A Chat With Dennis Garvey, chief operating officer, U.S. Cavalry
CS: What kind of growth have you seen since 2003?
DG: I split that into two separate categories. We’ve had some significant growth through some large contract business we’ve been able to obtain. But I try not to count that into normal growth, simply because it’s hard to repeat. You can’t plan on it. We treat those large opportunities as gravy. If we win those, great, but we don’t live or die by it. When I look at the core business, we’ve grown on average, 30 to 35 percent per year.
CS: What has been your biggest career challenge, and how did you deal with it?
DG: Coming to U.S. Cavalry has been the biggest career challenge, and also the most fulfilling. I spent most of my previous time after I got out of the service for a large corporation, and I had a lot to learn when I came to this small company where your actions are much more trackable to a bottom line. It’s a reality check. You are certainly accountable for your actions at a big company, but there’s so much structure around you that the impact of your actions often are muted by the size of the organization. That can be a positive as well as a negative. If you do something wrong, the company won’t go down the tubes because of one person’s mistake, but likewise, your ability to have a positive impact on the company and industry as a whole is a lot less as well. Coming to Cavalry, and rebuilding from bankruptcy probably the biggest challenge I had.
CS: When did you serve?
DG: I was in the Marine Corps from 1984 to 1993.
CS: How has your military background influenced the way you do business?
DG: In many ways, it was my military experience combined with my distribution background that made me ideal for this position. Military personnel are our primary customer groups. To be able to understand what the customer is looking for and how they think and what their interests are is critical in any organization. It always helps to have that first hand experience with what your customers are looking for. It brings a certain amount of credibility to my position and has been very helpful here.