|10 Questions with Carl Spencer, KS&R Founding Partner and CFO/COO
|June 3, 2009
You are a Founding Partner of KS&R, and currently serve as CFO and COO. What are you most proud of?
The people who work for KS&R. They are and have been a bunch of very bright people who have collectively shaped an enduring and notable company.
Why does it make sense for you to hold the roles of both CFO and COO? Are there advantages in combining these roles?
No particular advantage. I was the last one standing when "chief" titles were being assigned. Seriously, I have the longest tenure and know where all the "secrets" are hidden. I still have our original business plan which we used to form KS&R in 1983.
As CFO: What role should budgets play in the management of an organization?
Budgets and forecasts are vital. Without a forward-looking plan, we would be constantly reacting and probably too late to make any serious changes. We have avoided some serious mistakes by always looking forward.
What key leadership lessons do you carry with you today?
Try not to take credit for anything. Always get the other person to believe that the best ideas were theirs. Found this to be a surefire way to get things done quickly.
What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to be a marine biologist. I spent more time underwater than with my head above water. Some people argue that is still the case today.
What was your first job?
Assistant to the Majority Coordinator for the NYS Assembly. It's a long story, but a classic example of positioning to be in "right place at the right time". Doesn't just happen by chance.
What was the best career advice you ever got?
Not to pursue the marine biologist idea!
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract, or improve about KS&R?
Make it the best possible place to work in terms of sense of belonging and accomplishment.
What's on your to-do list?
Continue to move KS&R to a position of excellence in what it does and how it does it. We need to keep pace with an ever-changing market which values innovation, technology, creative methods, and high value.
What's something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I am really a nice person!
What is your most prized possession?
My '03 Vette – 50th anniversary. Truly a toy for me, since all the other toys are for my family members (horses, antique cars, etc.).
If you hosted a dinner party for six, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
My parents (deceased), etc. Don't have to plan a menu!
What is your motto or philosophy of life?
To live your life without risk is to not live or prosper at all.