Director of Operations now Chief Operating Officer and Human Resource Officer
Once a pre-med/chemistry major and a phlebotomist working in the emergency room, Robert Bowers, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Human Resource Officer, knows chaos. As COO and CHRO, it is expected that he would deal with a fair amount of chaos as a leader in a large organization with multiple entities.
However, “Though important, the decisions I make in my current position are not life and death–and maybe having seen that has given me a unique perspective. Nothing ever overwhelms me,” Robert said of dealing with the fast-paced environment of TDC. In fact, it’s the pace of the organization that invigorates Robert.
“I love the fact that it is so fast-paced,” Robert said. “When I am interviewing people, I always state if you’re not a pace person, this probably is not the right culture for you.” But, it is what Robert refers to as “pace with purpose.” He explained that because every colleague throughout TDC understands and practices the core values of the organization, it allows them to embrace change and move with agility through an ever-changing business landscape.
One might say that Robert himself has moved with agility and pace since starting at TDC. Before coming to TDC, Robert was the Director of Global Operations for an engineering firm, servicing clients as far away as China–even consulting those clients on their own organizational structure and development. Then, at the behest of two friends from his church that he and Cleves, the Chairman/CEO of TDC Investment Advisory, unknowingly had in common, Robert applied for an office manager position at TDC. Though his friends both thought he was over-qualified, they knew that TDC was the perfect place for Robert to “create his own opportunity.”
There were really a few different areas in need of leadership at TDC, so Robert describes his first few months at TDC as “trying to find the right seat on the bus.” Robert explained that while being technically proficient is always an integral part of the equation, we “hire for character and train for competency,” looking for “great people with grit and a genuine curiosity.” TDC is built to feed these attributes and create a very personal path for each of its colleagues. And, Robert’s journey is no exception. From interviewing for an office manager position that unearthed experience in finance and operations with a degree in organizational development that led to being the COO to a simple question from Cleves regarding “those letters at the end of your name on your resume,” that led to executive oversight for all TDC entities as it relates to HR.
Then, only a few months into his role as CHRO, Robert was asked to join the executive committee. The transition of a few other folks, plus Robert’s skills and the growing needs of the organization, created a variety of opportunities for Robert to provide value.
It has always been Robert’s intent to never change simply for change’s sake or just to put his stamp on things, though certainly things have changed since his arrival. “Whatever part I may have played in those changes, I always look for efficiency AND effectiveness,” which he explains the first as “team to team” and the latter as “across the entire organization.” He encountered pushback early on with some of his proposed changes, stating “as with anything new, there is a healthy dose of skepticism. But, like it is stated, I think it was (and still is) healthy.” But, now those changes feel like that is the way they have always been done, and Robert sees this to be a victory of sorts.
Robert feels incredibly blessed by this opportunity and thinks the position he holds in the organization is “right in his wheelhouse.” But, never one to rest on his laurels, Robert continues to seek out ways to make TDC better–and to “protect what the (Delp) family has built.”