Meet Yasser Youssef: The Budd Group President
Is Ready to Lead BSCAI in 2014
by Alexa Schlosser
The Road to Presidency
Yasser was born in Egypt and grew up in the Middle East. His parents immigrated to Charlotte, N.C., in the 1970s. He credits them with teaching him the value of hard work from an early age. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Yasser began work in the staffing industry. His first role was door-to-door sales, a position in which he was fortunate to be mentored by a great business leader.
Yasser recalls, “I remember leaving sales calls, using a pay phone to call my mentor and asking, ‘Is that what I was supposed to say on the call?’ Then I would hang up, go back to the prospect’s office and re-pitch our service. I used so many quarters in those days!”
Yasser spent the next 18 years with large national and international staffing firms, delivering value to Fortune 1000 companies in many facets related to labor outsourcing. That is where he learned the value of “delivering good people-based service 100 percent of the time.”
Following his career in the staffing industry, Yasser founded a professional HR consulting firm, Workforce Solutions, which assisted organizations with their recruitment selection, development, and retention of high-potential human talent. One of the company’s clients was The Budd Group. Workforce Solutions helped The Budd Group hire candidates for a variety of roles and to evaluate the unique abilities of existing team members in order to align them with best-fit roles within the organization. Almost 10 years ago, Yasser sold Workforce Solutions to The Budd Group and became the company’s chief operating officer.
“[After I joined The Budd Group], I really focused on learning the facilities maintenance business, the mechanics of the business from client service to back office. Clearly the FM world is driven by people start to finish,” Yasser said. “It really opened my eyes to a thriving industry with amazing opportunities for growth, innovation and value creation for both customer and employees.”
Changes and Challenges
Yasser knows that every business—in every industry—faces changes and challenges. While there are certainly challenges specific to our current times (health care reform and Congressional regulations), Yasser stresses the importance of the overarching challenge in any service industry, which is “to identify talented individuals who are able to develop service programs and to deliver them consistently for our customers at a competitive price.”
“This industry is no different,” said Yasser. “In an industry driven by people, the key is being able to identify people with the right skill level and to provide them with the right tools and training. And the talent search is important not only for front-line employees, but all the way up to our supervisors, our managers, our account executives, our business development managers, our regional leaders. Our challenge is to find the right talent at every level and in every location, so our teams can come together and deliver good value to our clients. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time, with the right offerings and the right relationships. It’s no easy task.”
In terms of changes in the BSC industry, Yasser said he has seen more owner-occupied facilities move toward hiring third-party management organizations that manage multiple facets of facility care and maintenance. “We also have seen a lot of consolidation in the industry,” he said. “We’ve seen national companies that have acquired many small and regional players and have become much bigger and much more global… applying a master vendor approach to managing client needs.”
Other changes Yasser listed include the industry “going green” and utilizing sustainable products and processes, as well as innovations in equipment that lead to greater safety and efficiencies.
Goals as President
As soon as Yasser joined The Budd Group, he turned to BSCAI. He knew that when moving into a new industry and business, it was necessary to connect with others and learn best practices in order to truly succeed.
“BSCAI has been great,” Yasser said. “I have gained tremendous knowledge through its training venues, peer gatherings, and trade shows. BSCAI has helped to develop a lot of intellectual content for me and my team.”
Now, as he steps up to lead the group that helped him shape his success, Yasser wants to make sure the association stays focused on providing high value to its members. His goal is to increase BSCAI’s efforts to improve training through the association’s annual meetings as well as regionally and through webinars.
He also will strive to “solidify our work relative to vendors that support the industry and to create meaningful platforms for them to reach our membership as well, potentially creating some advantages through purchasing agreements.”
Lastly, Yasser said he wants to help prepare the membership “for potential changes that are coming down the line relative to legal issues and health care, so that [BSCAI is] the vehicle that looks ahead for our industry and provides data and information that can help our membership navigate government compliance and legal issues more effectively.”
Yasser hopes to position BSCAI as an organization that continues to drive value for its membership. “We’re open to feedback from vendors and sponsors as well as members,” he said. “We want to listen and continue to add a level of professionalism to what we do and how we do it in the industry—to improve our members’ ability to compete and be successful.”
Yasser has been married for 21 years and has three daughters aged 12, 15, and 17. He is involved in a variety of community activities, including some faith-based activities with his church and Young Life. Yasser enjoys live music and all kinds of sports and outdoor activities.
In many ways, Yasser as president of The Budd Group and BSCAI isn’t too different from Yasser at home. “I spend a lot of my time building relationships, coaching, and mentoring the people I have been entrusted with. I am striving to be a good steward—not a perfect one, but one who honors the greatest gifts of all, the gift of relationships and people.”