In his role as Vice Chairman, Central Region and Chicago Managing Principal of Deloitte LLP, he drives Deloitte’s national strategy for client and business growth and strategic positioning in local markets across 22 states consisting of 31 offices and more than 14,000 Deloitte professionals. Spruell also oversees talent and community involvement initiatives in the Chicago office, the largest Big Four professional services firm in the city with nearly 4,000 professionals.
QUESTION: What is the best thing about running a business in Chicago?
ANSWER: I think that one of the best aspects of running a business in Chicago is the fact that this market produces and attracts such talented professionals.
We have access to a strong talent pool from our recruiting efforts on many of the Midwest’s – and the nation’s – best college and university campuses, such as the University of Illinois, University of Chicago and Northwestern University, among others. In fact, Deloitte has been the number one employer of University of Illinois College of Business graduates for the last six years. And nationally, Deloitte employs more than 2,500 professionals who have graduated from Illinois institutions of higher education.
As an emerging global capital, Chicago also attracts world-class experienced hires who are interested in relocating to the U.S. in a market that is just as vibrant but more affordable than other major metropolitan areas.
So, Deloitte truly has the best of both worlds by maintaining such a large (i.e., 4,000 person) presence in Chicago.
QUESTION: How would you describe Chicago’s business community?
ANSWER: I’ve found that the common bond between leaders of Chicago’s multifaceted business community is a dedication to not only continuing to build and help strengthen the local economy, but also to enriching the areas in which we work. Though large, the business community feels like an intimate group of professionals who are working toward common goals of supporting our neighborhoods and the philanthropic organizations that provide enrichment through education, health and human services, the arts and culture, etc.
QUESTION: How have you found that the public/private partnership between business and government is unique to Chicago? In what ways have you engaged in this partnership?
ANSWER: I do think Chicago’s strong ties between the public and private sector is unique among major U.S. cities. I tell people (residents and non-residents) all the time that Chicago is a special city in this regard.
At Deloitte, we work closely with both non-profit organizations and public entities to help enrich the communities in which we do business. Recently, for example, we hosted 50 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) principals at Deloitte University, our leadership training center in Westlake, Texas. They took part in our Courageous Principals: From Insight to Action program, which is a leadership development program that teaches relationship-building, communication and influencing skills.
Chicago was one of four cities nationwide selected to take part in this year’s Courageous Principals program, and we received very positive feedback from those who participated. We collaborated with the New Leaders organization and CPS leaders to make this happen and hope to use this vehicle as a way to assist our principals, students, schools and neighborhoods.
QUESTION: How does your company take advantage of Chicago’s…:
Deloitte has industry-specific capabilities across our four businesses: tax, consulting, audit and enterprise risk services, and financial advisory services. We thrive in a market like Chicago because our professionals specialize in helping solve business issues across a breadth of industry sectors such as manufacturing, technology, and retail, all of which are present in the diverse Chicago economy.
I’ll simply refer back to my answer to the first question: Chicago’s strong talent pool is one of the core reasons why our business continues to thrive in this market.
Access to the world (i.e. via central location, two international airports, extensive road and rail network, digital infrastructure)
The geographic location of Chicago certainly benefits us. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited has 200,000 professionals in 150 countries across the globe, and our leaders often hold both national and international meetings and conferences here because of its prime, central location; because a number of our top clients are headquartered here; and because it has so many options for client and colleague entertainment venues.
QUESTION: When entertaining clients or business associates, where do you go and what do you do?
ANSWER: Chicago offers so many terrific options for client entertainment so it’s never a question of having a unique venue to host clients, but choosing the right one for the occasion.
That said, Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Sox and Cubs games are always popular favorites. I also regularly invite clients and Deloitte colleagues to join me at events – both business events and philanthropic events – that Deloitte sponsors. These showcase some of the city’s most impressive and historic landmarks, from the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park to brand new venues like the state-of-the-art Deloitte Greenhouse, which opened earlier this year in our Wacker Drive location.
QUESTION: If you were to describe Chicago to a friend or family member that has not visited, what would you say?
ANSWER: From the history, art and architecture to the food, vibrant restaurant scene and theater community to sporting events in all four seasons to the beaches, lakefront and parks, Chicago truly has it all. There’s so much to discover in our world-class city and I believe there’s something to please, inspire and amaze our visitors (with a nice opportunity to attract and continue growing our prospective talent base).