The Zweig Letter | February 23, 2015
"Find the shoes that fit for leaders"
Schemmer President and CEO, Steve Kathol, P.E., S.E., was quoted in The Zweig Letter, “a weekly management publication crafted specifically to help design professionals navigate the perils of running an A/E/P or environmental consulting firm,” concerning succession planning. Kathol became Schemmer’s fifth president in summer 2014, replacing Frank Comisar after nearly 10 years, and said the planning of leadership and ownership transition at the firm is a “continual process.”
“Both financial and leadership aptitude aspects are evaluated on an annual basis,” he said. “Schemmer has begun transitioning to its fourth generation of leadership and ownership, as the remaining baby boomer generation of owners and leaders exit over the next 10 years.”
Previously Schemmer’s Transportation Engineering Group Leader, Kathol transitioned to president within an accelerated period of time; the firm’s ideal window being 18-24 months.
“Our recent president/CEO transition occurred over a period of six months, which was much sooner than planned because of individual circumstances,” he says. “However, the general grooming over a period of many years by the board of directors made it possible to have a new president/CEO seated within this limited timeframe.”
In order to create a seamless transitioning process, certain steps were adhered to, such as the following:
- Board of Directors (BOD) identification of current and future issues facing the firm.
- BOD articulation of the preferred qualities of the next president/CEO.
- BOD discussion of qualified internal candidates and their interest in the position.
Narrowing down the candidates then consisted of the nominees addressing critical issues/observations within the firm, among other items.
According to Kathol, the transitioning process is “very diplomatic,” and the “long-term health and prosperity of the firm is always put ahead of personal ambitions.”
To read the article in full, see pages 3-4 of the Zweig Letter’s Issue 1092 published on February 23, 2015.