IAG’s new CEO reflects on market opportunity, client service, and what inspires him
An interview with Terence Easton, IAG’s Chief Executive Officer
What made you want to come work for IAG?
IAG is at a pivotal inflection point. Despite the fact that the overall market is in decline, the market segments that require IAG’s strength are actually growing – notably the sustainability market. Most of our backlog is there, including renewable diesel, biofuels, biodegradable plastics and more. I am excited to be a part of a company at the forefront of a new market surge.
Tell us about one of your career highlights.
While at Fluor, my team successfully positioned us to receive the “Chairman’s Award for Account Management” for two separate client teams. It’s a prestigious award only given out to one account management team per year. One of those clients was Chevron. At the time I assumed leadership of the account, Fluor had a challenged relationship and we needed sea change in our approach to servicing them. It took many years and a lot of time and energy, but we made Chevron Fluor’s number one account. The pinnacle of the relationship was the award of the Kitimat LNG project in Western Canada, which at the time was the largest project award in Fluor’s history.
We also become an alliance partner for Chevron’s project incubation team. This partnership allowed us to prove our value and gave us incredible insight into what was happening with their capital program. Based upon our expertise and position in the market I very much believe IAG has the capability to have a similar partnerships with companies like Chevron.
I’ve been struck by the wealth of experience [at IAG].. most of the people at IAG have been in the industry for a long time and are essentially experts in what they do. That creates value for clients.
These accomplishments all had one thing in common: great client service. What does that mean and how can IAG deliver the best service to our clients?
Client service is made up of three fundamental activities. The first is advocacy. When representing or working with a client we must become a de facto employee of their organization. We must understand our client’s needs, and advocate for their success within IAG, whether it’s more resources here, a better price there, or a longer commitment there.
The second attribute is authenticity. We need to continually be authentic with our clients about what we can do and can’t do. The power of no is much more important than the power of yes. When we tell our clients, “No, we can’t perform that service for you” or, “No, that schedule can’t be achieved” it reinforces the credibility of a “yes”.
The third attribute of great client service is delivery. This mean delivering on commitments and persisting to solve problems. Whether it’s a good or bad project we need to continue to deliver value and try to resolve problems for our clients. This goes for not just the operational people but also for the business development people. We don’t want transactional relationships. We want collaborative relationships that last a long time. The only way you can accomplish that is by advocating, being authentic and delivering on your promises.
When we limit our conception of how people fit into the workplace, we limit ourselves and our ability to take full advantage of what diversity brings to the table.
In your short time with IAG, what’s been a highlight?
I’ve been struck by the wealth of experience that exists here. I was under the incorrect impression that smaller companies don’t have a wide variety of talent. What I found is quite the opposite. Most of the people at IAG have been in the industry for a long time, are well respected in their field, and are essentially experts in what they do. That creates value for many clients who don’t have similar capabilities within their own company.
How do you think about and approach diversity within a company?
In my prior job, I was on the initial advisory board for the establishment of a program called Growing Representation and Opportunity for Women (GROW). The whole effort of GROW was to create a dialog about the shortage of women in the industry, and specifically the value they bring. Female engineers have a very high graduation rate, high competency rate and yet are under-utilized. It has been proven that once an executive team reached over 20% female participation there was a material change in the company and they achieved better results. These lessons extrapolate to all kinds of diversity. When we limit our conception of how people fit into the workplace, we limit ourselves and our ability to take full advantage of what diversity brings to the table.
Safety is about making sure to keep yourself and those around you safe. It allows everyone to go home at the end of each day and be with their family.
Can you talk to me about your approach to safety?
II would just like to impress upon our company, in the field and in the office, the importance of conducting themselves safely, having safety in their designs, and the strong direct impact that has on the company and our families.
I, unfortunately, have had to deal with a fatality on a project. It made a dramatic impact on me as a person and is something I don’t want anyone at IAG to experience. I want everybody to keep safety in mind throughout the day and remember to Stop and Think. Take a pause, stop and think about what you’re about to do, are you going to do it safely? Are you following the rules and the guidelines of the plant you’re in? Making sure you adhere to the right processes and procedures to keep yourself and those around you safe. It allows everyone to go home at the end of each day and be with their family.
What inspires you?
Lots of things, but my family really inspires me. I enjoy watching them grow as people. We have five children, and they all have their own unique accomplishments and failures and I just love watching them become productive members of society. So much of who I am is my five kids and my wife.
At work, what inspires me is people working hard towards a goal, achieving it, and having that achievement recognized by their peers. Nothing feels better than the respect and admiration of the people you work with when you achieve team success.