Kevin McCarty discusses company growth with The Chicago Sun-Times

A Chicago consulting firm plans to hire 200 people this year, a one-third expansion of its staff, to keep up with increased business from middle-market companies needing help with business and technology strategies.

West Monroe Partners concentrates on companies with revenue of between $500 million and $2 billion, a group sometimes ignored by the Big Four accounting firms.

“We help vet mergers and acquisitions from a technology and IT perspective to make sure those are sound and solid, both for companies being taken over and those taking over other companies,” said Kevin J. McCarty, West Monroe’s co-founder, president and CEO.

Co-founders McCarty and Dean Fischer and 50 of the firm’s employees formerly worked at the defunct Chicago accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Fischer led Andersen’s innovation group and is now West Monroe’s board chairman.

West Monroe has increased its revenue, on average, 50 percent annually for the past 10 years by diversifying beyond tech consulting into strategy, design and process work in industries such as health care, banking, retail, private equity and utilities and electric companies.

The 200 new hires will be primarily project managers and experts in banking, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and energy and utilities.

Of West Monroe’s 600 current employees, 400 work at the Chicago headquarters, which the company is expanding by 8,000 square feet, bringing the total space to 50,000 square feet, primarily to handle the expansion of a call center in which technologists solve clients’ problems.

“In Chicago alone, we’ll have 1,000 employees within the next couple of years,” McCarty said. “A lot of people would have put a call center off-shore, overseas or in rural America, to keep costs down. But we are trying to create jobs in Chicago.”

“We are looking for technologists who want to create a better business climate here with their technological prowess and who can speak in business terms, hold their own in a boardroom and make presentations to C-level executives without using too many techno-speak terms.”

The employees own West Monroe through an employee stock ownership plan, and the company has no intention of accepting outside investment, McCarty said.

It also sets up its offices to try to make the best of the open-office workspace trend.

“Our values, strategy, annual reports and timeline of the firm are all presented proudly on the office walls, so that our employees and clients are both reminded of where we’ve come from and who we are as a firm,” McCarty said.

“Our conference rooms are all named after employee-chosen Chicago landmarks and neighborhoods. We’re building out our workspaces so employees want to come to the office after a week of traveling, make friends and establish their careers with West Monroe.”

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