Leadership Spotlight: Q&A with Rick Landsman
Rick Landsman always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Rick was pretty sure that some day he’d stop working for ‘the man’ and also venture out on his own. He just didn’t know when, or in what capacity. Today, Rick is co-founder and CEO of Marick Group, which celebrated its 13th year in business in August of 2020. It’s safe to say his plan has successfully fallen into place.
People + Tech = Learning Management
Rick always had an interest in technology, which he likely got from tinkering with circuit boards and computers at a young age. But the idea of working with people to help make them better was something he was also passionate about. So, Rick attended the University of Maryland, earned a Psychology degree (which he uses at least 24 times per day), and began work as a mental health counselor.
Rick soon started looking for ways to also apply his interest in tech and engineering to his career. The Learning Management industry – helping people improve themselves through technology – proved to be perfect calling.
He moved on to work as a project manager for First Data, a global payment technology solutions company. As the company grew, he rose through the ranks and worked in positions throughout Georgia, New York, Florida and Maryland.
After his time at First Data, Rick worked for a small software startup before jumping into technology consulting with investment management firm, Legg Mason. Still looking for opportunities that would allow him to eventually venture out on his own, he joined General Physics Corporation (now GP Strategies).
Rick met Marc Starzyk at GP, and after working together for some of the largest and most complex federal agencies and commercial enterprises, they realized the marketplace had tremendous potential, and decided the best way to service the industry was to go out on their own. The timing was right and in 2007, they founded Marick Group.
Marick Group, with Rick serving as CEO and Mark as COO, employs the A-Team – experts who manage a wide range of talent/learning management services for government and commercial customers. On any given day, the A-Team is managing projects, conducting training sessions or running help desks for clients like John Deere, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense.
The role that Rick takes on day-to-day is always changing. His primary job is to handle the tasks that others aren’t thinking about because they’re focused on servicing clients and managing their own to-do lists. He could be contributing to sales/marketing efforts, nurturing new partnerships, or planning for the company’s future. No matter what he’s working on, he’s always uber-confident in the talent of the Marick team – they not only do exceptional work for their clients, but their teamwork mindset is the key to the company’s success.
The Perfect Fit
A decade ago, the talent/learning management industry was just a small niche. Not everyone knew what LMS meant – it just wasn’t a big deal. Today, it’s a different story. The industry has grown exponentially and is better recognized as Human Capital Management (HCM). HCM encompasses anything related to ‘people resource management’, from administrative support for employee payroll and benefits, to strategic support for education, training and performance management.
Before HCM was even a thing, Marick was already earning industry certifications in technologies and systems that are at the heart of many HCM solutions today. Rick thinks the fact that Marick has been an industry player for so long makes them the perfect fit for government agencies and companies that are seeking expert HCM support.
There are always new challenges to take on when you work in the technology space, especially when a lot of sensitive company and employee data is involved. The good news, Rick says, is there are lots of technology enhancements happening to help prevent data breaches and other security breaks. But progress is rapid. So when it comes to protecting their HCM systems, especially if moving from an on-premise solution to a cloud solution, companies need to choose a partner that is experienced in the latest solutions and has a proven track record. Marick will quite often have the expert qualifications needed to get the job done.
Looking ahead, Rick shares that Marick Group’s focus is to help their clients continue to grow through improved employee performance. Through collaboration and Marick teamwork, they’ll engineer new and innovative HCM solutions that make their clients even more agile.
If being a successful CEO for the past 10+ years wasn’t impressive enough, Rick is also a devoted husband, father to four beautiful girls, AND he knows all the lyrics to La Di Da Di – by the great 80’s rapper, Slick Rick.