Follow up on Pensacola chapter of Society of Human Resource Management discussion from January 11

Follow up on Pensacola chapter of Society of Human Resource Management discussion from January 11

Here is a quick wrap-up on a few questions we couldn’t get to during the Society of Human Resource Management discussion in Pensacola on Wednesday:


Pertinent note: 

  • Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton
  • First Break All the Rules by Gallup Press
  • Visit for training and development opportunities
  • Employee Engagement Surveys can be completed by Studer Community Institute – if you’re interested reach out to Nicole Webb at

Here are some of the questions I wasn’t able to get to: 

Q: As a healthcare expert, what, if any, preparations or planning do you foresee as necessary based on the actions that could be implemented or changed by the Trump Administration?

A: Right now, I would not do anything and wait to see where the dust settles.


Q: Are there any public works programs that the city has for homeless that might be modeled after another successful city?

A: San Antonio, TX does a phenomenal job with their homeless population. Key factors that make them successful are:

  1. All organizations that provide services to homeless have centralized information technology to track the services each person is receiving and where.
  2. Having a centralized case management system.

If Escambia County could do those things, it would make positive impact for our homeless population.


Q: What led to the early learning initiative you have setup?

A: When Studer Community Institute (SCI) completed the Pensacola Metro Report, we noted that the percentage of students ready for kindergarten was closely aligned to the high school graduation rate. A literature search led to research that stated that 85% of the brain is developed by age three and 95% is developed by age five. We knew then that the focus should be on the 0-3 age group. Based on the University of Chicago’s Thirty Million Word initiative and supporting data, SCI made decision that biggest impact would be getting children in our area kindergarten ready.


Q: How do you change the culture of an organization when key leadership does not care?

A: You might not be able to. However, a couple suggestions would be:

  • Start small. Find a tactic – e.g. how to interview, how to onboard, leadership training, employee engagement – that will show leadership what a better culture can do for the entire company.
  • If there is one part of an organization where a leader has created a better culture or has better outcomes, that typically gets the top leader’s attention as to the value of all departments in the  organization learning ‘how it’s done.’ Ken Blanchard’s book Gung-Ho! describes this well; when one part of an organization can drive change for an entire organization.


Q: What is on your bucket list?

Going to the Grand Canyon.


Q: Downtown parking is becoming limited. How do you see us solving that issue?

A: It’s a good problem to have. Possible ways to look at and solve parking issues:

  • Creating other means for people to get places once they park – e.g. trolley, public transportation, etc.
  • Being extremely creative. In Santa Monica, you typically valet your car downtown, they utilize multiple parking garages all over the city, and you send a text when you’ll be back and they’ll have your car there.
  • Go up. Vertically go up which allows parking garages to go underneath buildings. To do that, you would need likely need to go taller than the height restrictions on downtown limit. The top floors above the parking structures would help pay for parking structure.


Q: Plans for attracting mid-sized businesses?

A: Mandatory to have good, clear guidelines. An example would be, ‘what can a mid-size business expect if they move to the Pensacola area?’ Outside businesses are looking at multiple areas, they likely don’t want to deal with political quagmire.

Having talent. When companies talk about relocation, most of the time they’re looking to hire the local talent where they move. Janesville, WI attracted Dollar General, who built a logistics warehouse the size of 17 football fields and hired 500 people at over $16/hour. They relocated to Janesville for two reasons – access to the interstate and they found the talent there.

My preferred approach is doing the right things for the businesses already in town in order to attract other businesses.


Q: What plans does Pensacola have to deal with jobs needed for residents?

A: I’m not sure any public entity has a plan. However, looking at the Triumph funds and other funds from the oil spill, the focus will be on infrastructure and workforce development. We are well-suited with a local university, state college, and vocational colleges. The adjustment might be toward more two-year certifications rather than four-year degrees.

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