The Face of a State Agency.
Robert Gross EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE SERVICES, STATE OF UTAH Utah, state, United States
Utah (y`tä'), Rocky Mt. state of the W United States.
The idea of putting a face to a state agency might seem a contradiction in terms Noun 1. contradiction in terms - (logic) a statement that is necessarily false; "the statement `he is brave and he is not brave' is a contradiction"
logic - the branch of philosophy that analyzes inference to some. To others, it's the only way to do business. Robert Gross, Utah's executive director of Workforce Services, believes his clients deserve the best service he and his staff can give. His goal is to "set a national standard in the way we provide service to employers and job seekers job seeker also job·seek·er
One who seeks employment. ."
Creating a department with this strength of vision has not been an overnight process. Since 1996, when Gov. Mike Leavitt appointed him to the post, Gross has embarked on an expansive effort to change the way employment and training services are delivered statewide. He has integrated five different state agencies (employment security, family support, job training, childcare and the state's Turning Point program) into a single department, creating "one-stop" centers that serve both employers and job seekers.
Customer service is more often associated with private-sector business than state agencies, and it was there that Gross says he gleaned his commitment to the customer. In a career of law and banking, his roles ranged from general counsel to president of First Interstate in·ter·state
Involving, existing between, or connecting two or more states.
One of a system of highways extending between the major cities of the 48 contiguous United States.
Noun 1. Bank of Utah (now Wells Fargo Wells Fargo
armored carriers of bullion. [Am. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1147]
See : Protectiveness
company that handled express service to western states; often robbed. [Am. Hist. ). Still, Gross says, I always believed that at some point, it would be important to render some public service. When the governor approached me about this position, it seemed like the right thing to do."
Gross intensely studies leaders whose focus is on doing the right thing, and tries to incorporate their principles into his own roles. Leadership qualities can be quite paradoxical, he says, encompassing firmness and flexibility; thick skin and sensitivity; vision and practicality.
"Above all, I've come to believe that there are three dominant themes in a great leader: personal integrity, emotional intelligence, and an appreciation for human nature -- both their own and that of other people. They have to learn to like themselves in spite of their fallibility fal·li·ble
1. Capable of making an error: Humans are only fallible.
2. Tending or likely to be erroneous: fallible hypotheses. . I try to bring out the best of these principles with my staff."
Gross' professional roles have expanded to include presidency of the Interstate Conference of Employment Security Agencies (ICESA ICESA Interstate Conference of Employment Security Agencies
ICESA International Commission on Earth Sciences in Africa
ICESA Ingenieros Consultores Especialistas SA (Guatemala) ), which has recently proposed to the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means WAYS AND MEANS. In legislative assemblies there is usually appointed a committee whose duties are to inquire into, and propose to the house, the ways and means to be adopted to raise funds for the use of the government. This body is called the committee of ways and means. Committee a sweeping reform of unemployment insurance and workforce services. If enacted, the legislation will benefit every business in the state and nation, improving Funding, reducing employer tax filing burdens, expanding unemployment insurance eligibility, and improving technical and administrative aspects of the unemployment insurance program.
Gross focuses on consistency among his professional, legislative and civic roles. I try to be judicious ju·di·cious
Having or exhibiting sound judgment; prudent.
[From French judicieux, from Latin i . I ask hard questions, and I think people will tell you that I tend to be demanding, but also fair. I make my share of mistakes every day, but the more experience I get, the more I realize what great teachers mistakes are."
Lisa Cilva Ward is a freelance writer and editor based in Park City.