Joe Harris Morgan III is a vascular surgeon and president of Albany Vascular Specialist Center LLC.
“On the Job With ...” is a weekly feature of Sunday Inc. Today’s session is with vascular surgeon Joe Harris Morgan, M.D. He shared his answers with Danny Carter.
Q. What was your first job?
A. My very first job was working on my father’s pig farm. I did a little bit of everything from cleaning the stalls to feeding the pigs. As I got older I moved up the ladder and worked in my dad’s drug store.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first paycheck?
A. I really don’t remember getting paid. I believe my reimbursement was living in my parents’ home.
Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. I do believe in an open door policy and I want my employees to feel comfortable when talking to me. We are a family “away from family” and every member of our team plays an important role in caring for our patients.
Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?
A. I originally wanted to play college football and become a coach, but a knee injury in high school forced me to pursue a different route. Now, I can’t imagine my doing anything else other than being a vascular surgeon.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. My high school football coach, Coach Graham Low, and Dr. Robert Shiver. And, of course, my dad.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you, as a business leader, learned from the recent recession?
A. It’s always important to keep your eye on the ball. Controlling expenses and doing more with less is very important in today’s business environment.
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. Technology has taken great strides to make us a microwave society. Everything is quicker and faster, but I do see the need for us to go back to basics. But to answer your question, I wish my pager could go away for a few days.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. I really enjoy my iPhone.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. Well, I have to be honest. Our family loves to shoot fireworks on Christmas Day.
Q. What was the last book you read?
A. “Men at Work” by Will Rogers.
Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?
A. I rise at 5 a.m. and at the office by 7. I have a cup of coffee and attend to paperwork then begin seeing my patients.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?
A. I live with a famous person — my wife, Mary Helen Morgan.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. I personally love baseball, but love participating in any sports-related event with my children. Do know though that I am an avid Georgia Bulldog fan.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. I shouldn’t have invested in the ethanol plant and I shouldn’t have sold my Apple stock in 1992.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. I love having the opportunity to help people.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. My job is 24/7, therefore, the hours can interfere with family time.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. Typing and pharmacology.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Probably being a football coach, or a baseball coach.
Q. Finish this thought: “On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself …
A. Honestly, I don’t think of retirement.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. A strong leader must have integrity. Integrity cannot be bought. It must be earned.
Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. I do not foresee an immediate turnaround. My best guess would be 10 plus years before our country will see a better day.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. Personally, I like country music, but you’ll also find a variety of music that my kids like to hear.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. The return on industry and the upswing in our economy.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. My wife and I went to the Bahamas when I completed my residency. It was like a second honeymoon.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business during the past few years?
A. The movement from inpatient to outpatient surgery has proved beneficial and cost saving for the patient and the insurance companies.