CEO Bill Graebel was recently recognized as one of Family Business Magazine’s CEOs to Watch. The annual feature highlights chief executives who are leading family-owned businesses with a view toward long-term success. We sat down with Bill to discuss what this recognition means to him, his vision for the company and his message to Graebel’s employees.
Q: What does it mean to you to be recognized as a “CEO to Watch?”
A: It’s an honor, but it really is a tribute to our people. Graebel’s success is rooted in our teams and teamwork. We’ve successfully navigated major transformations and a global pandemic, all while maintaining strong customer service and company performance, and that’s thanks to our team’s duty of care and desire to always raise the bar. I am grateful and proud of everyone’s hard work and hope they realize this award is a reflection of their efforts.
Q: You’ve had the opportunity to work at Graebel for many years. How have those experiences guided the way you lead the company now and in the future?
A: Over the years I held a variety of positions at the company and was mentored by so many hard-working individuals. I admired their work ethic, humility and commitment to serving all of our customers with the highest quality service. I brought many of their inspiring qualities with me as I jumped into different corporate roles at the company.
When we started expanding globally, I realized it was important for us to communicate our family-owned culture to a growing workforce around the world. That’s when we really developed our core values of truth, love and integrity, which are a reflection of the values I saw our earliest employees exhibiting.
Over many years, I’ve seen what’s important to our employees, what makes clients and mobile employees happy and successful, and what drives positive business results. I’ve absorbed that information and used it to guide our company, all while trying to be the best boss I can be. Looking to the future, I’m confident we’re headed in the right direction as long as we stay true to our core values.
Q: Graebel has gone through many transformational changes over the course of its history. How do you balance preserving the company’s legacy with the need to evolve to meet the current and future needs of clients and mobile employees?
A: Our legacy is a service organization. What we do will change over time, but we’ll always serve our customer to meet their needs. Most importantly, who we are doesn’t change. We are specialists who help people and organizations make transitions during life’s biggest moments. Honoring the history of the company is simply a matter of being a people-centric organization, understanding our customer’s needs, and caring deeply and genuinely about the work we do.
Q: What are you most proud of over the course of your career?
A: I’m proud of building a global team and culture with a strong mission, vision and values that have stood the test of time. We’re expanding globally during challenging times, yet we’re still able to unite and inspire people of all different backgrounds towards the common goal of providing exceptional experiences for our clients and their employees. I’m proud that when we are faced with unprecedented challenges, like those of the past two years, we can rely on our values to guide us. We can ask ourselves: Where does truth apply? How do we act with love? What can we do to deliver this action with integrity? And then we act accordingly. If you look at our 2020/2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, you’ll see we are working to make the world a better place by joining the Amazon Climate Pledge; making Diversity, Equity and Inclusion a key priority; giving employees paid time off to volunteer in their communities; and partnering with important organizations like Move for Hunger.
That commitment to community service is something I prioritize in my personal life as well. I work with organizations that encourage character building in students and developing a passion for continuous learning. I want to inspire the next generation to become positive and effective members of the community, which in turn will make the world a better place. With that focus in mind, I work with Colorado Uplift, a mentorship program for students in kindergarten through 12th grade; the National Youth Leadership Academy, which supports high school students to help them find their purpose; and the University of Colorado Denver Business School, among others.
Q: What is your vision for Graebel moving forward?
A: From a client perspective, the goal is to be viewed as the gold standard in mobility services. We’re always thinking about what’s next and how we can better support our customers.
From an employee perspective, we strive to be an employer of choice every day. Our success formula has and will continue to be a conscientious and constant effort to be the best employer we can be. We are committed to creating a diverse global workface that embraces many cultures and is rooted in truth, love and integrity. To that end, we’ve outlined DEI goals and are actively working to become an organization that is inclusive of all.
Q: What is your message to all the employees at Graebel who have helped make the company the success it is today?
A: First, congratulations! This team has done extraordinary work and this recognition would not be possible without all of you. You’re doing a great job and you are appreciated. Second, thank you! Together we’re making the world a better place by leaving it better than we’ve found it through our customer service, ESG efforts and thoughtful work in communities globally. We’re helping dreams come true. Here’s to the world ahead.