BTU #59 - Dr. Patrick Leddin: Army to starting (and 11 years later selling) his own consulting company


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“It was literally something that we started over our garage, and over the course of a few years grew to a few different offices.  It was one of those situations where it became - to some degree - all consuming. My wife and I have two children and it was a situation where we always felt like we had this third child - our business, Wedgewood Group. And it probably came to every dinner conversation and every car ride and Wedgewood was just there. I think the point where I realized, 'Oh my gosh, this thing is really real' is when our payroll hit $100k every two weeks, I realized, 'what did I get myself into!'"– Patrick Leddin, Ph.D.

Dr. Patrick Leddin is a Professor at Vanderbilt University’s Managerial Studies Program, where he teaches both Corporate Strategy and Principles of Marketing. He started out in the Army, where he served for over six years with the 82nd Airborne Division as a Platoon Leader, Staff Officer, and Company Commander. After transitioning from the Army, he worked as a Senior Consultant at KPMG. He then started his own consulting firm, the Wedgewood Consulting Group, and served as Managing Director. In 2011 Inc Magazine named Wedgwood one of the fastest growing private companies in America, and they were acquired in 2012. Patrick holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Kentucky, and has also worked as a Director & Senior Consultant at Franklin Covey for nearly 16 years.

The top four reasons to listen to todays show are:

  1. Growing company - after 2 years in consulting at KPMG, Patrick left to start his own consulting firm. 10 years later, Inc Magazine recognized them as one of the fastest growing companies in America, and they were acquired one year later. Patrick shares the details of this exhilarating ride.
  2. Marriage - Patrick started his consulting company with his wife, and has advice and thoughts about starting a company with your significant other.
  3. Puzzle - In looking at Patricks career and life he’s done a really effective job of integrating his professional life in a way in which there is diversity in a way that adds more fulfillment to his life. He currently is a professor at Vanderbilt, consults with franklin Covery, and is an author. I find him a fantastic role model for building fulfillment into ones professional life
  4. Life’s Circle - At the very end Patrick talks about evaluating all the components of your life as a circle and evaluating how you’re performing in each area. And he talks about the incremental effort in making them better. It’s some of the best advice I’ve had on the show

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Show Notes

  • 2:11 - Patrick's background
  • 3:03 - Patricks decision to leave the Army and how he approached that decision
  • 5:05 - Patricks' first job search out of the Army, and how he first landed at KPMG
  • 9:25 - How, after two years at KPMG, Patrick decided to start his own consulting company
  • 11:45 - How Patrick would advise another veteran to start their own consulting firm today
  • 15:58 - What it was like to found and grow his own consulting firm, and a look at the day-to-day operations
  • 17:41 - Advice to veterans who might be considering starting a company with a significant other
  • 21:43 - The moment in Patrick's eleven year journey when things started to become easier
  • 24:32 - The worst moment in Patrick's entrepreneurial journey
  • 27:12 - What it was like to go through an acquisition process, and advice to other veterans going through a similar process
  • 31:55 - What it was like to pursue a Ph.D. while running a company
  • 34:04 - An overview of Patrick's work teaching at Vanderbilt
  • 35:15 - How Patrick has constructed a life that energizes him in multiple ways
  • 38:37 - The habits Patrick developed in the military that helped him be successful, and the habits he needed to break to succeed as a civilian
  • 44:04 - Advice to veterans who want to enter academia, and the trade-offs between going to industry first or entering directly into academia.
  • 46:24 - Books and resources that Patrick would recommend to veterans
  • 48:15 - Final words of wisdom