Mark Thompson joined Aileron in August of 2013 as a Business Advisor with the purpose of assisting presidents and owners who are committed to establishing stronger professional management processes within their organizations. Mark’s fourteen years as a CEO of a mid-sized professional services firm prepared him for the opportunity to guide clients through the strategic planning process and their organizational development, as well as other operational areas of leading a company. In addition, Mark has served on a number of boards for privately held companies.
Mark began his career as a structural engineer. He joined the consulting firm of Lockwood, Jones and Beals (LJB) early in his career. At age twenty-nine, Mark opened a satellite office in Cincinnati which was a new market for the firm, and a start-up experience for Mark. He developed new clients for the firm which included AK Steel, Ford, GE Aviation, General Mills, Miller Brewing, and Procter & Gamble. The office grew to $1.7 million in annual revenue.
After eleven years of building LJB’s Cincinnati office, the firm brought Mark to Dayton to serve as its president. He grew the firm’s profit by 76% from its previous most profitable year, and led the firm through the most profitable sequence of years in the firm’s history. During this time, Mark launched LJB University which is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training (IACET) to award Continuing Education Units (CEUs). LJB University focuses on the development of staff skills and reinforcement of the firm’s culture while also offering training to LJB clients.
Mark first engaged Aileron in 2006 when he attended an Aileron course on business planning. Mark was convinced to install a board of advisors which was launched early in 2007. In 2008, Mark again engaged Aileron to guide him through Aileron’s approach to strategic planning. This plan called for a much more focused LJB. The firm was subsequently reorganized from twelve departments into three divisions, and then installed a formal board based upon the Aileron model. Role profiles were developed for each role in the new organizational structure.
This work with Aileron led to an annual planning process which includes a firm-wide strategic plan and specific business plans for each division. Additionally, the firm instituted the practice of individual SMART Goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) as well as individual development plans for all staff. The SMART Goals are devolved directly from the business plans, and achievement of the business plans leads to achieving the strategic plan. This work enabled LJB to significantly grow revenue per employee during the “Great Recession” while correspondingly growing the net worth of the firm to the highest level in the firm’s history.
The work with Aileron and LJB’s board subsequently led to the development of Project Management as a center of excellence with a standard of LJB PMs obtaining Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Additionally, the firm instituted quality management practices through continuous improvement meetings and value stream mapping of services, formalized sales management and sales training including simulations, and instituted a formal Leadership Development Program which Mark co-facilitated.
The work with Aileron and LJB’s board reinforced the significance of a strong culture. During Mark’s leadership, the firm received the 2008 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, and the Dayton Daily News Top Workplaces Award in 2012 and 2013.
Mark’s passion and deep respect for the journey of the business owner has led him to devote a significant amount of his time to regional economic development efforts. Mark served as Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2008 – 2009 for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Mark was Chair of the Board of the Dayton Development Coalition from 2013 to 2015. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Structural Engineering from the University of Cincinnati as well as a Master of Business Administration from Miami University.