As we celebrate Concentric’s 15th anniversary, we asked those who have been with us from the beginning to share their thoughts on the journey over the last 15 years. The interviews were published in the August edition of the Concentric Connection.
Thank you to John Reed, Ann Bulkley, Fred Lowther, Lisa Quilici, Bob Yardley, and Toby Bishop for your contributions to this article.
By Alexis Podedworny and Gwen Walsh
John Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
I enjoy being an ambassador for the firm. I like working to attract new clients, and recruiting new employees to join the firm. We have continuously evolved and improved over the years. If you don’t like something, work on how you can change it. For example, we started with no Canadian work, and now 1/3 of our projects come from Canada. We had always envisioned opening new offices, and it’s exciting that we have opened two – in Calgary and Chicago – in the last year.
I like to remember the spirit in which the firm was founded. We purchased furniture from another company that went out of business, and everyone literally got their hands dirty setting up the office. There were no salaries at that time, and it was a little nerve wracking, but we had faith in our ability to create something successful. Each person was responsible for purchasing items for the office, using their own credit card, which was a jump start for the company’s equity. But in the end, we built a strong team of people that I would not trade for anyone. These are the “good ‘ole days” for me.
Ann Bulkley, Senior Vice President
15 years is a big landmark for a company this size, and I feel pride in this company, and what we have built together. When I joined the firm in 2002, there were only about eight people, and I wondered if we would be able to recreate the brand recognition we had at Reed Consulting. We focused on quality work and growing skill sets across multiple disciplines, and are now a very notable brand in the marketplace. Our expansion has been driven by our high-quality work and reputation; it’s always exciting when an existing client sees our work as a cut above the rest, and refers us to a new part of the industry.
I also think of Concentric as a second family. I’ve watched so many of my colleagues get married, or have kids. And like a family, we also stick together during the tough times. We have a sense of community here that you can’t find in most other firms, and I think that is impressive.
One of the other things that are so notable about this organization is John Reed’s genuine thanks to the staff for their hard work and contributions to successes of the organization. He makes it clear that it is the whole team that is successful together, and he genuinely appreciates every single person. This sets the tone for how everyone interacts. We’ve created a great work environment, hopefully, one where people feel that it is more than just coming to work every day.
Fred Lowther, Board Member
My favorite work with Concentric over the past 15 years has been in the development of the gas market in the Northeast U.S., which really began with the Iroquois Pipeline in 1991. I enjoyed interacting with both the supply and demand side of the market, which involved entering into contracts with Canadian producers, building pipelines, expanding pipelines. It was interesting to watch the market evolve, and work with Concentric people throughout that evolution.
The Concentric board is the 15th board I’ve served on, some of which were public, some privately held. Concentric is the most impressive for two reasons: first, the quality of the people and the work they produce, and secondly is the cultural values of the organization. They are a competent and efficient team.
Lisa Quilici, Senior Vice President
I’m proud of Concentric’s longevity, and our commitment to each other and our clients. It is unusual to have a business model and a team of people working together for so long, and still be putting out good work and getting sincere satisfaction from what they are doing. I value the loyalty, perseverance, history, and sense of family we have built here.
My favorite part of my job is when I get to become a part of a client’s team. That really keeps things exciting and keeps the opportunities to grow, learn and develop ever-present. It’s satisfying to help a client achieve what they want and lead them in a positive direction, and over the course of years becoming professional friends. It’s the ultimate demonstration of good work product when clients utilize us without reservation to help with the most difficult issues they face, whether its regulatory, market, or transactional.
When we formed the company, we were conscious of the fact that we are stronger as a group, that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. Every one of us really has the ability to influence how the firm moves forward, and as we develop junior staff and refer work to colleagues, we are charting the next decade of the firm. What we are fundamentally will change over time, and that’s good, that’s exciting.
Robert Yardley, Senior Vice President
Over my past five years at Concentric, I have really enjoyed watching our new employees grow, and thrive, in the firm and in the industry as a whole. Fifteen years is a long time, and although the firm has gone through three different iterations, some things, such as John Reed and the core group, and a commitment to high quality work, have remained constant. Since joining Concentric in 2012, I have noticed a growing strength and diversity; I think our projects today better reflect the fluctuations in the industry.
My favorite part of consulting is working with a client who might be experiencing some dysfunction, and helping them to regain their functionality and integrity. I like to leave them with the tools they need to succeed and continue the rebuilding we started.
Then when the project is done, it is great to relax a bit with colleagues, feel good about the work product we created together, and maybe even have an opportunity to talk about something other than work.
Toby Bishop, Vice President
Concentric’s biggest accomplishment has been growing a very successful consulting firm in a highly competitive industry from just a few people to one that today has multiple offices and continues to provide clients very valuable services.
My favorite memories of Concentric are the times that I have spent with clients that have become friends, and the places and activities that we have had the opportunity to partake in during down times and on weekends during long engagements. I have had a chance to go skiing and snowshoeing in the Western Canadian Rockies, hiking in British Columbia, and exploring various cities that I would not likely have had the opportunity to visit otherwise, and have been able to make some very good friends.