Meet Business Athlete: Dan Konieczny
Dan Konieczny is a business athlete with a job more complex than his last name’s spelling. An ardent Buffalo Bills fan in a sea of Twelves and 49ers (depending on which office he’s in), he’s no stranger to conflict resolution, managing expectations, and working with very different people toward common goals, and that’s what he excels at in the workplace. Dan, president of Launch Solutions and Chief Operations Officer, is in charge of delivering client success and satisfaction. Since he’s been knocking it out of the park for the past seven years, we thought we should sit down and find out more about how he’s achieved such great results.
Dan Konieczny: My job is to make sure Launch has the services and capabilities to deliver solutions to our clients and make sure we have the right strategy in place so that the clients are as successful as possible. I put out fires and solve the impossible problems. I’m a coach, but I’m also a player.
Launch: What was the “aha” moment for you? When did you know you wanted to do this?
DK: I kind of fell into the field—I grew up in the “rust belt” and went to a blue collar school. I assumed I’d grow up to work in a factory. But once I found out that systems engineering was problem solving, I was hooked. I’ve always found that the tougher the problem, the more motivated I am. So that’s when I thought I’d do well in this field. As I got into my career, I gravitated toward the biggest problems. I like those because there are no cumbersome policies and processes in place, so you’re free to do whatever it takes to fix them.
Launch: Why did you want to work with Launch?
DK: Nine years ago, when Rick Nelson and John Sercu partnered with Fred Michanie, I could see from Rick’s perspective what they were trying to accomplish. I was at Accenture, in a great, safe, stable job, but I didn’t want to look back in 10 years and think, I could have been a part of this. And don’t tell Sheryl Tullis but I liked the “why” of what they were doing.
Launch: What is your superpower?
DK: Keeping things neat.
Launch: It’s funny that you say that. When I was asking around about you before this interview, I was told that your “x factor,” your “thing,” was OCD.
DK: Yes! Put OCD as my superpower. No, OCQ—obsessive-compulsive quality. I coined that term.
Launch: What is the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
DK: Going from a really large company to a company the size of Direct Technology, I had trouble adjusting the scale at first. On a 250-person project, if one person leaves, it’s an impact, but pretty easy to make up for. But a project with 5 people? If you lose one person, it’s huge—like losing 50 people from that first project. Being able to make up that kind of gap and readjust expectations…that was a challenge.
Launch: What’s the best part of your day?
DK: Walking away from a problem, knowing that it’s solved.
Launch: You seem like the kind of guy who always looks to improve himself. What’s next for you?
DK: I haven’t thought about what’s next. It’s definitely not retirement. I’d say that I’m open for whatever’s next. My focus is about defining it, building it, growing it—always looking to go do the next thing.
Launch: If you had 10k to donate to any charity, which would it be?
DK: Some charity that performs veteran services. My son is at the U.S. Naval Academy, and my father-in-law and grandfather-in-law both served, so that pretty important to me.
Launch: Finally, what do you wish I had asked you?
DK: A 70s TV trivia question.
We may never know if Dan knows the first and last names of all four Sweathogs from Welcome Back, Kotter, but one thing we know for sure: he knows solutions. No matter how difficult a client’s problem is, he and the Launch team will find a way to solve it. By not only being the driving force for solutions and operations, but coaching others to overcome obstacles in the name of client success as well, Dan knows what it means to be a business athlete: everyone around him goes further, faster.
People often ask why we work with who we work with. This is part of a series where we showcase our Business Athletes — employees and partners who make our team strong.