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posted: 4/10/2017 1:00 AM

'Without question we are in the race of our lives for talent'

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Q: Describe your company.

A: Sikich is a leading professional services firm that provides solutions to our clients' most complex business needs and challenges. We provide those solutions with a very dynamic and diverse workforce comprised of many of the sharpest minds in the industry. We are redefining the industry.

Q: You recently took over this role. What is one of your goals?

A: We have embraced the term "20 by 20," which simply means we aim to become the 20th largest professional services firm by the year 2020.

We will achieve that goal by continuing to provide a great place to work for our employees and by remaining committed to delivering innovative solutions for our clients.

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: Without question we are in the race of our lives for talent. Our people are not only our greatest asset, they are our only asset.

Without great people, we will be only a mediocre company.

From a branding perspective, we are redefining how the public perceives us. It is important that the public sees us for who we are -- a broad-based professional services firm -- and understands the many ways we can help them.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: Right now our industry is fraught with consolidation brought on by the aging demographic of firms' leaders. The other major trend is that many firms are making attempts at providing services other than traditional accounting services. That pathway is one Sikich embarked upon back in the late 1990s.

Q: What did you do before taking over as CEO?

A: Before taking over as CEO, I was the partner in charge of the firm's advisory services and investment banking practice.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: Embrace change and learn to adapt -- it's inevitable in business that you will need to do both well. It's true for both individuals and organizations.

Q: From a business outlook, who do you look up to?

A: I look up to Jeff Bezos. He was a pioneer in the bold new world of internet commerce at a time when e-commerce didn't exist.

The passion he brings to his work is evident in how Amazon is changing our lives.

Many people probably don't know that Bezos is responsible for the concept of predictive analytics. At Sikich, we are similarly always trying to anticipate our clients' needs -- it's very interesting stuff.

One thing I remember Bezos saying once was you earn your reputation by trying to do hard things well. That has always stuck with me.

Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?

A: Sikich can trace its roots back to 1928 when it was first an accounting firm. Today we are a professional services firm offering more than 30 different services.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I enjoy spending time with family, sports and fitness, hunting and reading.

Q: What book is on your nightstand?

A: "Ghost Wars" by Steve Coll.

Q: What keeps you up at night? A: Thoughts about all the things I want to get accomplished the next day. Are we doing everything we can do to be our best?

Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?

A: I would most likely be in public service somewhere.

Q: What was your first paying job?

A: Roguing rye and bucking hay bales. My first job out of college was in law enforcement.

Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?

A: Wrigley Field.

-- Kim Mikus