What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess?
Self-deprecating humor and putting others in front of himself/herself. Of what career accomplishment are you the most proud? Deployment to Iraq in 2004 How do you define success? Failure teaches us how to be successful in the future. Honesty, preparation, hard work and honest self-assessment drives the attainment of success. An equally important definition comes from Theodore Roosevelt who remarked “the most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”
What makes you most passionate about your career and position? I’m most passionate about my career to serve those who serve. I’ve held several positions and it provides me great satisfaction to do the best job I can to provide outstanding service to the men and women of our armed services. Where do you think the best ideas in the organization stem from? I truly believe that the best ideas come from the bottom up. In any organization no one knows the service or product provided better than the associates that have direct responsibility and hands-on experience to produce said product and/or service.
Of what career accomplishments are you the most proud? Starting with the company as a temporary Utility Technician and advancing to a role that helps lead the company’s growth. What is one mistake you see leaders regularly make? Being afraid to admit when they make mistakes. As a mentor of mine once said “if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything”. How true that is. What are you doing on a daily basis to grow and build your team members? Continually looking for ways to stretch team members beyond their comfort zone with challenging assignments and/or additional duties and projects.
What makes you most passionate about your career and position?
I am making a positive difference every day.
Where do you think the best ideas in the organization stem from? Best ideas need to come from all levels of the organization.
What are the most important decisions you make in your position? I believe the most important decisions are hiring, promotion and delegation decisions. We are only as good as those around us, and it is important to hire the correct people, grow those within the organization, and put folks in the right position to succeed. We each have our strengths and weaknesses; to be successful as an organization, it is critical to realize and maximize those strengths while minimizing the risk associated with the inevitable weaknesses. Who has had the greatest influence in your career? The first supervisor I had when I started my water and wastewater career, Kevin Eberle. I was an intern at the time, completing my senior year of studies, and on my first day Kevin assigned to me two projects I would be leading and would have to complete during my summer internship. I was shocked—two full projects that I would lead. I had never done any work related to either of these projects outside of the University. Over the next several months, Kevin taught me how to be a good leader, delegating work early and often, while managing by being present and clearly communicating. This opportunity framed my leadership structure and taught me the importance of delegating, teaching and supervising.
What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess? Great and Effective Leaders are driven. Have a clear passion for what you’re doing and inspire others to become doers. What makes you most passionate about your career and position? It’s so much more than “crunching numbers”. In my position, I have the ability to make a difference in the organization. Not everyone has the unique opportunity to participate in strategic decision making, collaborate freely with different departments within the organization, and help shape and decide our long term goals and objectives. Analyzing and reporting financial performance is one of the easier aspects of my position. Making a meaningful impact in our growing organization is the reason why I do it.
What is one mistake you see leaders regularly make? In my opinion, one mistake that leaders regularly make includes silo/top-down decision-making without the benefit of front-line input/contribution. How would you describe the culture of our organization to a new employee? I would describe our organization’s culture as dynamic and growing. We are given well-communicated focus and direction to ensure organizational alignment and encouraged to be flexible in order to support Operations, facilitate timely course corrections, and optimize results.
Of what career accomplishments are you the most proud? In 2013, I took a huge leap of faith and made the decision to leave an almost 25 year federal service career. While I had a great federal service career, the opportunities and growth that I have experienced being a part of the ASUS family has exceeded my expectation. I have always had a passion for our military. ASUS affords me the opportunity to continue to serve the military community and enhance my professional growth. I am proud of my courage to have stepped outside my comfort zone to join this team. Who has had the greatest influence in your career? Early in my career when I was an Environmental Protection Specialist, I worked for an Environmental Chief that motivated, encouraged, inspired and believed in me. He pushed me to do more, to think outside the box, and to invest in myself. I attribute a large part of my success to his leadership. He was always approachable, fair and objective, and exhibited a high degree of integrity. I recently had an opportunity to catch up with him and share my appreciation of his leadership and the impact he has had on my career.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career? I met Barbara Jordan when she was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 18th district of Texas, serving the citizens of Houston, where I grew up. I was in high school and participated in a program to learn more about government. Representative Jordan participated in this program and made it a point to devote considerable time explaining her path, obstacles she encountered, and how she overcame each one. Her dedication and devotion to service was unparalleled to any other individual I had ever encountered. Barbara Jordan not only radiated passion and commitment to public service, she showed each of us how we too could serve, and challenged us to pick up the mantle of service to others. This experience influenced me to enlist in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation from high school. What makes you most passionate about your career and position? As the manager of subcontracts, my position allows me to assist in the fulfillment of meeting our government customer’s needs. This allows me the opportunity to provide and foster an inclusive procurement system that invites the broadest possible participation of all qualified vendors and subcontractors. “Serving those who serve” is not only our motto, it is the way we conduct business.
What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess? Hearing – Perhaps the correct vernacular should be listening. However, there is a great distinction between the two. Listening can often be tainted with our own unconscious filters or ingrained perceptions. Hearing however, that requires us to invest personally in the speakers’ point of view, courageously removing the belief that “I know” and replacing that with "I connect”. What makes you most passionate about your career and position? Every day I am blessed with the opportunity to be a positive yet invisible influence on lives. Our Military and their families turn on their water taps on trust that “someone” is taking care to ensure their water is safe to drink, safe to use. As a former service member who’s been deployed, I recognize that what I do every day has an enormous impact locally and abroad to those who are serving. Communicating and planning our daily utility activities to ensure that our client's trust is well grounded with our utility family at ASUS is far more than a job. It is an honor that I eagerly awake to daily. No matter our title here at ASUS, our position is that of trusted provider.
What are you doing on a daily basis to grow and build your team members? Every day, I strive to empower my team members by providing them the tools, guidance and support that they need to take responsibility for their jobs so that they can individually make decisions and take action. I encourage constructive dialogue and foster a work environment where each team member can freely express their opinions and make recommendations. I value team members expressing their thoughts and want them to know that there is no such thing as a bad question and there is no negative consequence for speaking up. This includes encouraging each team member to offer ideas on improving how we do things, to express differences of opinion, and to not be afraid to admit mistakes. Mistakes will happen; it is how we react to these mistakes that matters and whether or not we learn and grow from these mistakes so that they are not repeated. How do you define success? At the end of the day, I measure success on whether or not I have made a positive difference in the lives of others and if I have given back more than I have received. I believe that the ASUS motto, “Serving Those Who Serve” embodies this perspective and is my daily reminder of my job’s fundamental purpose.
What is one mistake you see leaders regularly make?
The ability to be quite and listen, all to soon leaders think they should be charging forward, mission in hand and more often than not they forget to pause and listen to the ideas and recommendations of those you surround yourself with. Which is why you should chose those you surround yourself with very carefully, you would eventually become them.
How would you describe the culture of our organization to a new employee? The warm reception and urgency everyone greets your needs with is a sense of home and family that I had not thought possible in a working environment, but we spend more time with these people then our own families so shouldn’t every company instill this behavior in their employees? Kudos to ASUS for leading the way.
What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess? One of the major keys of being a successful leader is to be quick to listen and slow to speak. When he/she is able to listen to others' concerns, suggestions, and needs, they are able to gain more value from their employees. As a leader he/she should magnify other’s strengths, as they build up one’s weaknesses. Lastly, leaders are to inspire their employee, as they mold other’s to lead. Of what career accomplishments are you the most proud? As a military vet, my greatest accomplishment is to be able to continue to serve the military community and provide excellent service. We make it our goal to make a difference in their lives by providing a simple, yet complex plan to deliver a safe source of drinking water. The objective each day is to fix any issues within our system as quickly as we can. We continue to improve our systems to provide water and wastewater for the future.
What are you doing on a daily basis to grow and build your team members? o I do my best daily to “practice what I preach”. That is compassion toward my team, patience, forgiveness, and accountability. I strive for consistency in my daily decision making processes to ensure all team members are treated fairly and equal. Through positive reinforcement and congratulatory communication of their successes, I have witnessed an upsurge in the team’s confidence in performing their duties. As a result of this confidence boost, I have personally seen an increase of ownership among my team leads, resulting in a quality product and enhanced customer service relations. What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess? I feel every leader should have a heart for the team they lead. I was once told that if you always bait your hook with the heart, the fish will always bite. When your team knows you care about their needs and growth, you will always get each member’s buy-in and additionally, an enhanced motivation to meet the goals set for your team.
What makes you most passionate about your career and position? Our customers and our team. Every day we are given a very noble opportunity to provide our very best to the men and women that protect our country. It is truly an honor to be able to serve them. I also feel a deep sense of dedication to the men and women that I manage. I have never worked anywhere that there is a greater sense of family and dedication to one another than it is here. There is a continual sense of camaraderie that is unsurpassed among ASUS employees. Of what career accomplishments are you the most proud? I am most proud of starting out as a Construction Coordinator and then being given the opportunity to make advancements over the years to finally be in the current role that I am in now. I have done this while taking night classes for over 10 years in order to obtain my Bachelors in Engineering and all the while raising a family. I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to not only advance myself but more importantly to advance and help grow the company and also be able to give back to our customers on a daily basis.
What are you doing on a daily basis to grow and build your team members? “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” I make it a priority to show my team how much I truly care about them personally and professionally. Who has had the greatest influence in your career? My father, as I worked many years with him in the family business. I learned from him that sincere relationships are the foundation for a positive, healthy work environment.