“As a results-oriented person, I really enjoy figuring out the best way to get positive results out of people,” said Glass. “My father used to say, ‘Lazy people say “no”; smart people figure out a way to say “yes.”’”
Growing up, Glass worked with his dad at a manufacturing company. And although Glass’s dad was the general manager, he always made time for everyone who came to speak with him. Because of this, Glass’s dad inculcated in him a desire to listen.
“He taught me that being a good listener is the key to figuring out ways to resolve somebody else’s problems,” said Glass.
So, fascinated with human behavior and interested in people, Glass pursued a career in human resources. He graduated from Boston College, attended The George Washington University, and received his master’s degree with a dual major in management science and organizational behavior.
“I was working for an airline trade association that specialized in labor and HR, and I saw that there was an opportunity to work on these issues on a more personalized level with [the] individual clients. So I started J. Glass and Associates back in 1989, and this eventually became F&H Solutions Group.”
In 2002, Glass left the company for a three-year stint at US Airways as the company’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer.
“I was drawn...to help them deal with their issues,” explained Glass. And boy, what issues they had.
US Airways was so close to dead, according to analysts, that its employees went to bed every night wondering if they would have jobs in the morning. But Glass relished the challenge and dove right in. “I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to silence the critics,” he said.
“We were able to implement a restructuring program that fixed the company and put it in a position to merge with another organization,” continued Glass. Ultimately, they not only saved the company, but 25,000 jobs as well. It’s no surprise, then, that the most rewarding part of Glass’s job is when “an initiative” of his is “successfully implemented.”
Q. What do you like to do outside of work? Any odd hobbies/interests? Are you married? Do you have children? Can you explain a little about your personal life outside of your company?
A. I have a wife and two children. My primary hobby is basketball; I love the sport and the camaraderie. I’ve been playing ball with the same group of guys for almost 20 years.
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. Bruce Springsteen, but I love all types of music.
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. Entertainment Weekly.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
Q. Who is your role model?
A. My father.
Back at F&H Solutions, Glass acts as the current president. The national human resources consulting firm “provid[es] creative human capital solutions in an ever-changing business world,” says its website. And much of Glass’s time centers on solving clients’ problems. Specifically, his work ranges from advising clients on their compensation packages to assisting clients when they are negotiating contracts with organized labor to calculating potential labor and employment costs for companies considering mergers.
Put simply, “there is a wide range to what we do,” explained Glass. “In some cases, all of a company’s HR needs are outsourced to our firm; in others, we get involved only on specific projects. Every client has a unique problem that requires our full attention.”
“A client once told me, ‘As busy and successful as your organization is, you’ve always made me feel like I’m your only client.’ That has stayed with me for a really long time,” said Glass.
Just as his father taught him, listening is the key to solving people’s problems. Looks like Glass has great acumen in what he does. He’s handled more than 80 labor negotiations for his clients and hasn’t had a single strike.