Pop Quiz, Monday with Tomas Keenan

Tomas Keenan

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Tomas Keenan

What is your job role?
As CEO and Co-Founder of Top Class Installations, my role is to…

  1. Set the Vision
  2. Build the Team
  3. Ensure the money keeps coming in

Tell us about your company?
Top Class Installations was founded in September of 2009 by myself and my business partner, Jimmy Gavalas. We specialize in the installation of GPS Tracking and Dash camera systems in commercial vehicles.

What do you love most about your job?
What I love most about my job is the ability to go out into the marketplace and positively impact people and their businesses. At Top Class Installations we bring businesses efficiency to life by installing the products sold by our vendors. We increase the safety and productivity of drivers and their vehicles. In my opinion, this is a snowball effect. We help one company better their operations and that ultimately snowballs down to their customers, their employees and most importantly, their families.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
My family! Everything I do is done with intent and is used to set the prime example to my children. A mentor once told me to do everything in life as if my grandchildren were watching.

I want my children to see that I work on myself daily to become the best version of me possible.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My co-workers inspire me when they show growth in their personal development. We’ve taken in a few employees who were at first rough around the edges. Through continual training, mentorship, and coaching we have seen these folks begin to prosper both professionally and personally. Not only have they become caring and reliable experts at their craft, but they also become an incredible resource for those newer employees who follow in their footsteps. Watching this unfold over time makes me want to impact more lives on a daily basis.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
This is actually very challenging for Top Class Installations as we are a 100% remotely based team. However, we meet in person quarterly and always find time to break bread and playfully poke fun at each other. During the summer months, we hold an annual company barbecue and spend the day interacting as friends and family rather than co-workers and colleagues. On more of a personal level, I find it important to get out from behind the desk. I sometimes go for a drive or head down to the water and take a few moments to take in the scenery. This helps inspire and re-invigorate the drive to continually better myself, my business, and most importantly… my team.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
The biggest challenge we face is hiring skilled technicians. There are several out there, but we find it hard to find techs that fit our company values.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
A lesson learned from a past project is to keep you hiring pipeline full at all times. You never know when you will need to ramp up the team size quickly to complete a project within a tight deadline.

About 2 years ago we completed a project for the New York City Board of Education. We installed GPS tracking systems in approximately 6000 school buses. Since our hiring pipeline was not full at the onset of this project, it forced us to hire subcontractors at an extremely high data rate per technician. Although the project was completed on time and within budget, this negatively affected our overall profitability. Had we the resources in place prior, we would have had a much larger pool of talent and resources to choose from that ultimately would have cost us less money.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
Get clear on your core values ASAP! Without the necessary clarity and direction provided by your core values, you have nothing to gauge opportunities that appear to see if they truly align with your purpose and mission.

Many years of hard work were wasted at Top Class because we lacked this clarity. It may seem like a big waste of time at first, but without them, you are just a big ship floating around the ocean which is at the mercy of the sea. You need to set a course and stick to it. Core values will help you stay on that course.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:


Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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