Liam Downey

Occupation: President, The Redstone Group Inc.

First Car: A badly rusted 1973 Mini that lasted 2 weeks before the engine blew

Favorite Restaurant: Chicago Chop House, Downtown Chicago

What are three things most people don't know about you?

a). I’m a Motorsport fanatic, especially Formula 1
b). My first job was selling steam valves and bearings
c). I was married at 19, and still am happily married 25 years later

What's the best memory from your youth?

Picking potatoes on a long October evening in Ireland with all the other kids from the village. Simple living, no worries, and laughing all of the time.

If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?

I would love to be able to spend time with Richard Branson. An amazingly successful man, yet very normal, human, and caring. He has challenged the norm, and the once untouchable institutions, and has succeeded in almost everything he has done. He epitomizes my vision of a business leader, who has the right balance between life, money and caring for the world.

What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?

Difficult to answer this question! I’ve had many challenges in my life, but I’ve always seemed to be able to succeed (so far!).

What's your favorite hobby?

I love motorsport. Racing cars for fun. Riding fast motorcycles, or jaunting down PCH in my little Shelby Cobra

What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?

Currenty reading The Broker by John Grisham. Not very good, I’m convinced he did not write it himself. Not a patch on his other work.

My favorite book (which may sound wimpish for a guy) is Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes of San Francisco. True story of her purchase of a villa in Tuscany, Italy and how to live life in Italy. My retirement plan of record!

Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?

Lots of things and places of I ever get the time. If I have to pick one, it would be the great pyramids in Egypt.

If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?

My answer is a little biased, as I am a member of a new non profit organization called BuildAfricanSchools.org. Our charter is to build schools for the Maasai people of Kenya to enable them to make more informed choices, and better their future in their own way, for their own benefit, by educating their children. $10000 will build a 3 classroom school in Kenya. Check it out http://www.buildafricanschools.org

If you weren't on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?

At this point in my life I think I would be in either city politics, or community programs. Could also be in coaching and education.

What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?

Started out at Apple Computer in Ireland in 1981 (literally) at the back door. Worked my way through Logistics and Manufacturing, ending up in New Product Introduction Project Management. Moved to The Netherlands in 1991 to start up a European Operations center, and then became a Project manager for the Apple SAP implementation in Europe. Was recruited (by Terry!) into Deloitte Consulting San Francisco in 1997 as a Senior project manager. Left in 2002 and started my own boutique consulting practice in Silicon Valley, CA, and have not looked back since.

What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?

Your ultimate success will be based on 4 main factors, customer satisfaction, good relationships, solid ethics and trust. Stick to your morals, respect your customer, never ever break the trust of your client or colleagues, and always focus on providing 120% satisfaction. Your reputation will supersede you wherever you go, so protect it like there is no tomorrow. The consulting world is primarily populated with quality, trustworthy and hardworking people, but it also has a untrustworthy, greedy, and unethical element. Make sure you stay on the right side of the table.