DB: Where are you?
LV: In Mountain View, Calif., at Google’s headquarters. We’re hosting a two-and-a-half-day program on digital excellence with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (based in Hanover, N.H.). It’s part of a minority executive program.
DB: You taught some of the classes?
LV: Yes, I taught one on website strategy, and the other was a live demonstration program on how we use Google products to grow and market our business via lead generation tools. For example, at Ideal Shield, a company we own that designs, manufactures, and sells an array of handrails, guardrails, and bollard covers, we use Google AdWords and Google Shopping ads to market our products. For every $1 we spend on Google AdWords, we’re generating $22 in sales.
DB: What else are you doing?
LV: There are other classes going on that I attended. Overall, the program reinforces how important it is to operate a comprehensive digital strategy for your sales department. There were talks on how to maximize digital ads on a mobile device, which is different than maximizing ads on a desktop computer. We also visited the Google store and saw a demonstration on how to use Google Cardboard, which is a simple device that fits over your smartphone and provides users with a virtual reality experience. It has a lot of potential to help us boost sales.
DB: How often do you travel for business?
LV: I travel around 20 times a year for business. We’re heavily involved at Dartmouth College and their executive education program, so I’m there twice a year to learn about the latest trends in operating and managing a company. On behalf of Ideal Shield, which is one of seven companies we operate, I travel to Target Corp. in Minnesota, Home Depot Inc. in Atlanta, and PNC Bank in Pittsburgh. Closer to home, Ideal Steel just landed a contract to do steel work at Little Caesars Arena. We’re excited to be working on such a marque project in Detroit.