Before joining Middough Inc., Carl E. Wendell — now president and COO — spent his first 25 years learning a lot of the ins and outs of the industry, which prepared him to take on his current roles. BIC Magazine recently sat down with Wendell to discuss his commitment to continuous growth, both personally and for his team, and the lessons he has learned from trying to live the same in his career and at home.
Carl E. Wendell, President and COO, Middough Inc.
Q: What led to your position at Middough Inc.?
A: I became Middough’s president and COO in January 2016. Prior to that, I had been with the company for five years, serving primarily as general manager of our major projects group.
Although I’m still far from perfect in my role at Middough, having opera ted in matrix organizations my entire career, advancing up through the ranks of EPC environments and owning my own company helped ready me for the job.
Q: What are your goals for your position?
A: My goals are to see that Middough grows profitably year over year as a result of responsiveness to our clients’ needs, that our people are recognized for problem solving, that Middough carries on a tradition of trusted performance, and to see that we have some fun along the way.
Q: What is your best management tactic?
A: Continuously reminding myself of the importance of our God-given proportions of two ears and one mouth. And it’s certainly not easy! Both your clients and your own people want to be heard. When I let them talk and I try to listen carefully, I learn a lot. I couple taking good notes with that same listening management tactic. I frequently state that the person with the best notes wins. That matters for two main reasons: 1. At age 21 on my first project, I was taught to keep a daily diary, and it ended up saving our company and me from a false surveying error accusation, and 2. Our world has become so litigious that we need good notes to remind ourselves to stay on task and also to remind others about the facts when they sometimes have seemingly selective memories.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote? Why is it your favorite?
A: “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” — Donald Rumsfeld, the 13th and 21st U.S. Secretary of Defense
Always try to empower the people around you and perfect your performance with the people and tools you have rather than waiting to find the perfect mix of people, best-planned processes and latest gadgets. Go to battle with what you have, take good notes, and trade up and improve along the way, or you will be left whining on the sidelines.
Q: How do you maintain a good work/home life balance?
A: I live by the motto of “Be positive, have faith, and jam it all in.” I married a great woman, and it has allowed me to invest a lot in my career, grow a family, build my faith and also have a lot of fun doing it.
I have also always leveraged the blessing of being raised by a father who is a U.S. Marine and a mother who is a taskmaster. Being soft seems to rarely pay off for me.
I try to live the same way at home and work: Respect your elders, be strong, read, say “thank you,” hold the handrail, know the numbers, be frugal, listen for opportunity, avoid excuses, make the meetings, take good notes, be a leader, do a little training, help solve problems, make the events at work and with family, go to the jobsites, provide candid opinions, and contribute time or dollars to the less fortunate. And get some sleep!
For more information, visit www.middough.com or call (216) 367-6000.