, it's hard to necessarily say one part was better than another because one day I'll be saying I'm so glad I went to that particular class because I wouldn't know how to solve this problem otherwise. But on other days, it might be, Hey, I'm glad I knew so and so in that program, I could call him up right now and get some business from him or some resources. So I think the overall program itself different key elements really helped out in terms of moving forward. I think a lot of students don't take as much advantage of the other students as they can and getting to know them because a lot of times you go there, you attend the class, maybe you built some good relationships with faculty, but you don't spend much time with the other students, as you should but these guys will be out in the business world with you. I was older when I went to class but these young guys, they're still in key positions and companies that can give the right contacts and get things done. So it's very important to keep those relationships.

Do you have any parting advice for students and professionals starting out in your field? What three mistakes they should avoid? What three things would help them the most?

Based on experience at: President, Best Business Services (BBS)
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Nov 27 2019
Well, the first thing that I think and this is kind of the idea of mistakes and things do the most is what I said earlier, make sure you do something you really like. I mean, don't just try to find a job. I know there are jobs out there that pay $120,000, money may seem attractive and everything else, but no matter how attractive it is, if you don't like what you do it doesn't last very long, you don't do very well at it and it is not a good situation for you. Find something you love. If you love it, you could find ways to make lots of money. I don't care what it is if you're a geography major and people say you can't get a job, well, if you love it, you could find people that will pay you a lot of money to know where everything is and how the different environment works and so you can make a great job out of it. So make sure you love what you do. Second is to try to always do things outside your comfort zone. If you just stick with what you like to do and you never go outside of it then you will never gain that creativity and the opportunity to be something more than you can be. When I was young, I hated the piano, but my mom pushed in piano lessons, and I'm not a good piano player now but my appreciation for music is much greater because of that and it's an important part of my life in terms of enjoyment. Likewise, in lots of career positions, my boss would put me and give me some assignment, I didn't really like and I tell him this is better suited for so and so but he would say to do it and then I learned from that doing those helped me to know better about that other department maybe I was involved in better to understand how things fit into the organization better, which made me a better employee made me like what I did better, gave me a better big picture. So try to move out of your comfort zone. Last, maybe it is to set high standards in everything you do in life, high standard for yourself personally, high standard for the type of job you want to do. Set high goals, don't ever be satisfied. I've always had the mantra "try to be better tomorrow than it was today" and that's not just personally for my own personal values but it also has to do with, how I work, how we deal with others. I've said goals my whole life, and it's always that don't set them low. It's easy to make so set them high so you try to push for that. Well, that would be my advice for folks. There are no three mistakes that I would ever say to avoid because it's just don't make them more than once. I am a fan of making mistakes because you learn from them but whatever mistake you do make, learn from that and then never make that mistake again.