Interview with Eric Skidmore, Managing Partner
Let’s start with the question we posed in the summer newsletter. Are the Chicago Cubs really as good as their record would indicate?
The great play-by-play radio announcer for the Cubs, Pat Hughes
, uses this quote by Lou Holtz
during his broadcast when describing both good and bad times for the Cubs: “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose”. With this in mind, I keep expecting them to cool off some this year–which they have recently. Even with this last stretch, it is a very
special year. To catch up on where the Cubs are currently (and my bet with Keith for the year) visit https://NinePeaksSolutions.com/CUBSReport
How did you become such an avid Cubs fan given that you were raised in Central Oregon?
Seeing my first major league game in color early in the 1967 season. My Dad
worked two jobs during the Winter of 1966/1967 so he could get enough money to buy the family a color television. The first game I saw on our new TV was Cardinals vs Cubs game from Wrigley. It was the Saturday “Game of Week” on NBC with Curt Gowdy
and Pee Wee Reese
. This was amazing to see something being broadcast live in color from Chicago for a small town boy in Madras, Oregon.
What is your most memorable Cubs moment?
While I have many memorable Cubs moments, I would say the MOST memorable is attending the CUBS vs Dodgers game in Los Angeles on April 17, 2006. Greg Maddox
(HOF 2014) was masterful pitching for the CUBS that evening in Chavez Ravine. It was his 301st career victory – this would be what some people would refer to as his Hall of Fame game when he went over the 300 career victory number as a starting pitcher in the major leagues. Maddox would be traded to the Dodgers later on this season. I attended the game with Doug Mecimore, CORT payroll consultant at the time. Click here
for more of Eric’s memorable Cubs moments.
Okay, let’s move on to more serious matters. You started Nine Peaks Solutions in January of 2015. Was there a compelling event that prompted you to start your own consulting firm?
It was really two events. The first was just a phone call where I was asked to help out on some issues for what turned out to be the first client. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about anything beyond helping the client, and never imagined it would evolve into a “real” company operating in multiple states. This all changed with the second event. I’d received a call from another former client and found myself on site with this customer. It was on the plane heading home that I started thinking of the possibilities. The next thing I know I’m working on a potential name and writing out a plan on how to grow the company. I still have the USA Today from that morning where I scratched out potential names and items I would need to get this accomplished.
And how many customers do you have today?
The growth has been tremendous when you think about just one guy starting from scratch and building the company one client at time. As of today we are working with 26 clients. I expect this to increase this month, and as we progress through the summer. Today we have the most active client base and the largest projects to date going for Nine Peaks. I’m encouraged for the future, the overall value Nine Peaks can provide to our clients, and the types of products and services we are able to leverage for the benefit of our client partners.
How would you rate your first year-and-a-half in business and what has been your greatest challenge?
Overall, it’s been great. I’m really happy with where we are at, but also see lots of areas where we can improve. The biggest challenge for me is the administrative side of the business. I’m much more likely to work on a client project than spend time on back-office admin work. There have been some significant milestones reached along the way. A few of my favorites have been:
- Receiving the first call and knowing there would be an opportunity to work again with the CORT & NuView client base.
- The plane ride home and putting the plan into place starting in March 2015.
- Working on site with Stephen and Pierre in June 2015 – experiencing and being part of a powerful Laserfiche solution being designed and put into place.
- Adding Laserfiche as a product in September 2015 and knowing there would be an opportunity to build solutions for clients with a great platform.
- Adding additional personnel in November of 2015 based on the types of projects coming through the door.
- Moving into the new office in late November 2015 – this was just before Thanksgiving. It was great to find a place that we can call home and happened at just the right time.
- Adding Microsoft, Epson, & SIGNiX as partners during the year.
- Being on a plane in Denver on Tuesday, February 23rd when Keith called to say he would be staying with Nine Peaks to help build the business going forward.
- The new website and the first newsletter in March 2016 – “Send it … send it now, Keith! We’ve only just begun.”
What is the one piece of advice that you would give someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Never underestimate what it takes to get something accomplished. Perception is rarely reality when you start breaking it down. We recently put together a marketing promotion of three mailers (now four) going out to perspective clients here in Central Oregon. Just getting the mailers into an acceptable format for the postal service, with a good design and solid marketing message was a major undertaking. We redid the mailer design and layout multiple times working toward the end result. If you want to take a look, refer to our News & Events
page on our web site. I think they turned out well for the intended purpose of introducing Nine Peaks and Laserfiche to the Central Oregon region’s financial professionals.
I don’t think a lot of folks realize you started a new line of business in the fall of last year as an authorized solution provider of Laserfiche ECM. Who is Laserfiche and what is ECM?
Since 1987, Laserfiche Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software has been trusted by organizations worldwide to manage, secure and share information. With over 35,000 customers and five million users, Laserfiche develops solutions for capture, workflow, forms, e-signatures and case management that help companies drive business value—and make timely, informed decisions. Laserfiche is an ideal solution for organizations looking to improve business processes by digitizing and automating the flow of documents; to include easy-to-create online forms, workflow, approvals, email notifications, easy search and retrieval, and record retention policies. This is a solution that is rapidly developed & deployed – at a very reasonable cost – and integrates well with a client’s existing solutions. If your organization has file cabinets, you are a good
candidate for a Laserfiche ECM solution. If you have a documents room and/or offsite document storage, you are a great
Will this impact your ability to serve the CORT and NuView clients?
I hope so. Both Keith and I see this as complementary to the existing work we do with contacts we’ve established over the years when working with the CORT and NuView solutions. We are anxious to demonstrate how Laserfiche can elevate a client’s business processes and provide peace of mind with safe, secure document management. In fact, our summer newsletter includes our first announcement for an upcoming webinar specifically for current/former CORT & NuView clients. The webinar will be held Wednesday, July 27th at 11:30a EDT/8:30a PDT.
Thanks for your time today, Eric. Final question: You said earlier that you think this is a very special year for the Cubs. Is your confidence such that, if the Cubs get knocked out early, you’ll wear the ball cap of the winning team and post a photo to the Nine Peaks website?
I have to be somewhat selective here. My answer would be yes … unless it’s the Cardinals. I don’t know that I could drag myself to put on one of their hats and have a photo taken. Reason: their management reserved a special place for CUBS fans when they demolished the old Busch stadium by imploding it in 2005. More details can be found via this link
. Side note: I did attend one of the final games to be played in September 2005 at the old Busch and witnessed the sign displayed in the video first hand … and more than a few comments from Cardinals fans while attending the game in my CUBS hat.