Spending time with…Neil Sperling, GGS Partners

Neil and his wife, Lynn.

The managing partner of GGS Partners on the best hours to work, the magic of the Grateful Dead and why you should tell the people you care about you love them more often.

What is the most cherished item in your office?
Besides pictures of my family, I have a framed New York Times article from May 1988 when a journalist interviewed me about my company at the time, SureAir, LTD. He quoted me directly. SureAir was the pioneer in national facility management. I’m so proud to have worked for such a forward-thinking company.

What is your favorite time to get things done?
My most productive time is between 8 a.m.-11 a.m. (EST). This time works best for both my East and West Coast clients. But being in the maintenance business, emergencies keep me changing directions all hours of the day and night. No matter what, I try to find time for the beach where we live.

What is the soundtrack that plays in your office?
Pandora’s Little Feat station. I love the full complement, from the Allman Brothers, to Bonnie Raitt and Johnny Cash, (one of my wife’s favorites). Of course, I share my office space with my wonderful wife, Lynn, who often is on conference calls. Somedays, my background music is her ZOOM call (as I am ducking out of the screen sight now).

Name the band you cannot take off your playlist.
The Grateful Dead. I have attended hundreds of shows, and continue to follow all of the offshoot and tribute bands.

What does a typical work day look like?
In our business, there is no typical work day. But every day I start off with a written plan. My clients and their needs really dictate the order of when and what things I get done. My plan usually gets pushed to the following day and then the next. But always find time for the beach. It so soothing, no matter how bad or great my day was.

The Sperling family

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on a job site?
I usually do not have to travel to job sites, but I am entertained by the description of some of the service issues stores come up with, i.e., “people are dropping like flies” because the AC isn’t working is one of my favorites.

What are you binge watching right now?
Definitely Ozark. I really enjoy Bosch and am looking forward to the new season. I’m always looking for new music documentaries, which seem to be the niche these days.

What is the coolest thing you have done since the pandemic hit?
Crazy or Coolest? I got a puppy after years of insisting that I wasn’t a dog person. It is really helping me get through the monotony of being home due to COVID.

What has this experience taught you?
That I really don’t need as much sleep as I thought I did. You realize how others (dogs or people) depend on us, as well as we depend them. It is good to tell your loved ones just how much they mean to you.

If you knew what was going to happen, what would you have done differently?
I assume you’re asking about the pandemic. I would have planned my retirement differently so that I could spend more time helping others. I would have spent more time visiting my elderly mother in a nursing home, as well as seeing our kids more often. Do those things you say you wanted to do, but never did.

Favorite comfort food
Veal parmigiana, preferably from Chef Volas in Atlantic City (New Jersey).

Best advice you ever received?
“If you are going to do anything—a dinner, a gift or a business presentation, etc.—do it right. People will always remember you in a positive way. Do it half ass and they will remember you in another way.

Biggest influence in your life?
Besides my Dad, I would have to say Art Benson, CEO of Sure Air. He took a chance on a no-nothing 23 year old and taught me our business. He taught me how to be a professional, and let me have the freedom and support to help us grow the company. He trusted me to represent it.

What trait do you most admire?
I enjoy highly successful confident men or women who are not cocky. They treat everyone with respect by truly listening and taking a real interest in their stories and what they have to say.

What advice would you give your younger self?
It has been said a lot, but as I look back, it’s true: Follow your dream, your passion. Listen to advice, but don’t let others make your decisions for you. You can never go wrong by staying true to yourself. Tell your parents you love them more often.

What is the first thing you are going to do when you are able to get back to some sense of normalcy?
Travel. Listen to live music. Watch football on a Sunday at a crazy, busy bar.

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