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The Manager Minute

By Cindy Kent

January 3, 2005
Copyright © 2005 SO FL SUN SENTINEL. All rights reserved.

Etienne Font, 35, was born in Puerto Rico and early on was exposed to a disciplined learning environment. He attended military school and later a preparatory school in south Miami-Dade County. In high school, Font participated in drama, track and field, and soccer. He also stayed focused on his studies -- planning to serve in the military and hoping to work one day at the Pentagon.

He attended Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., and received a bachelor's degree in business. He joined the ROTC and after a six-month reserves training tour, began working for Crawford and Co. in Miami as an insurance adjuster. The aftermath of Hurricane Andrew provided Font with unexpected and valuable on-the-job training.

In the meantime, Font continued to concentrate on his career development and attended night school at Nova Southeastern University to obtain a law degree.

He joined Decon Environmental Engineering Inc. about a year ago, as its insurance division manager.

Font, who lives in Miramar with his wife, Kelley, spends his free time with his 10-year-old son playing sports and video games. Font also likes to read, ride bikes and work on house projects.

The job: Etienne Font is insurance division manager for Decon Environmental Engineering in Fort Lauderdale where he oversees eight supervisors and serves as liaison for Decon and insurance companies. Decon specializes in mold remediation, lead and asbestos removal. The firm has 40 employees and offices in Orlando, Tampa, Virginia and New York.

A management challenge: There is a certain point where you have to make a difficult decision. When I say I am going to do something, I follow through with it so I've learned to have the foresight to be very expressive of what is expected and what needs to be done.

Favorite part of my job: You never know what you're going to do today. You can set up a structure to your day, but there is always something new.

Waste of time: Not living up to your abilities. You should constantly challenge yourself.

A successful manager: Recognizes employees who are pulling the work. Motivate them and appreciate their effort.

What makes a lasting impression: Living up to your word.

Team-building practice: Get employees involved in the decision-making process.

People take pride in their work when they have input. It's no longer just an assignment.

Conflict-resolving tip: In daily life you have to utilize remediation skills. With a clear, open mind, consider everyone's position to diffuse the issue. Involve the parties in the ultimate resolution.

How do you encourage employee development: Encourage further study and the opportunity to work with a mentor.

Employee retention tip: People are motivated by money, but recognition, appreciation and inclusion are just as important to employees.

Career-building advice: Ask yourself: Are you suited for this job? Do you have any desires -- what do you gravitate towards? How do they stack up with your abilities? If they don't, what can you do to get there? What else do you need to study?

On the bookshelf: Fantasy such as Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter books and W.E.B. Griffin novels.

What I look for in a job candidate: I listen closely to how a candidate answers my questions. I look for someone with a strong work ethic.

Advice: Always make an effort to recognize employees.


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