Meeting New Challenges Head-On

Nick Szkotak is embracing his new role as General Manager of Lab Services with IIA. Nick’s previous experience in the boiler, power, and construction arenas and also having management experience, where he was responsible for hiring NDE crews and field engineering professionals is a natural lead-in from where he's been.

He believes that a focus on teamwork, communication, and collaboration is what leads to progress and success. Meeting new challenges head-on, seeing his team have wins, and facilitating consistent dialogue is what he loves most about his job.

Nick’s day-to-day routines are varied, and he enjoys the variety. Outside of spreadsheets, reporting, and other operational tasks, Nick spends most of his time connecting labs with field services as well as cross-selling and cross-operating, meaning he is consistently verifying customer needs and lab capabilities. After that, he knows he can trust the head of his team to make sure those projects are taken care of and the customers receive what they need, when they need it.

Currently, Nick is also overseeing an operational integration project and sees this as an exciting challenge. "This is a great challenge, and I want to make sure everything is on track and we’re hitting our one, three, six and nine month project goals for this project."

One of the things he loves most is communicating, supporting, and connecting with his team. His most enjoyable moments are when the team has a win and the customers are receiving the fast, friendly, reliable service that they’ve come to appreciate and expect.

Nick loves a challenge; he enjoys figuring out how to optimize something and create growth, so he is a perfect fit for IIA’s continued expansion. He says, "While growth might not always be fun, and it certainly can be stressful, the satisfaction of achieving it is well worth it."

Having nearly 4,000+ customers each year, across 30 or so different industries, and providing 100+ different tests is something that most labs aren’t capable of. IIA is dynamic and expansive, but Nick tells us it’s more like a family than a big company. "I really like that we are family here at IIA. Growing is tough, but growing is fun."

Nick jumped in feet first getting to know everyone, and says he never wants any situation he's in to be a "me versus you" situation. He is really committed to teamwork, and he explains that "You can always figure things out when you have a good team. There’s always someone out there who is willing to help. Team effort makes a difference."

Nick is extremely proud of how IIA comes to the table to support and guide new divisions. While chuckling, he tells us, "Going into an acquisition is kind of like going on a blind date. You go in not knowing anyone and thinking this could go very badly." But, he says, "Everything is actually really great. Everyone is happy and working well together."

He says one of his proudest moments during his short time here has been "watching the team grow and develop right in front of my eyes. That is so great."

If Nick could give one piece of advice, it’d be to respectfully relay your opinions and express your concerns. He feels this is the way forward and to making progress in any situation. He says, "You're always going to learn something from other people, if you're willing to listen and really hear them." He believes that good things come from expressing your thoughts and concerns, listening, and getting out of your comfort zone.

One of his favorite quotes is one from Albert Einstein:

"A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for."

Nick likes to encourage others to get out of their comfort zone (like this quote suggests); he supports people trying new things and meeting challenges head on. He says, "that is where personal and professional growth happens."

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