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Q&A with Dave Richards: General Manager, Chicago

Dave Richards

We spoke to our Chicago leader about his love for consulting, the most pressing challenges our clients are facing today, and why he’s proud to call Chicago his adoptive home.

You were born and raised in Wales, but have lived in Chicago for three decades. What brought you to Chicago, and what keeps you here?

I first came to Chicago as a 23-year-old at the start of my consulting career. I had never been to the US, so experiencing Chicago for the first time was a massive thrill. I have lived in Chicago permanently for 32 years; it is my home now. I’m lucky enough to travel back to Wales regularly, too, so I feel I get the best of both worlds.

In addition to Chicago being my home, I love the city and its suburbs. With its rich history, vibrant lifestyle, and endless amenities, it’s no wonder Chicago is considered one of the greatest cities in the world. Chicago has been unfairly portrayed in the media lately, and it’s up to all of us to change that perception, even if it means doing so one person at a time.

Dave Richards

How did you land in consulting, and what is the best part of working in this field?

I’d love to say it was a well-thought-out plan, but I was drawn to the opportunity to work in a field at the forefront of emerging trends in computing at scale. I was also attracted to the field by the quality and variety of people I met who already worked in it. 

This has been borne out in spades in the 30+ year consulting career I’ve since had. The variety of work, the ability to directly impact our client’s performance, and the super-smart people (both consultants and clients) you work with are all deeply rewarding.

What attracted you to the GM role at Slalom?

I’ve admired Slalom from afar for nearly 20 years. The uniqueness of its operating model, people-oriented culture, and outstanding client outcomes were beautifully executed. The opportunity to join the organization in a leadership capacity in what has become my hometown was too good to pass up. Plus, the people I already knew here were all outstanding, without exception.

What is your vision for Slalom Chicago?

I want Slalom to become further ingrained in the Chicago business community. We are already a significant presence in Chicago, but our growth potential is unlimited. We also need to love the community in which we operate and continue to provide outstanding career opportunities to local business and technology talent. Let’s take pride in Chicago, make it a city everyone can be proud of, and attract exceptional talent from all over.

What are the most pressing trends and challenges you’re seeing with clients today?

The uncertainty around the continuing durability of consumer spending is a critical issue, primarily driven by the ambiguity around ongoing inflation and interest rates. Many clients are cautious about investing in this uncertain environment and carefully managing all spending categories. 

Second, our clients are wrestling with current and future work patterns as we recover from the pandemic. This has led to creative, non-traditional collaboration methods that have been very effective. Yet, there’s also a trend among many of them to return at least partially to an in-person work environment.

Dave Richards
Dave Richards

How do you recharge outside of work?

My wife and I spend as much time as possible with our now-adult children (the youngest of whom is a college freshman, so we’re empty nesters). I’m also an avid rugby and soccer (football) fan, and I waste tremendous amounts of time and money on a golf game that shows no sign of improvement.

Let’s solve together.