Introducing Rob Davis – Cameron-Brooks Recruiter

As the newest member to the Cameron-Brooks team, I wanted to take this opportunity on the blog to introduce myself, share my background, and what has led me to come full circle to Cameron-Brooks.

I spent eight years on active duty in the US Army serving in various positions as an Armor officer, culminating in a troop command at Fort Lewis, WA. Upon completion of my command, I attended the November Career Conference in 2000 and left the service in January 2001. I chose to work for Cisco Systems and I began my career as a program manager leading cross functional teams to take new products from prototype through their pilot phase and into full production. Over the course of my five years with Cisco, I had the pleasure to take on additional roles in business development and direct leadership leading teams of engineers providing “break-fix” support for Cisco’s top tier customers such as AT&T, NASDAQ, Verizon, etc. During this time, I also pursued my MBA and in the fall of 2006, I graduated from the Southern Methodist University’s Executive MBA program at the Cox School of Business.

Upon completion of my MBA, I made the decision to leave Cisco and work for a company called Oldcastle. Oldcastle is the North American brand of a global Fortune 500 company called CRH based in Dublin Ireland and is one of the leading building materials companies in the world. At Oldcastle, I worked on mergers and acquisitions helping to identify, purchase, and integrate various smaller companies to grow the business. Following 15 months in the position, I was asked to take over and run a turnaround operation. This is a common term you may hear in business and essentially means an underperforming operation or business that requires a significant improvement in one or several areas. After a lot of hard work and effort with my team, we were successful and I was promoted to Vice President of Operations. In this position, I had full operational and logistical responsibility for five manufacturing locations throughout the Southeast.

After nearly two years in this position, the opportunity to come back to Cameron-Brooks presented itself, and I chose this path for several reasons. First, I always had a deep respect for the Cameron-Brooks team for the opportunity and preparation they provided to help me successfully launch what has been a truly enjoyable business career over the past 10 years. Second, I am now in a unique position to be able to pass along my passion and my experiences to help future and current military officers make the very best transition possible into Corporate America.

In addition to providing you with my background, I thought it would be beneficial to highlight a couple of key tenets that have guided me over the past ten years and may serve you well as you think through your current or potential career path in business:

1) Every career choice you make has trade offs.

In business, much like the military, there are no perfect career decisions. Almost every one will involve a compromise or tradeoff in some manner, whether it is location, more travel, less family time, etc. The difference between the military and the business world is you have a lot more say in these decisions. As a result, you must do your diligence in analyzing the options so you can make the best choice for your career. When I made the decision to leave Cisco for Oldcastle, I gained the opportunity to better leverage my MBA skills and was on a faster path towards general management and running a business. But, in doing so, I also gave up the “sweat equity” and reputation I’d worked so hard to build over those five years.

I was being hired for my accomplishments and experience, but anytime you start with a new company or organization, you must re-establish and prove yourself with that new organization. In all of my career decisions I have made every effort to weigh the pros and cons, look at all angles, and seek trusted counsel so that I feel confident the decision I made was the right one for me and my family.

2) When charting your career, think self development and bottom line impact.

Over the past ten years, with every career decision I’ve made, I’ve asked myself two key questions: 1) Is this new role going to help me gain additional skills needed to continue to develop towards being that top 10% in a company? And 2) will this position allow me to make a significant contribution to the company’s revenues and/or profits? Let’s talk about the first question. As you continue to develop and grow in your career, you will not be just an “operations guy”, or sales or finance, etc. As you move up in an organization, you must be intelligent about all of these business functions. The roles you take on must help develop the knowledge base and skill sets needed to be able to understand all areas of the business if you want to truly be a key leader in your company in the future.

For the second question, my golden rule has always been to take on roles that keep me as close to either top line growth or bottom line profitability as possible. This where the rubber meets the road in business and the further away a role takes you from being able to impact these two, the less of a developmental type of position it typically is. There may be situations where you must take a position for the sake of your family, etc. and that is understandable. Just keep in mind that to be a top leader in your organization, you should continually strive to put yourself in the critical and clear path towards helping a company grow revenue or improve profits.

I look forward to working with all of you in the future. In my next blog post, I’ll relate my personal transition to Corporate America story and my lessons learned over the past ten years.

Rob Davis