RLR Celebrates 30 Years!
By Mitch Razook, President & COO
RLR Management Consulting, Inc.
October 2018 marks RLR’s 30th year in business. Many of our readers may be familiar with our history, I would tend to believe that most are not. So, I would like to take the liberty to share with you a little history. But first, I must say I am very proud of Ruth Razook for achieving this terrific milestone. I would like to think that I helped, but while Ruth was building RLR, I was traveling the world doing my own consulting for Deloitte. I will take some credit for a portion of the second 15 years having been with RLR since 2005. Also, we must thank each one of our clients, vendor partners and consultants, past and present. You have made RLR the success it is, and we sincerely thank you for that!
In 1988, Ruth was working at First Interstate Bank in Los Angeles (not our current client in Montana) and saw many consultants walking in and out of the doors collecting large sums of money for consulting services. Ruth, a highly intelligent woman thought to herself, “Maybe that is something I can do and make more money than my current job!” Ruth quit her job, bought a typewriter (we didn’t have enough money to buy one of those computer things) and came up with the innovative company name RLR (Ruth Lorraine Razook)! RLR Management Consulting was off to the races. Shortly thereafter, Ruth received a call from a former colleague asking if she could assist a community bank in Glendale, CA. One Central Bank became RLR’s first client. Ruth supported them for over 2 years. Community Automation (Community Bank in Pasadena) was One Central’s service provider that Ruth dealt with while on that job. Ruth beat them up pretty bad…so bad they offered her a job to fix their service bureau issues. She converted the service bureau to Fiserv Premier (ITI at the time), and the service bureau was eventually sold to EDS in 1993, where Ruth was employed for a short period of time to run their Burbank, CA data center. Ruth describes this time as “15 painful months”. She ultimately left EDS, taking with her some of her consultants, business analysts and clients.
In 1996, Ruth was consulting full time and trying to build a business which is not easy. She then took on a partner and changed the name of the company. As she describes it, “It was the worst mistake I ever made”. Good news for me however (though I did not know it at the time), RLR Management Consulting was re-born, incorporated, and now had 4 folks in addition to Ruth. The company began to prosper over the next several years with the primary focus on Fiserv Premier system support, vendor evaluations and conversion assistance. The firm began doing IT audits and operational audits in addition to technology related projects. More consultants were brought on as the business grew. In 2004, RLR was up to 17 consultants and the business was becoming increasingly difficult to manage and grow. This is where I came in! After 10 years at Deloitte and being the lead Partner at Visa USA and Visa International my last few years, I was ready for a change and joined Ruth in January of 2005.
It has been a wonderful journey! We work with many folks that Ruth and I had worked with before RLR. Several of our folks have been with us for close to 15 years. Some consultants who were previously with RLR went on to be full time bankers which created another set of clients for us.
As we stand today, we have 19 professionals servicing our clients. We have engagements and clients from Alaska to New York and parts in between with consultants as far east as Nebraska and Georgia.
We have the best office staff anyone could ask for and some of the most talented and dedicated consultants anywhere. Our relationships with vendors and third-party service companies is amazing and we continue to grow and learn from them each and every day.
RLR continues to thrive as we enter our 31st year of business. I am not sure I will be around for the next 30 (who am I kidding, I won’t be!) but it is our goal that RLR continues to thrive and prosper beyond our time and continues to provide bankers with solutions to their complex business problems.
I hope you have enjoyed this short story about a long journey. We thank all of our readers, our team and our clients who we have had the privilege of knowing and working with on this wonderful journey.