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Monday, June 30, 2014

Interview with Minneapolis Office Managing Partner, Mike Nelson

Learn more about McGladrey's Minneapolis office from our interview with Office Managing Partner, Mike Nelson.

What is the makeup of the Minneapolis office?
McGladrey Plaza
Minneapolis has assurance, tax and consulting professionals; all three Lines of Business. We are a hub for consulting, serving the needs of a large portion of our Central Region. Our size gives us the ability to specialize both functionally and with respect to industry, which is valuable to our clients. For example, we have many International Tax specialists, Business Valuation Specialists and strong industry groups. Also unique to the Minneapolis office is the large amount of firm wide employees that sit here including HR, IT, Marketing, and Learning & Professional Development. We are also the only office where the building we sit in is named after McGladrey (McGladrey Plaza).

How long have you been with the firm? How did your career with McGladrey begin? 
I’ve been with McGladrey for 32 years. I came to the firm for a specialized tax opportunity and have since had a variety of opportunities in State & Local Tax and Estate & Gift Planning among others. I’ve also had the opportunity to work in McGladrey offices in Stillwater, MN and St. Paul, MN, both of which merged into the Minneapolis office several years ago.

What makes the Minneapolis office unique?
Minneapolis St. Paul MSA is pretty unique. There are many Fortune 500 companies here – we are #2 per capita for Fortune 500 company headquarters and 330 of the Fortune 500 have operations here. There is a very robust culture here – Minneapolis is above the National average in education, income, and health; we have all four major sports teams; the most theater seats per capita outside of NYC; and of course many outdoor activity opportunities. We are also in the heart of McGladrey country. We’re well recognized in this market and our office here is larger than some of the Big 4 Firms’ Minneapolis offices. We have a broad diversity of clients in many industries.  

What do you think was the best event the Minneapolis office held over the last year?
Our annual Halloween party. It’s a chance to be someone else. And it’s also fun to get a reaction out of people. We have a big Halloween party every year at the Minneapolis office which includes a costume contest. (Mike was Obi Wan Kenobi in 2013)

What are you looking forward to at McGladrey and in Minneapolis?
I’m looking forward to growing, and working hard to find great people to grow with us. Minnesota’s population grows less than 1% each year and with baby boomers retiring, we can’t find people fast enough. I’m also looking forward to our Friends of McGladrey golf outing in September. Chris DiMarco is attending and this will be a great event for clients and other “Friends.” And I’m looking forward to Halloween, of course. 

What are the biggest growth opportunities in Minneapolis?
Consulting and especially IT Consulting is basically on fire. Target’s headquarters is right across the street from us in Minneapolis, and what happened with them has a lot of people concerned. Additionally, companies are going to the cloud and looking at different IT solutions. Tax is really poised to grow too because of increases in tax rates at the federal and Minnesota state levels. These are big expenses for companies and we can help control that, which brings a lot of value to our clients. 

Why should someone join the McGladrey team?
Join the McGladrey team if you like the people and like the clients. If you want to work with middle market clients this is the best firm to be at. 

How can someone get to know McGladrey better?
Talk to any of our people to get to know us better. If you are a student, look at internships and our Pathways (externship) Program. When we are on campus, we visit with accounting clubs – join those clubs and meet us!

How does the Minneapolis office use flexibility?
We have a very flexible environment here. Many of our consultants are only in the office a couple days a month. Even when they are not at a client site, they may work from home or from their car. A recent change in our tax software has allowed our Tax team to work more flexibly too. I like to say, “I don’t care when you get your work done, just get it done.” Whether you like to get started at 6am like me or work best at 10pm at home. Email and IM make it easy to stay in touch. And using the old fashioned phone every now and then! Flexibility works great. 

What advice do you have for someone in our industry to own their career?
My advice is to seek out variety in what you do and be open to accepting different challenges. Be open to exploring new technical skills and also new business opportunities. Variety will give you a good background for any future. Every once in a while you have a take a risk. McGladrey has lots of opportunities to do something boldly different, like a secondment to Germany or Australia!

View all Minneapolis job openings here:

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