Portland and Northwest Compensation Expert
Columbia Compensation Consulting Inc. is a full-service compensation consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon. I am the founder and primary consultant, Jim Harvey.
I’ve worked in a lot of industries for a lot of people over my career, starting back in 1982 out of Arizona State University. When I graduated and started looking for a job in my chosen specialty of Finance, it didn’t take long for me to ask myself what else could I do besides crunch numbers? Thirty-five years later I have to say that this has been a great choice.
I can look back over my career and identify a handful of best moves I made or breaks I got, and going into HR was one of them. I didn’t realize it then, but I was a comp geek.
During that time, I almost went into consulting; I had a offer from Hay Associates to join their firm in Walnut Creek. But I had designs on a certain redhead (another best move I must say!) so stayed in Arizona.
I moved over the transom during those 10 years to become the VP of Human Resources for our for-profit businesses which included a collection agency, a commercial laundry operation, a medical electronics repair company, a print shop and a multi-state nursing home chain (coldest place on earth, Sioux Falls, South Dakota in January!). But I found that I was still really most drawn to the compensation work, so left that opportunity to lead compensation and HR records for a utility, where I got my first real taste of what ‘change management’ was and the responsibilities we had for helping to lead others in organizational change through incentives, rewards and linkages to business strategies.
I even got to lead the change in the job evaluation approach, with a fabulous team of leaders and staff. We also put in a gain-sharing plan, got union buy-in and had fabulous success helping the company make a business turn-around. One of the best things I did for myself at the utility was to read the book Control Your Own Destiny or Someone Else Will, by Tichy and Sherman. It’s Jack Welch’s #1 rule of business and it gave me a new outlook on my career. The theme of that book has always stayed with me, especially as I’ve made career moves.
Even so, when I was recruited to join Honeywell it was with mild trepidation since the job was not in the HR function, but in sales. But the role was so interesting and I knew I would learn a lot so I accepted. It was a fantastic learning experience as I worked with the global sales organization to change the go-to-market model, form selling teams and tie them together with their first-ever sales incentive plan. I probably learned more about business in those three years than the past 10 combined.
Since working for Honeywell, I’ve led Compensation, Compensation and Benefits or Global Rewards functions for Tektronix, Radisys, Motorola Semiconductor and Cisco Systems. I had my own consulting business prior to taking the initial role in sales compensation for Cisco in 2005, but they kept me so busy that when they asked me to come on board full-time it made a lot of sense. I still felt the call towards consulting though, so made the move in 2013, keeping in mind that it would need to be an opportunity to control my own destiny.
I am so pleased and excited now after some reflection on next steps to be able to take my learning’s over the years and bring them to bear more broadly to help others achieve their business and HR objectives. My company, Columbia Compensation Consulting Inc. is just four years old now, but backed by over 35 years experience. I have clients in Seattle, Kent, Vancouver, Portland, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Salem, Eugene, San Jose, and Los Angeles. I look forward to helping you soon.