Company: Gulf Coast Office Products
Family: Wife, Shelly, and two daughters, Brianna and Londyn
Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Education: Bachelor’s degree from LSU (general studies major, psychology minor)
In the news:
With revenue growth of 5.8% in 2017 to $27.5 million, Gulf Coast Office Products was ranked No. 97 on Business Report’s 2018 Top 100 Private Companies list.
What was your very first job, how old were you and what was the biggest takeaway from the experience?
Landscaping at age 15. It was very tough work and it gave me an appreciation for what it takes in the Louisiana heat to get jobs done. Also, it made me appreciate every dollar since I was making $4 an hour.
What time do you typically get up on a workday, and what’s your ideal morning routine to get it off to a great start?
I get up at 5:45 a.m. and I am at the office for 7 a.m. I eat breakfast at work and start organizing my day. When I was in college I worked nights, so I was not a morning person but made the transition after graduation and I had to master my mornings to get a good start.
You’ve been with Gulf Coast Office Products for more than 25 years now. How has your industry changed during that time and how has your company adapted?
The industry has changed a ton. When I started, copiers only copied. Now they are networked printers, scanners and fax devices—and they play a huge roll in the office environment. We’ve adapted by adding IT and service personnel to more quickly respond to our customers’ needs. Also, we have had to educate ourselves more on how our customers’ industries work so we can better understand their needs.
Your company has reported 350% growth in the past six years and was ranked No. 96 on Business Report’s 2018 Top 100 Private Companies, with revenue expanding 5.8% in 2017 to $27.5 million. How have you achieved such growth and what will 2019 bring?
We have a great experienced team and our manufacturer—Ricoh/Savin—has continued to come out with top notch products for us to represent. Also, we have the autonomy to take care of our clients and make moves that make sense to accommodate them.
As someone who oversees offices and employees in four cities—Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and Mandeville—what’s your strategy for ensuring your team is on the same page and working toward the same goals?
Constant availability through the phone and email and occasional meetings in person.
What are some of your best productivity hacks?
Master the morning and get a good start. I also use Salesforce contact software for account management so I have account information with me in the field. I would say one of the most important things is to surround yourself with good people so you can do what you do best.
What’s something about your job that might surprise people?
You have to be versatile. You go from a board room appointment to a construction site pretty quickly, as well as deal with finance and IT departments on the same appointment. Every industry has what we represent so no industries are excluded.
What’s a leadership skill you’ve learned the hard way?
No one is going to do it for you and you can’t have a pity party. It is up to you. I even have a t-shirt that says: “Nobody Cares/Work harder.”
What are some of your hobbies or favorite things to do in your free time?
In the past I have been a huge UFC fan and followed MMA very closely. Over the last year or two I have rekindled my love for the outdoors and started back hunting and fishing. I also work out three to four times per week, which I have since I was 16 years old.
You’re taking me out to a business lunch in Baton Rouge. Where are we going and what do you recommend I order?
J. Alexander’s, and we’ll get the spinach dip for sure.
What’s one of the smartest purchases you’ve ever made? What’s one of the dumbest?
The smartest was the Dunham School education I invested in for my daughters. I think it has shaped them immensely and prepared them for the world to come. The dumbest was probable a boat. I kept it for a year or two and let it go.
Can you name someone who has had a great impact on you as a leader, or someone who has been a mentor to you in your life or career? How have they changed your outlook?
My grandfather, Dr. Marty Broussard. He came from a humble background and went to college to become one of the most respected people in athletic training and sports medicine. He was at LSU for over 50 years and taught me many life lessons. When my daughters were young I would go to his house every Sunday morning with them and just talk for a while. I got a lot out of those visits.
What’s one of the best vacations you’ve ever taken, and what’s the next vacation you’re hoping to take?
Florence, Italy, was awesome. I love Italian food and we happened upon Vogue Fashion week in Florence. We had an awesome experience there. Our next vacation is New York City and Morocco in the spring.
What is something you are absolutely determined to do in life?
I really wanted to learn to fly—but I may just fly fish!