Meet Parametrix's COO, Roger Flint.
Roger joined Parametrix in January of this year as Chief Operating Officer. Roger has 30 years of experience in infrastructure development as well as all aspects of public works, transportation, and utility operations. Roger leads regional operational units and is responsible for company-wide programs including project delivery. He is also actively involved in the firm’s business development objectives for growth strategies.
I had the opportunity to interview Roger about his new role at Parametrix as well as ask him a few personal questions. Here’s what I found out:
What did you go to school for and where did you graduate from?
I went to Eastern Washington University and first earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in Business Management. Later on, I earned a master’s degree in public administration since I worked for a municipality.
How did you get into this line of work?
I began my career working in construction to pay for college. Construction was a natural fit for me having grown up on a farm – I was used to working hard and knew how to operate equipment. From there, I moved on to become an Engineering Technician with the City of Spokane. This happened by chance because my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) heard about the opening and that they were pretty much desperate for someone to fill the position. Although I didn’t fit the exact qualifications and experience they were looking for, I got the job. From there, I began working on grant administration and grant writing which led me to a job as a Project Coordinator with the City. This was all still while I was 20 years old and putting myself through college. During that job, I helped to win a $60 million grant for the City and then got to run some of those programs as well.
Soon after, I heard of a job opening with the City to run the landfill and oversee the superfund cleanup and remediation activities as well as help build the new City/County Transfer Stations. I knew nothing about this particular topic but I studied the Remediation Investigation Feasibility Study and the Landfill Closure Plan front to back until I knew everything I could know about the superfund site. During the interview I was asked what qualifies me for this job and I started spouting out facts I had memorized. I thought it went terrible. But, I got the call back offering me the job and telling me that was the best interview they had conducted. I stayed at that job for 7 years while finishing my bachelor’s degree and pursuing my masters. This is also where I met Dwight Miller from Parametrix – funny how things go full circle like that!
By the time I was 30 I became Department Head and then at 34 became Assistant City Manager for Operations and Public Works & Utilities Director. I stayed in that job for 7 years as well but then decided I needed a new challenge since there wasn’t a higher position I could move onto (unless I ran for an elected position and that wasn’t something I wanted to do). I moved on to become a manager at a large engineering firm, working with their water, transportation, and environmental groups during my 11 years there.
While it may seem that I have held a variety of positions, I don’t feel that they are all really that different. There is one similarity they all have – they’re about problem-solving and using common sense to reach practical solutions.
My diverse experience has allowed me to learn a little bit about a lot of things and I really enjoy that.
What does a typical week’s schedule look like for you?
In the time I’ve been at Parametrix, a typical week for me involves visiting two to three offices. Last week I was in Puyallup and Salt Lake City. Yesterday I was in Portland and today I am in Seattle. During all of that travel I have internal meetings and also get to interact with clients.
What is your favorite thing about your job at Parametrix?
My favorite thing so far at Parametrix has been getting to meet and interact with lots of new people. I always find that no matter how different we may seem to be, we are all really alike in so many ways.
Tell me about your family – Are you married? Do you have kids?
My wife’s name is Patricia. We have been married for 29 years and are still best friends. We have two kids, Michael who is 27 and Ashley who is 23. While I travel often, Spokane is home for me because that’s where my family is. I really enjoy working in a variety of locations though.
Roger with his family – son, Michael, wife, Patricia, and daughter, Ashley
What hobbies do you have outside of work?
My wife and I like to travel, go for walks, go to the movies, and surprisingly, I enjoy doing yard work! It gives me a sense of immediate gratification to see the results of my labor, as opposed to much of the work that I do that’s more long-term. It’s also a great way to unwind and get a little exercise and a sense of accomplishment!
Roger and his wife, Patricia, in London last year
What experiences have helped shape your leadership skills?
In my experience, I have observed other leaders and chosen specific things I like about their leadership style to implement myself. However, I don’t believe in directly copying one leader or following one of those “7 Steps to Becoming a Great Leader” guides. They are important to read and understand but I like to choose bits and pieces that work for me and blend them into who I already am as a person.
If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?
It would have been much easier if I would have just gone straight through college without working and having a family at the same time but I wouldn’t change that experience if I could. That experience gave me a jump start on my career and led me to where I am today – this great opportunity at Parametrix.
What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?
I would say be open to a variety of new experiences – you never know where they will take you! Don’t feel that you have to follow a linear path in your career, you may need to make sideways movements or even take a step back at times to experience new things. If you’re not willing to try out those new experiences you might miss something really exciting that could lead you to where you “really” want to be.