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TOP 100 2014: Game Talk

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CPBJ asked top executives from around the midstate: What's your favorite classic board game or card game? How does it apply to your business?

John Hickey

president of Sutliff Chevrolet, part of Dauphin County-based Sutliff Auto Group

I like Scrabble because I like words, there is luck involved but also strategy.

We have to play with the tiles we have drawn -- we sell a certain brand, which serves a certain part of the market. So, too, we attract a certain type of person to work in a fast-paced but very time-consuming environment. We have to maximize our score using those assets. Also like Scrabble, we have to take advantage of opportunities handed to us by the board (market) and our competitors. You cannot win unless you can figure out how to play the terrain and adjust to what those around you are doing (both competitors and customers).

Ryan Hoffman

co-vice president and marketing director of Hoffman Ford

The hours of being a business owner really do not allow a lot of time to play board or card games, but the childhood version of myself always loved Chutes and Ladders. This game had little to do with strategy or wit and mostly was left up to chance by rolling the dice and then moving one’s game piece from the starting square at the bottom of the board game to the finish square at the top of the board, helped or hindered by the ladders and chutes respectively which made it easy for anyone to come out as the winner and ensured that there were no short cuts to becoming the winner.

The automobile business has its ups and downs and no one ever knows when it could take a few steps backwards or a few steps forward. (Examples are vehicle awards, unexpected increase in vehicle sales by model, recalls like GM is currently facing, economic downturn, etc.)

Taking chances by “rolling the dice” when you decide to change something to help the customer have a greater experience or changing up your business plan and hope that it pays off in the long run and gets you to the finish line first.

Many players in the game -- competition is everywhere -- and all are looking to achieve the same success, but you learn that there is really no shortcut up the ladder to success.

Have to prepare yourself for the next move -- even though that next move is unknown until it happens. And if one move pays off greatly, your next third or fourth move could put you right back to where you started at move one.

Long ladders vs. short ladders vs. long chutes vs. short chutes -- Not every move has the same outcome. Some better than others and not every downturn is the same. Some are worse than others.

The goal of the game is to reach the finish line at the top no matter how many good moves or bad moves occur. This is just like our goal of the dealership, to satisfy our customers 100 percent no matter what the situation may be.

Laura Inthavongsa

commercial energy consultant at Worley & Obetz Inc.

I would have to say my favorite board game is Scrabble. Scrabble allows me to challenge myself by not only strengthening my strategic agility, but also provides me with the knowledge to acquire the anticipation of what your opponent will do next. You can then build upon those achievements. This resembles the importance of teamwork and that we all have a common goal in mind. Even today, Scrabble is utilized in school programs to help strengthen the skills of the next generation. Educators and parents have found that this program has positively impacted children by strengthening their time management, strategic thinking, and teamwork, social, verbal and math skills as well as increase their attention span.

Worley & Obetz is a family owned and operated, total energy provider. We are focused on providing quality products and services along with the best customer experience. In Scrabble, you always have to be one step ahead and ready to adjust at any given moment. Our team is always looking forward to provide new, innovative products and services while quickly adapting to change. Our unique approach to meet our customer’s needs, values, and expectations is what separates us from other players. Worley & Obetz strives to be a leader in our industry which allows us to make a difference and reach our goals. Making a difference and educating generations to come is motivation enough for me. Worley & Obetz and Scrabble look to keep their players engaged by allowing them to grow and strengthen to provide the best results, achievement! Much like winning a game of Scrabble, meeting our customers’ needs and being there when they need us is very rewarding.

H. Glenn “Bub” Manning

principal, Quandel Enterprises Inc.

ADHD does not go well with board or card games, so this is a tough one. I’ll say Trivial Pursuit. I’ve always tried to learn as much as I could about as many topics as I could. You never know when you have to reach in and pull out a nugget to advance an initiative or business transaction.

Matthew Hartzler

president, Warfel Construction Co.

My 6-year-old son loves a good game of Checkers. I can somewhat relate the game to our business in that a good player formulates a strategy and plan of action before his first move is made — anticipating his subsequent moves and jumps to reach the other side. However, quick thinking and the ability to change course is needed when your opponent makes a move you don’t anticipate.

On our projects, game strategy is established well in advance of any moves, and we envision the ideal schedule and course of action to final completion. It is inevitable, however, that weather, material delays, site conditions, et cetera, can foil our moves and force us to modify our plan. But because we anticipate these issues and have contingency plans in place, we are able to jump these hurdles and finish the project as scheduled.

Doug Rebert

managing director, HomeSale Real Estate Services Group Inc. dba Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty

Monopoly. The game encourages players to increase their wealth through property ownership. Even with the recent recession home prices in Pennsylvania rose 34 percent in the last 10 years.

Anthony P. Campisi

president and CEO of Arthur J. Glatfelter Agency Inc. dba Glatfelter Insurance Group

I’m pretty much a Pinochle card player. It’s a game where you have partners.

You get points for various cards in the tricks, so what you’re doing is assessing the strength of your hand, and then based on the cards in your hand you start to surmise what your partner may or may not have in their hand by the law of averages. You have to determine whether you want to make a bid based on probabilities and assumptions. The one thing everyone can agree on is that every business has to make decisions in a world of uncertainty. You are forced to make assumptions -- hopefully those are informed assumptions, but nonetheless they’re assumptions -- and you have to take chances in order to win the game. As much as we want to have facts and figures and market intelligence, at the end of the day somebody has to take a leap of faith because there’s no guarantee. Unless you have an absolute no-brainer of a hand, which seldom happens, you’re taking some risks. That’s an essential element of our free enterprise system, and something I hope everyone in our society understands. In order for people to be successful in a business where you’re trying to attain some outcome, you have to take a leap of faith and risks, and there’s reward if you have been successful in that endeavor. If we ever think that government can replace that, we’re in trouble, because government can’t do that. Only the private marketplace can do that. I enjoy business. I think every business person enjoys that aspect, because there is a certain excitement to taking that leap of faith, because you really aren’t sure what the outcome will be. You’re planning for it and you’re working very hard to make it successful, and at the end of the day, how you win that game is by taking the chance.

David Angle

co-owner, Reynolds Enterprises Inc.

Battleship. My kids love to play it with me. You’re constantly battling for position in our industry. You’ve got to go out and fight every day.

David McIlwaine

president and CEO, HVAC Distributors Inc.

Pinochle or a variation called 500 are my favorite card games. It’s like business in that there are elements of strategy, partnership, capitalizing on mistakes and a little bit of luck.

Brian S. Gross

Transply Inc.

Clue. Every sale has pieces of information that must be gathered in order to figure out the best solution for the customer.

Brian J. Gross

John Gross & Co. Inc.

I’d have to say Trivial Pursuit. You can acquire knowledge from originally providing the wrong answer.

Jon Kinsley

president and COO, Kinsley Construction Inc.

My favorite card game is probably Gin Rummy because you need to apply strategy — it’s not just about luck and which cards you pull. The same goes for our business — you don’t achieve longevity or success in the construction industry through luck. From our business development efforts to our project delivery process, we’re constantly planning our moves and evaluating results so that we can better position ourselves for continued success.

Jon Williams

president, WM Enterprises Inc. dba Graphtech

Chess. It’s a game that requires a great deal of strategy with many moving parts. Although it is very important to have your own strategy, you must be prepared to react to opponents’ moves. Each chess piece, much like our employees, has a critical role to play in the outcome regardless of title or position.

Robert Mason

president and CEO, Intelligencer Printing Co.

I grew up in the age of the original Battleship, Stratego, Risk and Clue. Battleship seemed to have favored blind luck more than reason and skill. Although once you randomly got a hit, you could then fine tune your attacks. Business won’t allow you to meander blindly until you stumble upon success. Risk is a game of world domination that involves strategy, and a little luck. Couple those qualities with the length of time it takes to play; you have a pretty close parallel to our business. This market place is evolving and the game will continue for many years to come.

Scott Hartman

president and CEO, Rutter’s Holdings Inc.


Dylan Lisette

president and CEO, Utz Quality Foods Inc.

Monopoly is my favorite game. As with business, you can have a strategy going into the game but based on what other players do in the game, you may have to make adjustments. Much like our business, calculated timely investments can pay out if played correctly. My favorite part of this game is the fact that it is like business because you can have up and down cycles based on the game factors.

Pat Huffman

president, The Warrell Corp.

Monopoly. I’ve been a fan from when I was a very small child. It teaches you strategy: if you don’t have a strategy, you rapidly lose out. You don’t know that word (strategy) when you’re young and playing Monopoly, but when you watch people beat you regularly, you learn it.

Gene Draganosky

chief community banking officer, York Traditions Bank

Monopoly. Do I need to explain? I’m a banker. I can’t chose Risk.

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