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Career Story: Chief Operating Officer And Business Consultant

Chief Operating Officer And Business Consultant

Job Title: COO Of A Small Business

Type of Company: My company provides management consulting services to the Federal government. These services include program management, financial management, engineering/technical support and acquisition support.

Education: BS, Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute •• MS, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School

Previous Experience: I served in submarines in the US Navy for nearly twenty-five years, retiring with the rank of captain. After that I held a series of jobs in private industry, first as the chief operating officer of a small company, and then, when our company was acquired by a large publicly-traded corporation, as president and COO of a division of the parent company. In the past year I've started my own small management consulting business.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for the daily operations, new business development, profit/loss performance, short-term and long-term strategic planning, and human capital management of a $650M division with 3500+ employees.

On any given day I'm involved in a broad range of decisions and activities, including (but not limited to...) the hiring and firing of key personnel; bidding on government agency proposals; customer relationship management; discussions with industry analysts; and strategic discussions of mergers and acquisitions.

My performance is measured in four key areas: (1) annual revenues, profit, and earnings-per-shares; (2) recruitment, retention, and development of key personnel; (3) external and internal measurements of customer satisfaction, as well as of the quality, timeliness, and price of the services we offer; and (4) the pinpointing, pursuit and acquisition of federal contracts. Doing well in all four of these areas takes a strong leadership team and a comprehensive program to publicize the overall company strategy (and its associated goals) at every level of the company. Everything from town hall meetings, to newsletters, to blogs, to focus groups, to periodic staff meetings help us show employees how their work affects the company. And as in any successful venture, we strive to fashion a collaborative work environment where everyone who wants can have some input.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is successfully solving the puzzle of creating the right leadership team, the proper personnel resources, the most effective company procedures and processes, and the optimum strategy to win a competitive contract award.

The worst part is making the difficult decision to "downsize" workers due to industry conditions (and not for poor performance or on-the-job misconduct).

Job Tips:
1.) As you start your first job, you should strive to identify the individuals in the organization who can act as your personal and professional mentors.

2.) Be ready to volunteer and take on new responsibilities whenever possible. And learn from the mistakes that everyone makes taking chances.

3.) Establish a network of allies and friends as soon as possible and continue to add to that network throughout your career.

Additional Thoughts: Whenever possible, choose a job or a career path that you enjoy and have a passion for.

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