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KevinPickhardt

Kevin Pickhardt

Executive MBA, Class of 1990

President
Pharos Systems International
Alumni
Pharos Systems 200
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When Kevin Pickhardt took his first job out of college, he already had Simon in mind.

“It was one of the deciding factors,” Kevin says. “They agreed that when the time was right, they would put me through the Executive MBA program at Simon.”

Kevin entered the program a few years later, in 1988. From the very start, the experience went far beyond what he had envisioned.

“It was tremendously invigorating,” says Kevin. “There was a thrill of deep learning. I was working with one of the fastest growing divisions of Xerox at the time, and I was applying what I was learning at Simon every day.”

Kevin credits Simon’s approach to decision-making with helping him excel in the corporate world. He also says it was the key to assessing the business opportunity that would change everything for him.

“Simon’s quantitative method was something that I preferred, instead of the softer case study approach,” he says. “When an opportunity arose to acquire an ownership stake in an existing company, I had to convince a bunch of investors this was the best thing for them. I used all the tools I had picked up at Simon.”

Kevin would become CEO and part-owner of Pharos Systems International, a company whose innovations minimize waste, improve efficiencies and reduce the environmental footprint of large corporations. His company’s approach is so effective, that print volume often drops by 60-80% and waste essentially disappears.

“On one campus, a dumpster went from being emptied once a week to once every two months,” Kevin reports. “The university got a frantic call from the recycling company. They were concerned that they had lost the business and some other company was emptying the dumpster!”

Kevin says Simon changed him in two significant ways: “I felt a dramatic acceleration in my ability to learn from what was happening around me. And I gained a whole new set of thinking tools that I use for every problem I face.”

Simon also changed Kevin’s company. “I’ve taken that thinking from Simon and embedded it in all of our products,” Kevin says. “So it’s affecting how every one of our customers operates, too.”

Since that first acquisition, Kevin has led Pharos to become the leader in their industry. But for Kevin, the greatest benefit of Simon may be something much more personal. “I’ve maintained friendships with a number of Simon professors for almost 20 years,” he says. “I can walk in or call them. And they still challenge my thought processes!”

Kevin Pickhardt Pickhardt

"Simon's quantitative method was something that I preferred, instead of the softer case study approach," he says. "When an opportunity arose to acquire an ownership stake in an existing company, I had to convince a bunch of investors this was the best thing for them. I used all the tools I had picked up at Simon."

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