SQA News | Winter 2016

SQA Wins & Challenges

It’s been a very exciting start to 2016! Lots of pressure-packed projects requiring diverse skill sets in challenging geographies for clients in exciting industries. I’ve never been happier with the prospects for our future – and the only constant has been change! My travels thus far, seeing Associates and clients around the world, have been very fruitful from a learning and improvement standpoint, so thanks to all of you who took the time to meet with me.

Record Sales Achieved in 2015
2015 was yet another record year in revenue. This means we’ve had back-to-back record years, and 2016 is poised for yet another record number – but there’s a lot of work for us to do to achieve this. The 2015 record was generated from 93 active customers in five main industries.

New Boston Office
Several years ago, I met a guy I knew I wanted to work with someday. He had the energy, passion, and enthusiasm it takes to hit the ball out of the park for us. I kept trying to bring him into the organization, and recently, I finally succeeded. Ladies and gentlemen, meet J.B. Dowd! Please read a bit more about him below this article. Needless to say, we’re very excited for him to start on April 4th! Welcome to the team, J.B.!

SQA Advisory Board
We are blessed to have some great family friends who are globally recognized as strategic thought leaders. It’s time to tap into this network a bit more officially, so my father and I recently decided that we’re going to have quarterly meetings with some of these exciting people who will question us, push us, and advise us as we make our trek to higher and higher revenues. Stay tuned for a release of the names of the folks who will be joining us shortly. I’ve asked two people so far and received two enthusiastic nods, so I’m greatly encouraged that the rest of my targets will follow suit and join our inaugural board. Watch out for a more formal introduction in our next newsletter!

Meeting Associates Globally
Thanks to all of our awesome Associates for taking the time to meet with me during my travels this year. I’ve learned a great deal about how we can improve, heard various success stories and experiences, and gained an understanding of more opportunities in the field. Below is a photo of Boudewijn de Jong and me having dinner in Amsterdam in mid-January. What a super guy and a tremendous asset for us, with a brilliant mind and great insight into how we can grow in his region. The highlight of our discussion was when he shared with me his proudest moment as an SQA Associate: he was sent an audit report from our SQA Content Team that represented a “Gold Standard” example, and he realized after reading the introduction that it was an audit report he had written a few months earlier! It was fun to see his eyes light up with pride knowing that his work was being benchmarked as the goal for each subsequent audit with a big client.

I’ve traveled quite a bit over the last few years, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than meeting our exceptional team members around the world. A big challenge for me is not being able to duplicate these meetings more often in more places. Please be patient with me and know that I’m going to keep this effort up and that I hope to be in your part of the world soon to say hello. It bothers me that there are key contributors I haven’t been able to spend time with to learn more about how we can get better, offer more, and delight our clients.

Huge Names, Not Huge Business….Yet 
Our sales team is simply the best in the business. They open huge doors that sometimes take years to open. After we engage and handle a few pilot programs, however, things sometimes hit a snag before really blossoming into a large partnership where we are leveraged more aggressively. We fully recognize that this is the nature of our business, but it’s frustrating when it happens, and we try our best to expedite the development of our client partnerships. When project-related opportunities hit, it’s not always easy to transition several small projects into a strategic partnership. These things take time and success needs to be tactfully shared with the right people at the right time. I will work on our patience as we deal with this, but this is nonetheless a major challenge that I feel compelled to disclose. Many times, we simply work ourselves out of a job (which is great for our reputation), but we all want to see our sales grow.

Slow Starts
Historically, the first quarter of every year is our weakest in sales. Clients are busy putting together their plans for leveraging our services and sending requests to their internal departments for needed budgets, and during this phase, we try to help them show the massive ROI that comes from using SQA as a third-party extension to their organization. I’m not sure if there’s anything we can do to expedite things, but we sure try. The good news is that things crank up and the quarters get progressively busier as the year goes on. So if you’re an Associate waiting for your next assignment from us, get ready!

New Geography
Twenty years ago, my dad, Jim McKay, and I wanted a truly global business. Now, we have realized that we sometimes need to be more careful about what we wish for, as the demands continue to be significant. Ten years ago, we were active in about a dozen countries, and now it’s over three dozen and counting. Some of the recent hot spots are insanely tough to get to, are in areas with significant logistical or cultural challenges, and are sometimes located in high profile danger areas where security is a real concern.

As usual, please feel free to send me any kind of note, feedback, or questions about this article -my personal email address is mmckay@sqaservices.com. I read and reply to every message, and I love hearing your ideas in the spirit of continuous improvement. I look forward to leading this fantastic company for years and years to come – thanks to everyone for their support!

Yours in Quality,
Mike McKay

President/CEO Mike McKay with Boudewijn de Jong in Amsterdam

Welcome J.B. Dowd!

J.B. Dowd joins SQA Services as Vice President, bringing with him over 25 years of experience in the medical device industry. J.B. will launch SQA Services’s Northeast Office to bring a senior management presence to our customers, and he will work with our regionally-based staff throughout the East Coast and Europe. Previously, J.B. worked for Boston Scientific Corporation, where he held a variety of roles, from Sales to Clinical Operations to Corporate Supply Chain. J.B. is excited to bring his business development, operations, and audit strategy experience to SQA Services and to develop relationships with our clients as we expand our reach in the markets we serve. Born and raised in Boston and a graduate of Boston College, J.B. currently resides in Westwood, MA with his wife, Tiffany.

American Manufacturing Summit 2016

The American Manufacturing Summit is a leadership focused meeting designed around improving plant floor operations and manufacturing strategy across the globe. The Manufacturing Summit serves as an annual platform to exchange ideas around the impact of market dynamics and new technologies for current and future manufacturing, operations and supply chain leaders. We were pleased to sponsor and exhibit at this year’s AMS event in Schaumburg, IL!

Pictured below: Business Development Director-Jason Williams and Vice President of Business Development-Fred Williams

Associate Spotlight

When I moved to California’s central coast from Southern California, SQA offered me the perfect solution for continuing my career in quality system management while living in a non-industrial region. I started my career 25 years ago with printed circuit board manufacturing and evolved within the aerospace, medical, oil & gas, telecommunications, nuclear, and consumer industries. Up next for me with SQA …the last frontier…space, with a high profile aerospace corporation. For the past five years, SQA’s projects have consistently challenged my skills while expanding my knowledge base, broadened my experience across several states within a variety of businesses, and, most importantly, refined my sense of humor. It has been very rewarding working for a company like SQA because, as Darwin so eloquently stated, “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives…”

Between assignments, I can usually be found underwater looking for buried treasure or wrestling lobsters out of their crevices, hunting for seaglass along our coasts or around tropical islands, or retrieving golf balls out of the course ponds. On dry land, I spend most of my time taking care of five acres, along with cats, hummingbirds, and butterflies. What little spare time I have left is spent curled up with a Thorne Smith book and listening to trance music.

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