Tom Devlin

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Courtesy of ABS Consulting

Aretha Franklin sang about it, everyone wants it and we often give it to others — it’s respect, that seven-letter word that gets thrown around in countless circumstances. For Tom Devlin, it’s a part of his upbringing that has woven its way into his professional philosophy. “My parents raised me with the concept that I was neither better nor inferior to anyone,
and that everyone was worthy of my respect,” said Devlin, senior vice president for energy and transportation at Houstonbased ABS Consulting. And on the flip side, Devlin said he’s learned to not blindly expect respect either. “Never assume that with a position comes respect,” he said. “Respect is earned, not demanded or favored by position.” This concept has given Devlin a true sense of self, he said, and enabled him to make decisions without fear of failure, accept challenges from those who work with and for him, have the ability to listen, surround himself with people who are much smarter and who are prepared to say it like it is and lead with an unwavering sense of humor even under grave circumstances. Having these “tools” in pocket allows Devlin to focus on what is important. While knowledge of customers’ supply chains and what adds value to getting their products to market is a key element of the technical side of his job, the people are the crux of it all. “Being able to recognize that our business is all about people, whether our own or our clients’ people, and therefore the ability to communicate with a generosity of spirit is of the essence,” he said.

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