My business experience prior to opening BurtonJames in 2003 contributes enormously to my ability to work successfully with high-expectation CEOs & Presidents across a diverse range of industries, business models and cultures to find, attract, engage, sell, assess and successfully hire top performing, high-impact sales and marketing professionals who fit each client's unique culture.
The experience, knowledge, insight and skills I acquired working in progressively bigger and broader roles across both sales and operations for 3 distinctly different companies – an $8 billion global manufacturer, a $1.5 billion domestic professional services provider and a start-up professional services provider that grew from $0 to slightly over $12 million in 3 years – is, bluntly, a major differentiator vs. the vast majority of recruiters and headhunters in the marketplace.
Here’s a very brief recap of my business experience prior to my start-up of BurtonJames:
I joined Whirlpool Corporation (global appliance manufacturer with $8 billion in revenue in my last year with the company) directly out of college. I progressed through 8 positions in 11 years, relocating 5 times for both individual contributor and leadership roles in our Regional offices in TX, KS, MO and GA and in our Corporate HQ in MI. My first 4 roles were in operations with progressively bigger scopes of responsibility. I then declined multiple promotions within the operations side of our business in order to move away from national operations leadership into an individual contributor sales role. I advanced from a local sales role (St. Louis metro area) into a regional sales role (the Eastern third of the U.S.) and then into a national sales role (all of the U.S.). My 8th and final role was in brand management with responsibility nationally for a company/brand we had recently acquired (KitchenAid).
I next progressed through 4 positions of increasing scope in 5 years with Norrell Corporation (staffing, managed services and outsourcing with U.S. revenue growth from $500 million to $1.5 billion during my 5 years with the company). My 1st role was a major account "hunter" sales role. In this role, a complex, 1-year sales cycle culminated with closing a new customer (Motorola - zero previous revenue with Norrell) which became, within only 1 year, 1 of our 5 largest revenue and net profit customers company-wide (and helped me achieve 195% followed by 550% of annual quota). I was later tapped with rebuilding (literally) Norrell’s primary sales and service delivery processes nationally for our largest customers (like Motorola) who represented about 50% of our total company revenue. We based our rebuild on our internal best practices which I identified and documented (mapped) in detail during approximately 60 multi-day, on-site visits with our most successful, highest value outsourcing and managed services customers across the U.S. At the conclusion of this intense 18-month rebuild, we had successfully delivered 5 full days of ground-breaking training on best-in-class sales and service delivery processes at our corporate HQ to over 2100 sales and service delivery employees. I spear-headed all of this, A to Z, at street level.
I then dove into the entrepreneurial waters as the 1st employee of SolomonEdwardsGroup (SEG), a start-up company providing financial staffing and consulting services. We launched SEG out of the CEO/Owner's home in Philadelphia and out of my home in Atlanta. While the CEO/Owner opened, staffed, built and led our Corporate HQ organization in Philadelphia as well as our Philadelphia Regional offices, I simultaneously opened, staffed, built and led Regional offices in Atlanta, South Florida and Washington DC. My role constantly evolved, of course, as we built and grew our business; I wore every hat that could possibly be worn, both big and small. Once all 4 regional offices were opened and staffed, I led all sales and operations across all 4 regional offices. By the end of our 3rd year, we had built our business to just over $12 million annually with 60ish full-time employees and several hundred contract employees. Shortly after the conclusion of our 3rd year, I left SEG to launch BurtonJames.
Summing-up all of the above:
For each of the companies I’ve worked for, I’ve enjoyed lengthy tenures and advanced through a significant number of roles with local, regional and national scopes of responsibility, both as an individual contributor and as a leader/manager.
Half of my career has been spent in sales and half in operations, or both simultaneously. I’ve held this combination of both sales and operations roles in enterprise-level, large mid-market, small mid-market and small (my own) businesses.
My sales experience has centered primarily around complex, solution selling, both in product and services industries.
My operations experience has centered around elevating under-performing operations, building best-in-class systems (people, process, technology) and building/growing businesses.
I’ve performed at or above expectations my entire career, usually at the top of my peer group.
As for my personal background before my professional career… I grew up in rural, farming-oriented southern Indiana (Washington) in a blue-collar, working-class family. I’ve worked continuously, literally, since junior high school, including a lot of farm-based work and manual labor, including summers during college working for an Amish-owned construction company throughout southern Indiana and Illinois. I always worked during the school year, during both high school and college, and every summer, funding 100% of my college education and living expenses at Indiana University through work, loans and scholarships. I worked at least 1 job during the school year all 8 semesters at IU, and as many as 3 jobs simultaneously while attending school full time. I graduated with an A average (3.5 gpa) in 4 years (Dean's list 6 of 8 semesters, which requires an A average) with a Bachelor of Science in Business from one of the top 10 undergraduate Business programs in the U.S. (#4 the year I graduated). And I had a LOT of fun through all of that (arguably too much fun, especially at IU).
As for my life today outside of work... I live in the Atlanta area with my sweetheart, Suzanne (a perennial President Club performer in enterprise sales for a Fortune 250 company). We split a nice balance between a lake home north of Atlanta near the North Georgia mountains (a nod to my preferred lifestyle) and a home in the city (a nod to Suzanne's preferred lifestyle). We have 3 beloved dogs: Russell, a Weimaraner, and Cooper, a Vizsla (adventure dogs!), both rescues... and Ellie, a Wheaton Terrier / Poodle mix (designer dog!).
I'm an outdoor and adventure enthusiast. I spend a lot of time in the mountains and in the woods, particularly throughout GA, NC, SC and TN but also in the Midwest and in the big mountains in Colorado. Almost always (except for destinations requiring a flight), my 2 adventure dogs are at my side. We've had a lot of epic adventures.
I'm also a water ski enthusiast. For most of the past 20 years I've been on the lake an in my skis on weekends as the sun rises with the same group of 3 or 4 buddies for about 2 hours of slalom skiing. We're finished wearing ourselves out and are off the lake before most other boaters are done with their coffee.
Suzanne and I travel domestically or abroad for fun 4 or 5 times a year, including (but not limited to) as many outdoor adventures as possible. She's an incredible cook and I'm a “good enough” cook, and we have fun making our evening meals into date night several times each week.
I exercise every day. I’ve been an avid, insatiable reader forever; I rarely watch TV because books are, for me, infinitely better. I’m really into photography; I take at least 5 to 10 thousand pictures every year... usually more. And don't even get me started about music...