People Spotlight: Matt Gannon & Project Delivery Services

We sat down with Matt Gannon, a Partner at MRE and a longtime employee who recently celebrated the 20-year mark with the company. He leads the Project Delivery Services division and the People Pillar, which is all things people from recruiting, professional development, mentorship, to performance management. He is passionate about building an inclusive culture and making MRE a great place to work. In this interview, Matt reflects on noteworthy MRE moments from over the years and what he is most excited about in the years to come.

Can you share the story of how you first joined MRE?

I was working at Accenture in San Diego at Sempra Energy. The project was a nightmare at every level. One Monday, a friend called and asked if I had heard about the Duke Contract – we had lost it to a company we had never heard of called MRE Consulting. Immediately, I looked up MRE, called their main line, and asked if they were hiring. The following week, I met with Dru Neikirk and Bryan Wiard. There were some immigration hoops to work through since I am originally from the UK and needed sponsorship, but I officially joined MRE in May 2003.

In 2016, I got to go back to Sempra Energy as a consultant. MRE was actually hired to replace the system I had implemented back in 2003 with Accenture. It turned out to be one of the best projects I have ever worked on. Everything came full circle, and I got to rewrite a piece of history. I used to dread flying into San Diego remembering the nightmare project, and now, I am filled with memories of a great team and everything we accomplished.

How has your role evolved since you joined MRE?

For my first project at MRE, I was a Business Analyst for the implementation of a CTRM (Commodities Trading & Risk Management) system. I was responsible for requirements gathering, testing, and all of the typical tasks associated with a Business Analyst role. I also expanded my knowledge into compliance and SOX (Sarbanes Oxley).

Years later, I had a very challenging project. The client declared bankruptcy, and everything turned sour, which is putting it lightly. Even though many things were out of my control, I walked away with my confidence shaken, and I had to rebuild the way I approach consulting. Really, you learn more from your failures than your successes.

I had a long-term client where I was really able to step into a key role and build a strong relationship. I initially stepped into a SOX compliance testing role while someone was out on leave. They never returned, and I ended up staying for seven years. I eventually led their IT Compliance team globally.
I’ve had many projects, but these projects stand out for me. These experiences and more have prepared me to be a consulting leader who can have those tough conversations, think strategically, see the big picture, while also having empathy.

In your opinion, what has been important or key to MRE’s success?

Having leadership who will ‘practice what they preach’; who will ‘eat their own dogfood’. Time and time again over the last 20 years, I’ve seen the partners face difficult situations and do the right thing. They always enter into every decision with the best of intentions. Their integrity has been the foundation of trust and respect for the whole organization. I want to work with people I trust and respect and am lucky to have found that at MRE.

What MRE values really resonate with you?

Putting people first. We are only successful due to our people – both our clients and our employees. That’s why we do things the right way and prioritize long-term success and partnerships. We want to do the right thing by people, and sometimes it may not be beneficial for MRE. But what’s best for people, will ultimately, in the long run, be what’s best for MRE.

Entrepreneurial spirit really stands out in our culture. At MRE, everyone can carve their own path. If you have a great idea and a business case, there will be support. The career framework in place at MRE is designed to allow you to shape your career. For instance, I never anticipated leading our People Pillar when I joined MRE, but it’s something I was able to advocate for, and I love what I do.Project delivery services

We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary this year, what new changes to the company are you really excited for?

In terms of specific changes with the evolution of the company, I’m excited about how we are formally onboarding new consultants. We provide mentorship and equip them with foundational consulting skills in a structured way. Whether coming in from university or from another job without a consulting background, there are general skills that are critical for success in consulting. Skills like, creating killer presentations and rocking Excel – all before worrying about how to calculate Value at Risk (VaR) which is very specific to CTRM. Historically, hiring entry-level consultants in the mature field of CTRM has been challenging. We’re letting folks sharpen their consulting skills first before specializing, and we think that’s a game-changer.

How do you see the new formalized Project Delivery Services Team impacting/enhancing MRE?

I am really excited about the launch of MRE’s Project Delivery Services. Project Delivery Services offer project management and business analysis expertise to deliver complex project portfolios. These services are technology and vendor agnostic, and relevant for all industries. Our consultants have guided clients through vendor consolidation, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars, to ERP implementation, facilitating a smooth migration and roll out.

While domain knowledge can certainly be an asset, it’s not an absolute prerequisite. A proficient project manager should have versatility to handle various projects. In our Project Delivery Services team, our focus on discipline naturally leads us into different industries and areas. These skills are transferable, be it in construction, energy, finance, or across different geographies like the US, Canada, or Singapore – It doesn’t make a difference. If you are a skilled project manager, you possess the ability to effectively manage a diverse range of projects.

What do you do in your free time for fun?

I love to travel! I had a colleague who once joked that I should change my “Out of Office” notification to an “In the Office” notification since I’m constantly traveling.

I enjoy collecting watches. I find the intricate mechanics fascinating, especially in watches that work on their kinetic energy without batteries. My collection spans from the classic Casio G-Shock to the timeliness Rolex Explorer II.

Lately, I’ve been tinkering with home automation. I set up Home Assistant, an open-source app, to make life easier at home for me and my wife. Our home security system is now tied to when we lock or unlock the door from outside, so it will automatically arm or disarm the alarm. I also have some low voltage lighting projects like DIY LED kits for the ceilings and bookcases around my house. They’ve been really nice for ambient lightning or accent lighting.


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