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On the Job with Jim Deal

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

"On the Job with ..." is a weekly Sunday Inc. series, spotlighting area business owners and executives. Today's interview is with Jim Deal, president of Albany and Columbus Communications Inc.

Q. If you were a young adult fresh out of college, what would you do first in searching for a job?

A. I would prepare an interesting resume, and make sure that my appearance was professional.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first paycheck?

A. I spent my first money, that I earned cutting grass, on marbles and baseball trading cards.

Q. What's the single most effective technique you found during the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Communication is the key to success in any relationship. Compliment a job well done and use constructive criticism when necessary.

Q. What was your first job?

A. Other than mowing yards, at 15 I started working at Piggly Wiggly as a bag boy for $1.26 per hour. I thought I was wealthy.

Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?

A. After college I started working with Motorola selling two way radios and that led to me buying the Motorola dealership in Albany and Columbus. I wanted to own my own business so that I would have more control of my future; the buck stops with me.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. My role models were my grandparents. He taught me the value of hard work and she taught me to have compassion for my fellow man. They both taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I named my son Patrick in memory of them.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. The recent recession taught me to stay out of debt.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology - examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. - what would you most like to see go away?

A. Automated phone systems are painful to me. They are very impersonal and provide zero customer satisfaction.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. I really like my Motorola Droid. It allows me to stay in touch while I am traveling.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. "The Mulligan" by Ken Blanchard. It is a book about golf, but more about forgiveness and second chances. I read the Upper Room and Guideposts for daily inspiration.

Q. I'm up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I am up by 6:15. I have breakfast, read The Albany Herald and leave for the office by 7. I like to be the first one at the office. It helps get my day off to a peaceful start.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. I enjoy bike riding, running, playing tennis and I am trying to learn to play golf, which is both fun and frustrating.

Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?

A. I invested in a start-up Internet company. I lost my investment, but learned a valuable lesson.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. I am a people person, so the best part of my job is my employees and my customers.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. The worse part is too much paperwork.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Most beneficial course was typing. I use it every day with the computer.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. I would like to teach History in either high school or college. I think that a teacher can have a very positive impact on a student, perhaps even changing his or her life's direction.

Q. Finish this thought; "On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself ...

A. I see myself as a community and church volunteer, traveling with my wife, and spending more time with my grandchildren.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. Actually three traits -- character, integrity and commitment.

Q. Crystal ball time: What's your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?

A. I think that we will see improvement in our economy later this year and hopefully full recovery in 2012.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?

A. Oldie goldies,'70s and '80s music.

Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?

A. I pray that we will become a more positive community because that is essential for growth and prosperity. Our political and community leaders need to set a good example.

Q. What was the best vacation you've ever taken? Why?

A. We took a wonderful family trip to Italy in 2006. It was the perfect family bonding time.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. The biggest change in my business is the instant demand for information. With the Internet and faxes, our customer's expectations have increased significantly.