All-Star Case Studies

Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars

US Tower Services

Company Background

U.S. Tower Services helps wireless phone providers like T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, U.S. cellular and Verizon build, maintain, and upgrade their communication towers. After starting out in St. Louis in 2002, U.S. Tower has expanded across the country and now has offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Missoula, Montana – the hometown of the company’s founder, Chad Berg.

Business Challenges

As the business has grown, so too, have the challenges in managing a distributed work-force that operates around the clock in different time zones. The tower installation and upgrade business is also risky work—it has surpassed crab fishing as the most dangerous job in America. That means safety is also at a premium.

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Enercon Services, Inc.

Company Background

Founded in 1983 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Enercon Services, Inc. (ENERCON) has grown to be one of the largest firms providing environmental and engineering services in the nation. A 100% employee-owned company, ENERCON earned more than $220 million in revenue for 2012. The company has four divisions – Environmental Services, Power Generation, New Plant Services, and Federal Services – and operates out of 25 offices nationwide, plus international offices in Belgium and Abu Dhabi. Clients include: federal, state and local governments, most major electric utilities, chemical and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, oil and natural gas companies, and many Fortune 500 companies.

Business Challenges

ENERCON is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013 – and almost 20 years since it officially opened its books as part of a Great Game of Business initiative in the early 90’s. As the business has contin-ued to thrive during that time, it has grown rapidly – especially in terms of its payroll, which expand-ed from about 193 people in 1992 to more than 1,200 full and part-time associates today. The chal-lenge, the firm realized, was that there were only a handful of people who remembered why the company had opened its books in the first place and why it was so important to reconnect with those roots. “We wanted to refresh the mindset of what it means to think and act like an owner of this company,” says ENERCON president John Richardson.

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Integrity Technology Solutions

Company Background

The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser first read the book, “The Great Game of Business” back in 1999, after which he picked a few concepts to implement like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after few successful years, those practices fell by the wayside. When the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history during the first quarter of 2009, Geiser was ready for a change. After meeting with GGOB practitioner Jack O’Riley, Geiser decided it was time to revisit GGOB once again.

Business Challenges

The truth is that Integrity founder Harlan Geiser had first come across the GGOB back in 1999, from which he cherry-picked a few concepts like sharing revenues and handing out year-end bonuses. But after a few years, as the company continued to blossom, even those practices fell by the wayside. Then the recession hit and the company lost money for the first time in its history in the first quarter of 2009. That‟s when, thanks to a chance meeting GGOB practitioner named Jack O‟Riley, Geiser decided to revisit the GGOB once again.

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Skeleton Key

Company Background

Skeleton Key is a technology consulting and custom software development firm based in St. Louis, MO, with additional satellite offices in Columbia, Joplin and Nixa, MO. Founded in 2004 by Mark Richman and Oliver Block, the company embraced the idea of financial transparency early on. But it wasn't until 2009, when they began implementing other elements of The Great Game of Business such as identifying critical numbers and creating accurate forecasting through the High Involvement Planning process, that the company became financially sustainable.

Business Challenges

When Richman and Block opened their business and hired their first employees, they of-fered to share the company financials with anyone who was interested. “No one ever took us up on the offer,” says Block. “But the truth was we weren’t financially literate ourselves.” Compounding the problem was that the more the company tried to expand, the more money it seemed to lose. The business had become stagnant. Not only had Richman and Block taken close to 100% pay cuts to make ends meet, the morale of their associates was at near rock-bottom.

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Dorian Drake International

Company Background

Dorian Drake International is an export management company that helps U.S. manufacturers in four product categories - automotive, food service, industrial and hardware – developing their international sales, distribution and in the building their brand. The company was originally founded as Dorian International in 1980 by Ed Dorian Sr. and later changed its name in 1996 based on the integration of British-owned Drake International – a company five-times its size – which is acquired in 1985. “It was like a minnow swallowing a whale,” says Ed Dorian Jr., the company’s CEO who joined his father at the company full-time in 1983. The company is celebrating its 10th year of playing The Great Game of Business in 2012.

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