Jeff Robinson, managing partner-Wisconsin offices, Grant Thornton LLP

Jeff Robinson

Managing partner-Wisconsin offices

Grant Thornton LLP

100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 2100, Milwaukee

Industry: Accounting and consulting services

Number of employees: 110 in Milwaukee; 6,000 across the United States

Family: Wife, Beverly; three children and four grandchildren

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“Like all businesses, it’s important to revisit the long-term strategy and take any mid-course actions to ensure we meet our goals. We have reviewed ours and, among other things, continue to focus on driving organic growth across our service lines and expanding our talent and capabilities. We’ve made investments to better serve our clients through in-depth capabilities in our chosen markets across our key industries. We also remain committed to investing in training and development with an eye toward delivering quality services.”

What’s new at your company?

“While the availability of our business consulting services in Wisconsin is not new, we have extended the variety of services, including through the firm’s recent acquisition of MarketSphere’s Oracle Solutions business unit.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We routinely hire additional new staff as we continue to grow our business.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Continued access to top talent is always a challenge for our profession. While we have a vibrant campus recruiting effort, finding qualified, experienced people is a must for us to provide our clients with distinctive client service.”

What role does philanthropy play in your company?

“Our firm supports a number of organizations and causes that are important to our communities by contributing our time, talent and money. In addition to an office-wide day of service that we do every year, we encourage all of our employees to get involved on their own and even have a code in our time management system for philanthropic initiatives. In Wisconsin, we support organizations in the arts, education and social services. This past year, those included, among others, Habitat for Humanity, Second Harvest in Madison, Milwaukee Public Schools, the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, and Junior Achievement.”

What sets Milwaukee apart from other markets you’ve worked in throughout your career?

“Milwaukee is a very business-friendly city. The people are engaged, well connected and focused on the wellbeing of the community. Community participation is strong here, and it develops deep and loyal relationships. In other markets where I’ve worked, the workforce is more transient, which often results in networks and connections that are not as resilient as what we have here.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“‘Quality is at the heart of everything we do. It’s not an act, it’s a habit.’ We place this atop all of our work with our clients, our people and our community.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“There are a lot of people to look up to, including the many mentors I’ve had throughout my career; however, my father, who recently passed, stands out to me as a true entrepreneur who was never afraid of hard work and taking appropriate risks. My father and each of my mentors taught me things that were important. Ultimately, all of them taught me the recipe for success includes quality, thoughtfulness and persistence.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“This is a tough question. I’ve received so much good advice during the years. However, staying true to your core values is critical. Deviations from them can be a slippery slope and should be avoided at all costs. Mine include honesty, integrity, loyalty, empathy and reliability. Also throwing in some humor along the way always helps.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Spending time with family and friends is always important. My wife, Bev, and I have three children and four grandchildren and large extended families. So we always make them a priority. I often try to incorporate my love of fishing, golfing, whiffle ball and traveling into family activities. In addition, I enjoy watching the sports I used to play in my younger days — all four of the majors: basketball, baseball, hockey and football. It’s tough to fit it all in, but if I can quote one of my very best friends, ‘It’s what we do!’ And I love it all.”

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