Spotlight On: Matt Kelley, Vice President of Engineering
Matt Kelley, Vice President of Engineering at Oxford, has been part of the team for an incredible 20 years. His dedication and commitment to Oxford are borne from a long-standing relationship wherein his hard work has been rewarded. This relationship is the foundation upon which he has built strong relationships with his clients, consultants, and team. Matt’s leadership has enabled those who work with him to flourish as professionals, and in this article, he will share some of what he learned in his career.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: Over the past 20 years, I held several roles at Oxford, including Account Manager, Senior Account Manager, Segment Manager, Site Manager, Operations Manager, Director of Software and Hardware, and now Vice President of Engineering. Before that, I was a store manager for a large fast-food franchise with over 300 stores.
Q: How long have you been with Oxford?
A: I’ve been with Oxford for 20 years. I applied through an internal referral. At the time, the company was very small, with only two national locations.
Q: What daily habits do you recommend for success?
A: First, start the day with a positive outlook and attitude — regardless of what happened the previous day or what you’re up against in your day ahead. Second, have a plan for the week, including daily goals to accomplish (plan your work, work your plan!). For years, I used an hourly planner to outline my daily goals. It’s important to check off the accomplished goals as you complete them — it feels good. I try to finish my list of tasks before the end of the day, staying late if I need to. I want to start the next day ahead of schedule, not behind.
When constructing my daily habits at Oxford, I take it back to the basics. Make each conversation count — whether on the phone with clients, consultants, or team members. It’s also important to consistently network to uncover new industry and market information.
Q: What attributes do you think are most important in a leader?
A: Be yourself! A leader should be accountable, ethical, and a good example. Leaders should have solid listening and communication skills. It’s important to be committed to your company and team, but also be flexible. Be confident in who you are, your ability to lead and build winning teams.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read on business or leadership?
A: I find short articles whether it be Harvard Business Journal or others about the industry, companies, business, leadership, technology, or sales to be more informative and relevant to the staffing and services industry. I recently read two books on managing small and large teams: Good to Great by Jim Collins and Get Everyone in Your Boat Rowing in the Same Direction by Bob Boylan.
Q: What skills do you think will be most in-demand in 2021?
A: In the engineering industry, we’ll see a lot of movement in cybersecurity, project management, controls, and embedded systems.
In talent and recruitment, social media channels for recruitment in 2021 and beyond will only grow. Now, recruiting is about going beyond a job posting or searching for names. We are finding talent from technical blogs, user groups, forums, as well as traditional job boards, and this has to be a piece of a successful recruiting strategy. It is no longer a novelty. Along with that, personal and company social branding is so important, but nothing takes the place of getting on the phone or video and building relationships.
Q: How do you define customer care?
A: Taking care of clients throughout the entire sales cycle — from prospect to placement. Customer service is how we take care of people after the placement.
Q: What advice would you give to individuals looking for a job in consulting right now?
A: Work with an agency that has experience and a good reputation in the industry. They should have the ability to match jobs with the requisite skill sets, and they should take pride in client and consultant relationships.
Q: How do you support driving change with your team or colleagues based on strategic business decisions?
A: The staffing industry is always evolving and changing. Take COVID, for example. We had to change our strategy from placing individuals nationally to regionally to get people on site. We’re open and have consistent dialogue and communication around business initiatives. We strategize together to come up with the best way to grow our business effectively.
Q: What do you do to mentor the individuals on your team?
A: I have weekly meetings with every individual on my team. We set goals and revisit them regularly. It starts with good communication and then correcting and shepherding with positive reinforcement as people do well and flourish. It’s also about challenging people and helping them be at their best.
Q: What do you like best about working with your clients, consultants, and team?
A: I like working with clients because I enjoy seeing projects through to completion. So much of our day is consumed with projects and we don’t necessarily see the outcomes, so it’s rewarding to see projects out in the “real world” and know we had a hand in that.
Watching consultants learn new skill sets and advance within companies is rewarding. We get feedback through surveys, so we know we’re placing consultants on the right project. It really boils down to understanding client and consultant needs.
I enjoy seeing my team members grow, get out of their comfort zones, and ultimately win.
Q: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
A: I take time to exercise each day, whether that’s in the morning or at night. Recently, I got a Peloton, and I enjoy that. I get out and walk with my dog and spend time with my family.
Q: Why Oxford?
A: For clients, we have Account Managers who want to take the time to speak with you often, visit face-to-face or over video, and get to know you, your projects, your team, and your company. Our sales team will work closely with you to find the best talent in the market. Our consulting services team is here to help manage large-scale projects. Oxford has a global database of qualified, senior consultants who in many cases worked for Oxford several times. This means we can provide the best possible resource.
For consultants, we have an international network of clients. Our recruiters are smart, savvy, and understand the industry. They will spend time getting to know you and stay in contact throughout the process. Oxford leverages over 35 years of experience and has the best opportunities for consultants with some of the top companies in engineering.
For internal employees, our recruiting and account management opportunities allow you to continuously learn and grow — professionally and financially. The staffing industry is a great sector of the market and learning about technology is always exciting. Additionally, we reward hard with and continuously
I have been rewarded in many ways working with Oxford. I love being in the field of technology, and I have never stopped learning and growing. I’ve had great mentors and leaders, and as a result, many opportunities have opened up. Oxford has been very good to me.
As Matt continues to lead his teams at Oxford, the relationships he builds will promote greater outcomes and an environment of success in an innovative industry.