A Chat With Dennis Garvey, chief operating officer, U.S. Cavalry
CS: When you came on in 2003, what specifically were you tasked with?
DG: I’m the COO, so the main task I was given was the rebuilding of the organizational structure and the growth of sales. All of the staff departments report to me, and it was a rebuilding from the ground up. We had lost a lot of people, so a lot of the institutional knowledge had gone. And so it was both a process of rebuilding the organizational structure, figuring out what the structure should be going forward, and making purchases of equipment. A lot of our efforts have gone into making computer system enhancements to make us more efficient. We wanted to integrate a lot of our systems, specifically integrating our Internet capability with our ERP system, our retail software into our ERP system, centralizing the purchasing process. It was a lot of fundamental block and tackle type stuff, that becomes so important when you’re trying to rebuild an organization that’s slipped backwards because of its fall into bankruptcy. And then during the bankruptcy period working under such limited resources. First and foremost, I should say the biggest thing was getting the right people here. I’m a firm believer that getting the right people can make almost anything work. If you don’t have the right people, you can have the best systems and the best catalog, but it won’t do anything for you. The biggest task we had ahead of us was building the right team. There’s always more to do. The biggest thing that’s made the difference here is finding the right people.
CS: Getting out of bankruptcy is obviously a difficult thing. How did you get buyin from the folks who were left and the people you brought on board?
DG: They have to sense the potential. From the standpoint of Cavalry’s previous place on the market, and the brand awareness. I think people saw the raw potential in the organization because of what it had achieved in the past, and in the current marketplace what it’s capable of achieving. It comes down to bringing people on who have that belief and who see that the executive ownership and management has the vision of where the company is going. You have to hire people who buy into that. If they don’t, it won’t work from the get go. Recovery is the biggest challenge, certainly less so as we move forward.