Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Where do you live now?
CL: McFarland, WI
Didn't you start at Epic a little later than straight out of school?
CL: Yeah, after growing up in Wisconsin Rapids, I spent the next 10 years in Minneapolis where I did my undergraduate work and later completed a full-time MBA at the Carlson School of Management at the U of M. (During that period, I also spent a few years out in San Diego where I learned how to surf poorly and got made fun of for my midwestern accent.) So, when I started at Epic I was in my late 20s which officially made me an old man. After becoming a Team Leader and two years as an AC/AM doing ASAP installs, I moved into implementation leadership roles for the next couple years.
What are your hobbies?
CL: Fishing. I love to fish for a variety of species, but walleye and muskie are my most common targets. I actually remember doing my interview presentation at Epic about walleye fishing techniques. In hindsight, I gave some pretty bad advice in that presentation. Oops.
I also love to play basketball, golf, and most importantly: spend time with my family, before my kids get to the inevitable age where they don't think I'm cool anymore.
What are some of the things you're most proud of from your time at Epic?
CL: There are a lot. In general, I'm very proud to have worked at Epic at all. I still believe Epic to be one of the best companies in the world. Their commitment to quality and customer happiness, work ethic, and culture should be a model for companies everywhere. Is it perfect? No. But it's still a pretty great place to work and it gave me opportunities that I'm forever thankful for.
Personally, I'm also proud to have found success among so many smart and driven people. I always took pride in that. It's very satisfying to work with so many good people, especially when the time comes that you realize you're not an imposter and you actually belong there.
What was it that made you realize that it was time to venture beyond Epic?
CL: My stock answer is that I left Epic when my wife, Vicki, and I were expecting our first child. And that's accurate – being on the road frequently wasn't going to be an option for me with a baby. But beyond just that, I started to feel that there was more for me to do in the Healthcare IT field. I got an amazing education at Epic, and really wanted to explore what else was out there in the industry.
What have you been up to since leaving, and what are you most proud of in the time since?
CL: I spent around 7 years in the Epic consulting space, first as a PM, then leading the Sales function for Vonlay. (Later acquired by Huron, where I spent 3 years as a Senior Director & Managing Director.) It feels crazy to gloss over that phase of my life in just one sentence – it was an amazing experience for me where I learned a lot about a lot of things. Business, Healthcare, Consulting, Mergers/Acquisitions, and much more. Such a fun experience to help a company grow and develop over time.
My past couple of years have been spent as one of the leaders of a Madison-based talent acquisition firm – Carex Consulting Group. Carex is a provider of permanent and contract staff for companies of all shapes and sizes. We think of ourselves as a Talent Matchmaker – we help great people find great jobs.
As of right now, we have nearly 70 client partners who have engaged us to help them find great employees. These partners range from start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations and cover a variety of industries. And, we have a network of 1000+ jobseekers/candidates (many of whom are former-Epic staff). We work closely with our candidates to translate their skills and experiences into new roles/careers. For many of our candidates, this might be their 2nd job or first time consulting and we do a lot to help them get ready for interviews and feel confident about the new role. We fill positions in all types of areas, though Project Management and Technology are our sweet spots.
I'm proud of everything we accomplished at Carex and Vonlay for one main reason: it's really easy to see how what we do is directly helping people. I'm a believer that finding a mission in your work, and seeing that mission play out, is critical to personal satisfaction and longevity in a company. Helping this many people find jobs and contracts has scratched that itch for me – it's just so fun to help people with such important decisions and life changes.
What do you wish you had known before striking out for post-Epic life?
CL: I've never been a big fan of looking back at things in this way. I wouldn't change much of anything. The path I took and the mistakes I made have been very formative for me. I can see how specific failures or actions led to how I handled future challenges. I feel incredibly lucky to have the experiences I've had, and I know that if I had tried to "shortcut" that learning process, I probably would have been short-changing myself and my own potential for success.
Maybe that's my answer: I wish I knew to keep my eyes and ears open a little better in order to learn more from everyone I meet. I'm going to start that riiiiight.... now.
What's next for you?
CL: We have a lot of work left to do at Carex. We have grown so fast over the past couple years, and we have big plans for the future. Our medium-term goal is to be the "go-to" place for all jobseekers in Madison and Milwaukee, as well as for all the companies looking to hire the best people out there. The long-term goal is to take that reputation and competency to other cities. I plan on spending the coming years focusing on that, and continuing to help people find their "next thing."
Father, Angler, Optimist... Plenty of success and you're still one of the all around nicest guys, Casey. We're excited to watch you help Carex help so many others, and here's hoping your kids think you're cool for many years, yet!