Meet FRCH: An Interview With Jim Tippmann, CEO

This week I sat down with FRCH’s Chief Executive Officer, Jim Tippmann, to get to know him a bit better.  Because Jim’s background is in operations, finance, and development, I was interested to find out what led him to the design industry.

We discussed his current leadership role, how he has learned to work with creatives, and what keeps him busy outside of the office.

For the readers who don’t already know you, will you describe what you do?

My role is driving and pushing the business forward, setting initiatives for the company. 

We’re a people-based business, so problems and solutions are ever-changing. I have to be sensitive to the needs of a diverse population. It’s my job to take complex situations and work through them to resolve obstacles and create opportunities for our people.  In the last several years, I’ve realized that my contribution is creating a platform for great careers and creating jobs.

Did you always know you wanted to be a business leader?

Yes. I always knew I wanted to run a business, I just didn’t know what kind.

What obstacles did you face along the way?

I came from humble beginnings; I put myself through college.  However, I have a great and very entrepreneurial family, but I didn’t have a roadmap to becoming the president of a company.  I mean, I’m a businessman with a finance background running a design firm.

Yes,  how did you end up at FRCH?

I had an interest in architecture when I was younger, but I didn’t have the grades or the money to pursue it at the time.  I studied business and found myself in an operations role at FRCH.  I met Jim Fitzgerald 23 years ago and he gave me a lot of context.  I’ve learned a lot from him.

Coming from a business background, what is it like working with designers?

There are accommodations to be made within a creative enterprise and not everyone has the capacity to manage creative people.  I find working with designers to be stimulating. I like really wacky people! And I’m sensitive to design, so they don’t make me crazy. But I have learned from experience that not everyone is suited for this industry. 

You have a reputation as an avid runner and cyclist! What is your latest endeavor?

I’ve run 2 marathons and a series of half-marathons, but after 2 knee surgeries, I shifted my focus to my other love, which is cycling.  Now, that’s what I’m really passionate about.  I biked the Cincinnati to Cleveland Pan Ohio Cancer ride with our IT boys in 2010.  This year I’ve been so busy traveling to help the business grow, that I haven’t had much time for training.  I really need a new challenge. I find that once I’ve accomplished one thing, like a marathon, I want to try something new –on to the next!

Ok, now a few quick ones:

Favorite sports  team:

The Reds, because after 20 years with Mike Brown, I have no confidence left in the Bengals.

Favorite product:

My newest toy is my iPhone, but of course, I love my bike.

Favorite Hobby:

My favorite hobby is cycling, but my favorite thing to do is spend time with my wife and three kids. My daughter is coming home from college this week -I’m really looking forward to seeing her. And my wife and I celebrate our 25th anniversary this month!

Last question. What do you love most about FRCH?

The people and the work.  We’re a cool company. I take a lot of pride in what we do and the people who are here.

Thank you very much to Jim for his time and his insights.  Look for more interviews with FRCH leadership in the coming weeks!

images courtesy of Ashley Floyd.

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