How I got to LSUS: My original plans were to complete my first year at LSUS and then transfer to a larger in-state university. After my first semester I realized that LSUS was where I was supposed to be. It was a great fit for me.
Fond Memories of LSUS: Dr. Hinck's Marketing classes. Some of my most exciting learning experiences came from his classes. I also really enjoyed the trip to Mexico that he put together one year during Fall Break. It was a great opportunity to explore a different culture. During that trip I decided to pursue a minor in Spanish.
LSUS faculty who helped me: Dr. Wolfgang Hinck (Marketing) and Dr. Lisa Burke (Management). The two of them provided a lot of advice and support for me towards the end of my time at LSUS. Professor Wayne Hogue has been a great friend since I've graduated LSUS. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to attend his class as a student, but I have had the honor to come back as an alumnus and speak on a few occasions to his Leadership classes.
How LSUS helped me succeed: Each semester I was challenged more and more. I also found the teacher to student ratios were ideal and provided an excellent learning environment.
What I do now: SGS Petroleum Service Corporation - Sr. Operations Manager
About my job: I currently lead the Marine Division of a large petrochemical services company based out of Baton Rouge, La. Our company provides highly-trained people and services to chemical refineries up and down the Mississippi River, along the Gulf Coast and in various other cities throughout the U.S. and Canada. The majority of my time is spent cultivating our relationships with customers, exploring new business opportunities and focusing on leadership development.
Advice to college-bound students: Don't feel rushed to decide on a major right away. There is nothing wrong with taking various classes spread across multiple concentrations in order to assist in making your decision. Also, have fun and challenge yourself!
Advice to someone who wants to enter my field: In order to lead, you have to execute. I have found the most successful leaders are those who execute well. No matter the industry or field, a leader's most important responsibility is the execution of the plan and ensuring they get the results. No excuses. Also, don't get too hung up on job titles. Managers aren't always leaders and leaders don't necessarily have the title of Manager.
Tips on choosing a major or career: Figure out what excites you and then find the career that offers the greatest chance of replicating that excitement for you on a daily basis. Every day may not be pure bliss, but overall you'll rack up more wins than losses.
My toughest professional challenge: Having the courage to leave behind a great career with Cintas Corporation and join SGS Petroleum Service Corporation. Out of the blue I was contacted by an Executive Recruiter with an incredible opportunity to start a new journey in my career. It was by far the toughest decision I've had to make and also the scariest. The learning curve of a new industry has been incredibly steep, but I'm confident I made the right decision.
My toughest personal challenge: On a personal level leaving Cintas was a big challenge for me as well. There was a lot of trepidation about having to "start over" with a new company and the stress that it might bring to my personal life. I also felt very close to the General Manager and VP that I worked for and that made it all the more difficult when I had to resign from my position. I'm thankful for my wife, Andrea, who gave me the support I needed to successfully transition into a new industry.
Successes in my life:
-One of my first assignments with Cintas, fresh out of college, was to start up a new business division (First Aid & Safety). Watching that grow over the years has been exciting.
-My team and I achieved Peak Performer as a first year Plant Manager at the Cintas plant in Bossier City.
-I was also afforded the opportunity to lead another startup with Cintas while in Baton Rouge. That business (Tile & Carpet Cleaning) is still growing and doing very well.
-But, I believe my greatest honor will come in August when Andrea and I will become parents for the first time!
I've learned this from life: Don't just focus on career accomplishments. Personal ones are more important and the satisfaction lasts much longer.