The Full Disclosure Newsletter

March 2, 2017

Internal Insights

Reviving a M&A Tradition

Back in the 90's the Murphy & Associates Editorial team (namely, my mother, a former journalism teacher), produced a cleverly named quarterly newsletter called “Random Access Notes.” Distribution was old-school and intermittent. The internal team used to hand deliver paychecks to consultants, so four times a year they would also slip them a bi-folded copy of the latest edition with their checks. Random Access Notes generally consisted of consultant profiles, black and white photos, and updates about upcoming events.

With the advent of Direct Deposit, the need to hand deliver paychecks vanished and our little newsletter languished, with the last edition coming out in 2001. Over the last 16 years, many other things have changed; Murphy & Associates has grown steadily and the entire industry has been revolutionized.

In the midst of all these changes, however, our desire to keep in touch with our network has never waned. We know that our business is built on relationships and trust, and that creating opportunities for our consultants depends on maintaining and expanding our connections with clients, managers, and Murphy & Associates alumni. Deep in our company’s DNA is the belief that, the more people know about the way we do business and our full disclosure model, the more opportunities we can create for our network.

With that in mind, we have resurrected the Murphy & Associates newsletter. It won’t have black and white photos, and it won’t be printed on heavy stock bi-folded paper. It will, however, hopefully contain pertinent information and keep you abreast of what our team and our consultants are doing.

This inaugural edition is only the first iteration; if you have any suggestions or thoughts on potential topics, please let us know.

Erik Murphy, COO

President Erik Murphy announced a shuffling of the Murphy & Associates management team at the annual Holiday party on January 21st 2017. After twenty-four years working for Murphy & Associates, and leading the company as President for the past eight years, Erik announced that he is transitioning to a new role as Chief Operating Officer and that his brother Judd will be assuming the position of Chief Executive Officer. 

 
In his new position, Erik will focus on maintaining and improving the company's operations. "My interest has always gravitated towards making the company run smoother, and over the past 24 I have spent a lot of time working on the automation of our processes. With this new role, I will be able to concentrate fully on that aspect of the business and pass on the long-term strategy and planning responsibilities to Judd."

As CEO, Judd will be responsible for business development and the implementation of the company's long term strategy.

Judd has spent the majority of his career consulting with small to medium sized businesses (including Murphy & Associates) where he has focused on sales, marketing, business strategies and finance.  Throughout his career, Judd has had an entrepreneurial bent.  After completing his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 2002, Judd worked as a consultant in Europe for a few years.  When he returned to the US, Judd owned and operated a neighborhood restaurant in Chicago for seven years.

As he settles in to his new role at Murphy & Associates, Judd has enjoyed working with the Murphy & Associates team and engaging with consultants out in the field.  "I am thrilled to be working with my brothers… even if they do occasionally call me by my childhood nickname. We have so many talented, dedicated and fun people working at the office. In particular, collaborating with the partner managers on growing the business has been exciting. We are very fortunate in that, over the past 36 years, Murphy & Associates has developed a dynamic network of consultants, clients and partners. Our collective mission is to tap into the network in order to create more opportunities for current employees and alums."

Consultant Spotlight: Max Tomassini

Current client: Boeing
Role: Senior Project Manager

Start date at Murphy & Associates: January 2017
 
Max joined Murphy & Associates in 2017, stepping into the role of Senior Project Manager in Boeing's Commercial Airplane - SAP Center of Excellence division. He began his career in the finance sector, fine tuning his skills and experience throughout a variety of IT consulting projects, specifically in the ERP/SAP space.
 
Max is, who folks in the radio business call, a "first time caller, long time listener". Having been in contact with Partner Manager Sarah Eldridge for many years, the stars finally aligned and he officially became a member of the Murphy & Associates family this year.
 
Learn more about Max below and find out which hilltop village is his favorite travel spot in the world.

What advice would you give to new consultants?

First, be open to learning and trying new things, and not just accepting assignments based on things you’ve already done or work you’re “comfortable with”. Doing work outside your comfort zone is how you develop your “toolbox” of skills and experiences, particularly early in your career. There is always time to specialize and narrow your focus, especially as clients come to expect very specific things from you as you mature in this profession.

Second, don’t fear ambiguity, as it’s a big part of the job. It’s often the case that clients don’t quite know what they need, or how you can help…they just know they need help. Take the time to understand their core business problems before diving into “solution mode”. Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or coaching from your colleagues. Know that the ambiguous nature of the work, particularly early in a project or assignment, will resolve itself over time.  
 
What do you find the most challenging as a consultant?

The most challenging thing for me is the expectation that you will be able to get up to speed very quickly and begin delivering results and adding value right away. That’s why the client hires you. The more experienced you are, the shorter the expectation around this “ramp-up time” becomes. Joining a new client or project is never easy, as each client has its own culture, which you have to learn to navigate, its own “way of doing things” and a unique set of business problems to be solved. I’ve learned to embrace those difficult first few weeks, as that’s where a lot of the learning and growing happens.

What is your proudest moment as a consultant?

I’ve worked in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)/SAP space since I first got into consulting in 1995. As a Project Manager on these large, complex and highly disruptive projects, it always seemed like a minor miracle when we were able to take a company live on a system like SAP. [The failure rate on SAP projects is about 50%, and I’ve been on a couple of those]. My first SAP go-live as a PM was at Sega of America, which toward the end become a tortuous experience for everyone involved. As rewarding as the go-live event was (for everyone), my proudest moment in consulting was when the client asked my firm (Coopers & Lybrand) and me to stay and support the rollout of the system to a subsidiary company. After all we had been through, they wanted to do it again, and with C&L helping them.

Favorite quote?

“Better to live one day like a lion, than a lifetime like a sheep” [My father, roughly translated from Italian]. He brought his wife and two young children (my sister and myself) to the US with no money and the “possibility” of a job through a family acquaintance. He’s 85 and still lives each day like a lion. 
 
If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?

A fishing rod & tackle (that’s one thing, right?), my music collection (iPhone & headphones, also one thing), and a solar charger for the iPhone. That’s pretty much it.

Favorite travel spot?

Castignano, Italy. My parent’s home town, and a place I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a few times (and going back to this summer with my daughter). It’s a small hilltop village in central Italy, with the Adriatic about 20 minutes away. Summer mornings are spent at the beach, followed by an early afternoon lunch and two hour nap. The partying then start around 5:00pm. You wake up at 8:00am the next day and do it over again. Despite my relative’s frequent complaints about the Italian economy and dysfunctional government, they have it pretty well figured out.

Open Requirements

 

Our list of challenging and rewarding openings is ever changing, but here are few of the requirements we are trying to fill today. Do you think you are the perfect person to take on one of these challenges, then we would love to hear from you, contact us.



Murphy News

Welcoming Jason Klinke

February 24, 2017

We here at Murphy & Associates are thrilled to welcome Jason Klinke back into our fold as our latest internal staff hire. As a Senior Application Developer, Jason will be working on a number of internal IT projects and creating tools to support the partner management and operations teams.

Jason's skills come at an opportune time for us. Over the past 12 months, the Murphy & Associates IT team of Brick Baldwin and Janet Truselo have been wrapped up in system maintenance and the development of the company's new website (yes, the very site that you are looking at right now). Consequently, a backlog of system upgrades and features has been building up steadily. In the short term, Jason's focus will be on alleviating the backlog and working on Murphy and Associates' Document Management System.

Jason has a long history with Murphy & Associates; he started his first assignment through Murphy & Associates in 2000, when he worked at Boeing as a VB and SQL developer. Over the years, Jason has contracted at Iron Mountain, Expedia, Boeing and Microsoft through Murphy & Associates, as well as a few full time positions.

“When we realized Jason was available to help with this backlog of projects, we jumped on the opportunity to bring him on board.” Joel Murphy, our VP of IT said.  “He's not only one of the sharpest developers / architects I know, but he’s also a great guy and a perfect fit for our internal staff culture. In the brief time he's been with us, he's already made huge progress on some of our systems. Were thrilled to have him on the team!”

Jason is married to Linh Ly and they have a 4 year old son named Bodhi.  Jason, Linh and Bodhi just returned from a three-month stint in Paris for a project Linh was working on at Egencia. While there Jason had the opportunity to consume a lot of cheese and brush up on his French.

Holiday Party

February 2, 2017

Murphy and Associates celebrated 36 years in business on Saturday, January 21st at the Golf Club at Newcastle. Over 200 guests attended the annual post-holiday party, where was plenty of time for drinks, mingling and a photo booth (you can check out pictures here). 

No golf, however, was played by partygoers. It looked like a beautiful course, to be sure, but it was dark and cold outside (sigh).

In accordance with recent tradition, the party was scheduled for a few weeks after the end of the holiday season. As Judi Brittin, VP of Partner Management, explained, "We found in years past that our consultants were already at capacity in terms of family events and travel in December, so we decided to move the party into late January. It is a good way to break up the winter doldrums and more people are able to attend."

As in years past, the party centered around a lightly competitive activity. This year consultants and their guests went head to head by testing their knowledge of trivia. The ad hoc teams were determined by table, and the winning team consisted of Randall Root, Nathan Martin, Brian Sanders and Marnel Mangrubang, with Alison Beget representing the internal Murphy & Associates team. Alison insists that there was no cheating involved, that they won fair-and-square, but some co-workers have expressed skepticism.

At the end of the evening, the remaining Murphy & Associates stragglers congregated around the photo booth, with the following mixed results:



Planning is already underway for the 2018 party. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please let us know.

Operations Manager Transition

January 17, 2017

For the past year and a half, Nicole Paus has played the role of Operations Manager Extraordinaire. She has been able to do it all. If you’d like to change your health insurance coverage, Nicole can help you out. If you have a question about a paystub item, she has the answer. Nicole has been essential to our business operations, both managing many of our internal processes and helping the Partner Manager team place and onboard new consultants.

As local demand for consultants has increased, our pipeline of requirements has grown, and we are in the fortunate position of needing to expand the Partner Manager Team. Given Nicole’s experience and exceptional organizational skills, she was the natural choice to fill this role. Most importantly, Nicole enjoys interacting with consultants in the field. “It has been a pleasure to support all our consultants as a member of the operations team and I am looking forward to further developing my relationships with our consultants and clients.”

While Nicole will be missed in the Operations Manager position, we are fortunate enough to have found Karie Vanneman as her replacement.  Karie joined the team at the beginning of 2017 and has been working with Nicole to learn the ins and outs of our operations.

Karie’s background makes her a perfect fit for the position. After graduating from Washington State with a degree in Merchandising, Karie worked in retail where she honed her customer service skills. “What I loved most about the retail industry was working face to face with the customers.  I enjoyed the challenge that each customer brought and being able to meet their needs”.  After a few years, Karie became a store manager, supervising a staff of thirty and overseeing a naturally chaotic retail environment.

In her following job at Nordstrom, Karie moved from the shop floor to the back office, where helped buyers forecast sales, choose retail items and manage millions of dollars of inventory. This combination of administrative ability and people skills ensure that Karie will thrive as an Operations Manager and pick up where Nicole left off. “I am very excited to be joining the Murphy & Associates team as Operations Manager.  I look forward to learning more about the business and assisting everyone with their operational needs.”

Tips & Tricks

We recently had an extended conversation with a top Senior Project Manager about her career path and the multiple lessons she has learned. With over 15 years of project management experience, and having worked in a diverse range of industry, our anonymous source has plenty of insights into how to be successful as a contractor. The top three that pieces of advice that she would give to consultants are:

1. Know your client: Before you begin an assignment, learn as much as you can about the client's culture and work environment.

First impressions have a huge impact on the success or failure of an assignment. By understanding the norms and expectations within a new client's work environment, you can help your chances of getting started on the right foot. What is considered normal in one environment (e.g. having your cell phone out during a team meeting) may very well be unacceptable in another. By adapting to the culture quickly, you show respect for the client and lay the foundation for a solid professional relationship with your teammates.

2. Share Credit: Make your great ideas seem like their ideas.

Ultimately, your job as a consultant is to take care of the client by making sure that your team succeeds. By focusing more on creating positive outcomes and less on making sure that you get all the credit you deserve, you can earn the trust of the team. Rightly or wrongly, full time employees and managers can feel threatened by project-based consultants; by prioritizing the success of the team over your own need for acclaim, you can ingratiate yourself to team members and managers. In the long run, this will increase your value to the client.

3. Network: If you diversify your contacts, you dramatically increase the your future opportunities.

You never know where your next assignment will come from. A chance encounter with a manager in a different group can lead to unforeseen opportunities. The obvious corollary to this is don't burn bridges; if you run afoul of a co-worker or manager, do your utmost to repair the relationship or clear the air. If you don’t, it may very well come back to bite you.

Nuts & Bolts

As of February 1st, 2017, Murphy & Associates consultants will no longer receive a PDF of their paystub via email. With the launch of our new website, consultants can download paystubs by signing in to the murphyandassoc.com site and clicking on the Pay Ledger icon. Consultants will have access to all paystubs that have been issued over the past year. Along with providing users greater access to past payment information, this change will also enhance security.

Get excited… tax season is in full gear, and it is time to gather up W-2’s, 1099’s, 1095’s and break out your green visor (yes, we know you have one). In mid-January, our operations team sent out the required tax documents to all M&A consultants.  If you have not received a W-2 by mail, please let us know and we can arrange to send you a new one. If you are a sole proprietorship, your 1099 has been sent out as well. Consultants that have incorporated can find all their requisite year-end pay information on their final paystub of the year. Thanks, and good luck with your filing.