Rick Rietz, Director of Consulting Services
What do you like best about working at DMC?
The people I work with are definitely the smartest group I have ever worked with. Everyone at DMC picks things up quickly and working with them is a real pleasure. I also appreciate the variety of work and challenges that I encounter every day working with our clients. It makes every day interesting.
I know you earned some musical acclaim as a kid. Do you still practice music?
Other than occasional karaoke appearances, I have not kept up my musical background. I started singing in the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus in third grade and was blessed with the opportunity to perform at places like Orchestra Hall, Ravinia, and Grant Park. We performed under some of the world’s greatest conductors, like Sir George Solti, Claudio Abbado, James Levine, and Margaret Hillis. In 1982, we recorded Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Sir George Solti was our conductor). Our album actually won a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance that year. I think Solti received the actual Grammy trophy, but my name is in the album credits somewhere. I also played classical piano for about four years.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love playing golf, and my favorite course is the Village Links in Glen Ellyn. I worked there in high school & college, and loved every minute of it. The most difficult course I’ve ever played is Medinah Course #3. It’s a beautiful, long course filled with impossible challenges. I used to have quite a temper when I played as a youngster, but golf has taught me a lot of patience.
I enjoy traveling whenever I have the opportunity. Some of my most memorable trips include touring eight countries in Western Europe as well as a tour of Asia that included China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore. One of the more interesting trips I took was following my beloved Hoosier Basketball team to the Great Alaska Shootout when The General was still coaching. There’s nothing quite like Alaska in November when daylight lasts from 10am to 2pm and you have to be up at 7am to catch an NFL football game!
You’ve had the opportunity to live in several Chicago neighborhoods. What characterizes them and where are your favorite spots in Chicago?
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs (Glen Ellyn) and have lived in a few different neighborhoods within the city. One great thing about the Chicago is that there’s a neighborhood for everyone. Lincoln Park has a great balance of successful people and the younger DePaul crowd. Lakeview is a good neighborhood for young professionals, especially people who are new to the city. A fun neighborhood for restaurants and nightlife for the post-college crowd is Wicker Park. Bucktown is where I currently reside, and I think it’s a great neighborhood for just about anyone.
My favorite place in the city is a tie between Soldier Field and Wrigley Field. As far as my favorite place to eat, I love a good steak and Morton’s. For seafood, I prefer Roy’s. In my neighborhood, I enjoy Antico and Francesca's Forno which has great food and service, along with a lively atmosphere to start a fun evening.
How did your family come to settle in Chicago?
My mom was born in Koln, Germany into a family of five children who all immigrated to the United States. She was the only one who married an American (her siblings married German, Italian, and Greek spouses), so needless to say, we had many interesting international customs and traditions in our family. For example, my outdoor playing outfit as a kid included lederhosen, as well as treats like Blood Sausage, Head Cheese, and Cannibal (a German twist on Steak Tartare) sandwiches.
My dad’s family immigrated to the US in the 1849 with the first wave of Germans. They started a lumber business in Michigan and became quite successful businesspeople in Chicago. They have a mausoleum in Graceland Cemetery. It’s a pretty historic spot in Chicago where people like Daniel Burnham, Marshall Field, and George Pullman are also buried there.
What lessons have you learned in your career as a consultant?
No two businesses operate the same way. You can definitely take lessons learned from one client to the next, but you must always be prepared to change your approach appropriately for the next client.
Secondly, technology has become easier to implement as enterprise business applications allow for many more packaged software solutions as opposed to building them from the ground up. Packaged solutions, however, have become pretty complex in how they can be configured and frequently require some custom extension to meet client-specific needs.
What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on at DMC?
My favorite has probably been the projects we’ve partnered with Quad Plus. They’ve been excited about the SharePoint applications we put in place to help their business. Instead of saving quotes and proposals to their hard drive, the sales team is saving them to SharePoint where they can be shared with the rest of the team. They have also developed a sales dashboard and posted it on an LCD screen in the office, which helps everyone in the company keep a pulse on the health of their business. We also streamlined their quote and expense approval processes. Our SharePoint applications have given them the ability to scale their business, especially in managing and tracking sales activities. It’s been wonderful to see the positive impact we have made on their business.