By Carla Short
2017-07-182017-07-18https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]x.pngWVU IE200px200px
Bernie Wolford was encouraged to do something technical when he was graduating from high school. He originally decided to pursue Electrical Engineering, but when he saw the description of Industrial Engineering in the catalog, he decided that IE was a better fit for him.
When Bernie graduated in 1973, times were very good for engineers. “I had a large number of opportunities. I decided to join Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA), a top consulting firm,” Bernie says. Bernie chose a consulting career because of the exposure he would get to a variety of businesses.
Kurt Salmon asked its young consultants to relocate to their client sites. “I had very little “suitcase” travel early in my career as I lived at the clients’ location” Bernie explains. As Bernie became a principal at Kurt Salmon, travel increased since he was supervising projects at multiple locations. “I was away from home 110-115 nights a year,” Bernie says. “Frequently, I only saw my family on the weekends.”
As a principal at Kurt Salmon, Bernie was in effect one of the owners of the business. Each year, he received a significant bonus out of the profits of the business. He was able to use the bonus to buy shares in the business. The shares weren’t publically traded, but KSA was obligated buy the shares if Bernie left the company.
Home Depot was one of Bernie’s major clients and offered Bernie a full-time position. He was the Director of Strategic Business Development, and prior to that the Director of Workforce Management and Productivity. Bernie had responsibility for establishing labor hours for each department in every Home Depot store.
After six years at Home Depot, Bernie had the itch to return to consulting. He created his own firm, Buckingham Associates. Over the years, Bernie built up a number of contacts which gave him a solid base in his own business. He also has done a lot of international consulting to support the Home Depot “want-to-be’s” in other countries.
For students interested in a consulting career, Bernie advises students: “You have to be comfortable with an uncertain future. You will be continuously experiencing new challenges and varying assignments.” Bernie also says: “You need to find a mentor who has had a consulting career to help guide you.” Bernie has one regret about his career as a consultant: “I don’t get to see the continued maturation and professional development of clients’ staff as much as I would like, moving on to the next project upon completion of the past engagement.”
Highly-experienced in two primary skill sets: 1) proven P & L operations executive, and 2) implementation-focused consulting professional. Achievements include the identification and implementation of high-impact strategic and tactical improvements for consumer products manufacturers, marketers, distributors, retailers and related consumer service industries. Proficient in both b-to-b and b-to-c environments.
Proven leadership style which leverages strong communication skills plus consensus-building followed by delegation to team members with proper levels of follow up and support.
Achieved measurable results in numerous environments as an advisor plus I have been engaged in traditional management roles for periods of time as a full-time contracted executive. The common threads are engagements which were implementation-oriented, results-focused with substantial hands-on delivery, including development of staff to sustain and advance the improvements.