Providing expert answers to complicated questions is what Donan does best. So when the third-generation forensic investigation company began exploring the intricacies of improving its service to the claims industry, it found answers within – through intense strategic planning and significant internal change.
With customer demand as the driving force, Donan – a full-service forensic investigation firm with offices throughout much of the United States – spent time evaluating the needs of its customers and making plans to improve its service level.
“We wanted to expand and significantly enhance our ability to serve customers, but we didn’t want to undermine our mission,” said Lyle Donan, president & CEO and third-generation leader of the family-owned business. “We realized that simultaneously driving growth and improving quality in dramatic new ways required the right structure and the right people. It meant changes to our organizational chart, so we made a commitment to getting the right people on the bus and making sure they’re sitting in the most effective places.”
Donan restructured, identifying four distinct service lines and a general manager for each, including:
- Lightning Investigation with General Manager Alex Nolan, P.E.;
- Component Testing headed up by General Manager David Riggs, P.E., CFEI;
- Fire Investigation with General Manager Jack Fetrow, IAAI-CFI, CFEI, CVFI;
- Forensic Engineering led by Northern Territory General Manager Herb Goff, P.E., P.G., CFEI and Southern Territory General Manager Bob Whelan, Jr., P.E., M.S.C.E., CFEI.
Donan also created an additional layer of operational leadership with two managing directors, enabling Lyle Donan to manage the company as a whole, rather than focus solely on operations. The company hired Duane Battcher – a long-time fixture at Allstate – to manage Donan’s more nascent services, Lightning Investigation and Component Testing, and vet new service lines. Glenn Sieja is the company’s most recent executive hire; he joins the team as the managing director of Donan’s more established Forensic Engineering and Fire Investigation service lines.
“Having Glenn and Duane on board allows me to focus on the strategic needs of our industry and develop a long-term vision of our company based on our customers and intelligence that defines the future landscape,” explained Donan. “We love serving the claims industry and being a resource for its professionals, and we’re always looking for new and better ways to do that – so it’s an exciting time.”
That includes innovative approaches to investigation speed, creating efficiency, implementing technology and capturing new and useful data.
“One of Glenn’s first big projects is tackling response time and cycle time (the time it takes to turn projects around). While we’ll never sacrifice accuracy or quality, we know speed matters to our customers, and we know we can get faster,” added Donan. “And although we’re already leading in cycle time, we see a tangible future where technology will enable us to improve in this metric significantly.”
As a result of the restructuring, Donan is well-positioned to expand both its geographic footprint and service offerings. The company plans to be nationwide by 2016 and increase its workforce by 50 percent or more during that time frame.
The firm completed over 34,000 projects in 2012, an increase of more than 20 percent from the year prior, further enhancing its reputation as a world-class forensic investigation firm providing unbiased and accurate services in forensic engineering, fire investigation, component testing and lightning investigation.
Lyle Donan believes one day he will look back on this transformation as a time that changed the trajectory of the 66-year-old company, laying the foundation for future growth.
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