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Coffee Hour With a Leader

By Gregory L. Krueger — On September 28, 2016, at the Cameron School of Business’ Celt Coffee hour, I had the privilege of hearing Mr.Bernt Netland, Chief Executive Officer and President of Chief Executive Officer and President of Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC, speak.

The moment Mr. Netland began to speak, it was evident that he is a very down-to-earth individual who has passion for his work.  In this a case,  you can, indeed, judge a book by its cover. Within the hour that we were given to interact with Mr. Netland, I could plainly see his passion, and in fact, it is passion that he said  one must have in order to succeed in any area of life.

Among the usual types of discussion revolving around what his industry actually does in day-to-day operations, he also shared  some  valuable insights that are reflected within the ethical code that we at the University of St. Thomas aspire to as well. He mentioned that above all when dealing with business relationships and deals,  people know should know  us as a person who has ethics and will not cross certain lines. As an example of ethics, he talked about how to insure customers are treated fairly and not taken advantage of.

Another valuable insight he shared was what he looks for in a person’s resume. While it is typical for people to jump from opportunity to opportunity in order to find the next exciting thing, Mr. Netland himself values consistency and dedication. This seems logical because an organization may not wish to invest time and money training a person for a job when they have a history of leaving jobs after only a year or two. However, it also seems that there are many individuals who are currently doing this in the effort to continually gain higher positions or wages. As a word of caution, Mr. Netland expressed that he has known several individuals where the next opportunity was very exciting, but in the end, it was not the best career move.

The most inspiring point of the evening, for me, came when he was talking about how he really does put his employees’ safety first and how he has tried to lead by example in this. Mr. Netland, I feel, truly does care about the safety of those he works with. He shared how he has spent money that others thought was wasteful, in order to improve working conditions at his facility. He also shared how he will perform his own “Undercover Boss” reviews and go out into the facilities in his coveralls and hard hat to perform random and unannounced inspections and BBSOs (Behavior Based Safety Observations). Along these lines of care, he also has an open door policy to all of his employees and hosts safety meetings with varied work groups to continually show his presence and allow for an open forum where safety concerns can be voiced and then addressed.
His passion is clearly evident in how he cares for his employees and how excited he gets when discussing the upcoming plans which he and his company are planning for.

Mr. Netland is a great example of a leader in his industry and in character, which for me, I know I will take with me wherever I go and into whatever position I end up holding within an organization. I am very grateful for being able to spend this time with Mr. Netland and to learn more about being a leader from someone who has performed such great service for his company and for its employees.

Gregory L. Krueger

UST – Cameron School of Business – MBA Candidate

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