5 questions for Zeb Hadley

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As President and CEO of National Coatings, Zeb oversees operational procedures, policies and standards to ensure production efficiency, quality service and cost-effective management of resources. He also plans, develops, implements, directs and evaluates the organization’s fiscal function and performance, while also stimulating its operation to generate resources, promote revenue, profitability and growth as an organization. Zeb has led National Coatings  in receiving various awards and top recognition, such as APC Top Job of the Year, a four-time Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Company, ENR award winner both regionally and nationally, Business North Carolina’s Small Business of the Year and two-time North Carolina Mid-Market Fast 40 company and more. He has won prestigious awards such as Triangle Business Journal’s CFO of the Year, CIO of the Year and was featured on the publication’s 40 under 40 list. Zeb resides in North Carolina with his wife and three daughters. Outside of the office, you can find Zeb playing golf, fishing on the North Carolina coast or watching sports.

Zeb Hadley

What do you like best about your job?

The greatest thing about my job is the constant challenges that I must tackle each day. These challenges can be a multitude of things like compliance issues, meeting the demands of a stringent client, cash flow, personal issues and so much more, and they always seem to occur at the most inopportune times. Even though these challenges are inconvenient at times, I embrace them because they help me sharpen my skills. With the challenges I face, I am forced to think outside the box in order to overcome them. I like to take the seemingly impossible challenges and wield them to our company’s advantage, which in turn makes us stronger, better and even more resilient.

What inspires you?

The thought of tomorrow and what it can bring if I give 100% every day is what inspires me the most. This, however, is more than just a thought, as it is also how I measure success. If we can all give 100% every day and work together as a team, there is literally NOTHING that we cannot accomplish. I [can’t think of anything] inspirational than knowing that tomorrow will be another successful day if we give it all we have, no matter what the outcome of our tasks may be.

Who or what should we be paying attention to?

We should be keeping our eye on the astounding number of top executives and CEOs of medium to very large companies voluntarily leaving their positions at a very rapid pace. Whether they are stepping down, retiring or selling off, the historical patterns indicate that when we see CEO turnover of this magnitude, the economic expansion is nearing its final stretch. As a CEO, you have a better view of your market and economy than others, so why not go out on top to leave the layoffs and closures to the next guy in line? But don’t fear yet: The real scare is when the number of CEO retirements almost cease.

However, this is great news for all those savvy ladies that comprise over 50% of attendees at the nation’s best MBA programs. Female CEO’s comprise 22% of the CEO workforce, up 10% from 2010. So, maybe it’s time to step down, grandpa, and let the next generation of lady leaders run with the baton.

What was your biggest challenge this week?

Our biggest challenge this week was trying to integrate two systems into one new, slick ERP/Accounting package that will integrate with our timecard and project-management systems. Our team has had lots of headaches and tired faces around the accounting office over the past few weeks, but I aim to see smiles and a more relaxed attitudes once we are sailing smoothly with maximum efficiency in our new accounting system.

Eastern or western barbecue?

Is this a serious question? Come on! I grew up in eastern N.C., so I know the best of the best, including the rest of the west. Hands down, its eastern N.C. style if prepared correctly. Now, if any of you readers out there want to challenge me on this, I will be more than happy to accept gift cards to your favorite pig shack, and I’ll give it a whirl during my travels!

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