I started my career in Business and Information Technology in 1983 at the age of 14 years old. Over the years the intersection of these two passions would define my professional career. By 1990 I was ready to step into a business ownership role, and helped to found one of the first I.T. consulting firms in Birmingham Alabama when the market was dominated by “Computer Stores”. This approach allowed my team and I to focus on not just technology, but how that technology empowered all different types of businesses. In 2000 I sold that consulting company to a larger traditional technology reseller to form the nucleus of a new professional services division. My dual aptitude as one of the best technology engineers in the area combined with my passion for business rapidly catapulted me to the leadership team, and in 2009 to the CEO role. While in that role I oversaw 25% growth in revenues to over $40M and at the same time increased gross margins by nearly 18%. I did this through a combination of employee engagement, streamlining the service offerings, and identifying compelling new services for clients. I have always believed that the key to success in any business is the development and engagement of your team. Because of this one of my proudest acomplishments during my tenure was the generation of team leaders I coached and developed at all levels of the organization.
As the son of an Entrepeneur and then a busy CEO myself, I have seen first hand the toll that leadership can place on family, mariages, health, and personal lives. One of my early alarm bells came when, during my tenure as CTO, I realized how many of my fellow members of the leadership team were divorced, on blood pressure medication, and/or had problems at home (many all three). Not too long after that my own marriage failed in large part due to the hours and stress I was under at work. I resolved to find ways to both be successful professionally and personally at the same time. I brought my well-honed troubleshooting and analysis skills from my days as an I.T. engineer to bear on the problem and began to make incremental changes.
It is in this crucible that many of the principles of Level 5 were honed and polished. Things like deep Employee Engagement in a shared mission as an alternative to day in day out micro-management and task lists. Tools like how to bring the power of mangement by measurement through Enterprise Dashboards and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and it’s ability to cut through the fog and finger-pointing, down to a level of simplicity where they could be used in small and medium businesses through the application of the 80/20 rule. Learning how the power of robust and repeatable systems could improve outcomes while simultaneously reducing the need for constant management oversight. The time came in late 2012 when I realized I was more passionate about sharing and teaching these lessons than I was about the business of Information Technology. It was from this passion that Level 5 was born.
I live in the home I bought in 1997 in Crestwood Heights (why replace something you have just the way you want it), just outside of Birmingham, with my wife Tracy who is a Coach in the personal relationship space. In our free time we love hiking, camping, and nearly any other way to spend time in nature. I am an adventurer at heart and my passion in my personal life is Travel. One of my life goals is to step foot on every continent on the planet and I am over halfway there. My wife Tracy has said she will pass on Antarctica when it comes time to check that one off.