Oklahoma Venture Forum member profile

Profile People Profits, LLC

Sewing machines staccatoed and bobbin winders hummed as Clark Ingram walked into the Kansas apparel company. But his attention was drawn elsewhere. “I saw bags of money lying around on the floor,” recalls the human resources specialist.

For more than two decades, Mr. Ingram served as the vice president of human resources at companies spanning the manufacturing, heavy equipment, healthcare, and diversified energy industries. Yet each business had the same blind spots. “Typical HR departments don’t see those bags of money because they don’t think financially,” explains Mr. Ingram. “But that’s money that can increase revenues and profit margins.”

That isn’t the only type of capital left untapped. “The problems every business owner talks about - not being able to find good people, keep good people, and get rid of bad people – are actually symptoms,” he says. “The solution is to come up with a human capital strategy and plan.”

Clark Ingram is now the principal of People Profits, the company he founded in 2011. “I am an HR expert with a CEO/CFO mindset,” he says. “My company does something no other HR company in Oklahoma is doing because I bring a financial perspective to human capital.”

A self described “numbers guy,” Clark combines his 24 years of experience in HR with both a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Business Administration. He also holds premier certifications in the areas of human resources, employee benefits and property and casualty underwriting. This combination of practical and educational experience enables him to pinpoint the most common problem faced by both investors and CEOs. “When investors buy a company, and many at the Oklahoma Venture Forum have done just that, it’s always the same issue: Lack of capital and lack of good people.”

“The investor takes care of the financial side. He hires a CEO and expects that person to take care of operations, sales, and HR. That’s a lot on one plate.”

“But when I come in, I enable the CEO to focus on sales and operations because I take care of HR. Often when I enter the picture it’s because a company has reached a tipping point.”

What could also be described as growing pains, this is a time when a business decides to expand. “A company gets to the point where they’re stable with a certain number of reliable clients,” explains the People Profits founder. “Revenue is predictable although they may not be making a lot of money. This is when a business owner determines to grow their organization. And very quickly they find out it’s all about people.”

Chances are that is also when the owner finds out what Clark Ingram already knows from experience. “Human resources,” he says with a trace of humor in his voice, “is a schizophrenic function.”

The cure for this malady is Clark Ingram’s human capital strategy and plan. Detailed diagrams of the seven elements, which include attract, invest, deploy, and retain, are presented at www.peopleprofits.com. “I give workshops as well as do consulting,” explains Mr. Ingram. “It’s a lot cheaper for smaller companies to come to the workshops, like the one I did for Oklahoma City Community College in conjunction with the Oklahoma Hospital Association.”

“When I consult with an organization, I help them fix a lot of things up front.” continues Mr. Ingram. “But then I want to stay with that company and help them keep the canoe in the middle of the creek. People Profits charges a small percentage of realized dollar value by project as mutually defined with our clients."

“Even though I work with companies that already have an HR person, that individual usually doesn’t know much about strategy. My goal is to make that person look really, really good. In fact, the average employee out on the floor doesn’t even know that I’m around.”

“A lot of people see me as a marriage counselor between HR and the CFO,” he says. “That’s because I can talk the language of both sides. Sure, it’s about human relations. But it also has to be about money.”

By Lori Williams, Staff Writer for Oklahoma Venture Forum