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Executive Q&A with Chad Richison: Loss leaves boss driven to succeed

BY DON MECOY Published: November 29, 2009

photo - Chad  Richison is shown in the board room at the Oklahoma City headquarters of Paycom, an online payroll company. BY JIM STAFFORD
Chad Richison is shown in the board room at the Oklahoma City headquarters of Paycom, an online payroll company. BY JIM STAFFORD
Chad Richison, founder of the Oklahoma City payroll company Paycom, learned a valuable lesson about success by narrowly losing a high school wrestling match that he probably should have won.

"No excuses,” Richison said.

A Tuttle native, Richison and his wife — his high school sweetheart — moved back to Oklahoma from Denver to found Paycom a decade ago.

The Web-based company, which handles payrolls for businesses large and small, has repeatedly been recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S.

Richison sold a majority stake in the company to a private equity firm in 2007 but remains heavily invested in the business and plans to continue to head the operation even after the private equity group departs, most likely through a public offering.

Richison, 38, recently discussed his company, his varied interests and his management style. This is an edited version of that conversation.

Q: I understand you’re interested in mixed martial arts. Can you tell me about that?

A: We started up a company a year ago, Big Dog Productions (I didn’t pick the name). We did our first fight at the Coca Cola Bricktown Events Center in May. We’re going to have six fights a year. Our third fight ever is going to be Friday, Dec. 11, and we have Jared Hess coming in to fight. He’s a local guy and was runner up in the Belatore Fighting Championships, and he’s probably one of the most well-known fighters here.

Some friends and I have always gone out and watched the fights in Vegas. It’s one of those things the first time watching it — my wife said, "Turn that off; it’s terrible.”

The second time you watch it, you kind of bear through it. After that get you kind of get hooked, once you have respect for the sport and know what’s going on and see how they treat each other after the fight. They’re real athletes. It’s one thing to wrestle for 3-minute periods. It’s a whole other thing when you’re going for 5-minute periods and someone can swing at you.

Q: Paycom has received a lot of attention for its growth. Is it still growing?

A: We’re still hiring 15, 20 people a month right now. We’re still in a growth mode. We grew about 60 percent this year, and we opened up (operations in) five cities in 2009. We have four (cities) planned for 2010.

Q: And more clients, as well?

A: We add between 400 and 500 customers a month — new customers.

Personally speaking
→Position: Chief Executive Officer, Paycom.

→Age: 38.

→Family: Wife, Nissa, and four children.

→Education: Journalism degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.

→On the iPod: Everything from show tunes to country to rap to teeny bopper.

→Hobbies: Golf, snow skiing, racquetball, traveling with family.

→Favorite golf course: Pebble Beach

→Favorite ski resort: Breckenridge, Colo.

→First daily Web visits: Wall Street Journal,

→Pet peeve: Excuses. "I understand there are some. But you shouldn’t say them out loud.”


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