Pyramid Consulting International is making it happen in downtown Akron

All images by Tim Fitzwater

Pyramid Consulting International helps organizations successfully develop and implement their strategies. They assist a diverse client base in meeting the demands of today’s challenging markets. The unique proprietary approach that they adopt has resulted in rapid growth of the company and its client base.

The company, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, opened an office in downtown Akron at 1 Cascade Plaza in 2016. Downtown Akron Partnership and JLL sat down with Sherif Farghal, PhD, president and CEO, at The Lockview to learn more.

Tell us more about your business.

Pyramid Consulting started in 2007 to fill a gap between consulting and implementation. There are a lot of consulting companies that give recommendations for improving an organization, but then it’s up to the company to implement those recommendations. I felt that it was important for a consulting company to take clients through the whole journey of recommending solutions, through the implementation of those solutions as well.  To achieve this, we restructured our rates in order to sustain long-term relationships with our clients and carry through implementation.

We help companies with strategic planning and alignment. We help them understand what they want to do and then help them move toward that vision. The bulk of our work is invested in helping clients build capabilities like improving their processes, organization, systems, performance measuring and execution.

Basically, we try to answer three questions for our clients: 1) Are we doing the right thing? 2) Are we prepared to do the right things? And 3) Are we doing the right things right?

You seem to be doing things right since you mentioned that your company is growing?

We’re growing very fast and have an immediate need of nine more employees for the Akron office. We’ve grown from five employees to 30 and will need more space to expand. We’re looking to stay in the same building since we love it here.  I will find it hard to leave the office where I am now and away from the Main Street view and big windows, but we need more space for our growing team. 

What is the skill set that you are looking for in a candidate?

We look for a variety of skill sets depending on the project. We need consultants, usually people that are good in analysis and processes. We’re also helping companies build capability, and one of the areas that we work with is Lean culture and design. So we’re looking for green belts, black belts and people with a Lean background. We also need project controls candidates to work with project managers in executing projects, scheduling and cost control.

We look forward to connecting more with the University of Akron’s College of Business Administration to tap into local talent.  We do a lot of training for our employees, so while the technical aspect is important, we also look at soft skills like communications, creativity and ambition. I would love to expand even more in Akron and Cleveland.

Tell us about how you and your employees take advantage of outside-of-the-office amenities downtown.

The Towpath Trail in downtown is wonderful and I try to use it on days that I am here. It’s fascinating in that you start around a bunch of urban buildings and then all of a sudden you’re in the wilderness. It’s really amazing.

We do a lot of socializing and my employees go out to lunch a lot. They come here [The Lockview], Bricco and many other places. My personal downtown favorites are Cilantro and Bricco. My favorite restaurant in the area is Ceedo’s in Stow. I’d also love to see even more variety of restaurants and more places to go after dinner.

What might be missing from the downtown environment?

My employees mention one missing element is a simple grocery store for items they can stock in the office.  We go out to eat a lot, but it would also be nice if there were more in indoor activities and places to hang out. Personally, I’d love to see more retail destinations downtown.

How important is culture in your workplace?

I think culture is the personality of the company and it’s very important for the company to have a great personality. I consider the environment as part of the culture. The environment is not just the inside of our office but also the outside. That’s why downtown Akron is ideal for me. Employees enjoy it so much because they don’t have to drive, but can go out of the office and walk to restaurants and activities like RubberDucks games and Lock 3 concerts.

What is unique about downtown Akron?

Everyone I’ve met in Akron, whether clients at FirstEnergy or Cindy Sherman at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown, have been amazing and helpful.  We have a team that comes to town and stays at the hotel and Cindy arranged an outing to the RubberDucks game. Cindy also introduced me to Downtown Akron Partnership, which was phenomenal, because I never expected Suzie and Kimberly to walk with me — literally — all around downtown until we found the right place to locate the business. Then when we actually took the office, Kathy Cunningham the property manager, was great in getting us settled in.

Everybody is very helpful in this town and I love being a part of it.

Rethinking your workplace strategy series Part IV

Today’s workplaces are going green for the sake of the environment and their employees. But, sustainability goes beyond having a recycling can in the kitchen. Offices with efficient capabilities like smart lighting and temperature control, healthy food options, and green space like rooftop patios are significantly boosting productivity among employees. Sustainable practices also showcase an organization’s values, giving them a competitive edge to retain business and talent. For more information on how you can transform your workplace strategy, email Warren Blazy III at Warren.Blazy@am.jll.com.