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40 Stories: Justin Fischgrund of Fischgrund Consulting

Companies sometimes find it difficult to challenge the status quo, even if it is for the best. Fortunately, there are firms like Fischgrund Consulting that do, and they can foster positive change and big results in the process.

The Tech Council’s Sheena Carroll recently spoke with Justin Fischgrund, Owner at Fischgrund Consulting, about his roots, the core of process improvement, and the passion necessary to succeed in tech:

SC: Your consulting business is quite young! Can you tell me about the journey that led to you starting it?

FISCHGRUND: I started Fischgrund Consulting in March [2024]. Taking a step back, I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial system engineering from the University of Miami [Florida]. During the first part of my career, I did process improvement and automation for different organizations, including American Express, the Navy, and Amtrak. Over the last five years, I decided to get more into the technology space, working for Dick’s Sporting Goods and BJ’s Wholesale, leading technology strategy from an omni-channel and store tech perspective. Several weeks ago, I decided that I was going to combine my experiences and start my own consulting business, which is something that I’d thought about for a long time.

SC: I like your company motto— “Efficiency is in our DNA.” Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Justin FischgrundFISCHGRUND: It’s a play on Fischgrund, but everything about me is about driving efficiency. The core of process improvement, Lean Six Sigma (which I’m a big proponent of), asks “How do we make things more efficient? How do we drive operational process improvement?”

I am always finding ways to help organizations—whether it is to streamline their processes or reduce waste inherent within those processes. I look at how they leverage capital investments and build technology applications for internal and external customers. I explore how they can secure their future through higher return on investment and increase profit to the bottom line.

SC: Process improvement sounds like no easy task, and you’re a one-man show! How do you tackle it?

FISCHGRUND: I've been passionate about process improvement since college and early on in my career. I take process improvement from a Lean Six Sigma perspective, which is typically in manufacturing environments. I've thought about it in kind of a more service sector perspective. I come in like a sponge, ask the right questions, and immerse myself in the process. It's all about partnering with the team—whether they're part of the organization, separate consultants, or part of a different organization. I talk with them to understand what things are happening, why they're happening, observe and sometimes work the process, and then help with their institutional knowledge to ask the right questions and bring them to where they want to go next.

SC: Where do you see Pittsburgh tech in 40 years?

FISCHGRUND: I think Pittsburgh is an emerging technology location within the United States. We have a lot of great schools like Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and a bunch of others. We have a lot of talent that wants to come here; we have a cheaper cost of living compared to Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh is a three-sports city. You have got a lot of great, exciting restaurants. It's a place with a small city feel, but a lot to do.

Innovative, smart professionals want to come here; that's what attracted me here, as well. I think it's going to continue to evolve, especially with robotics and other big tech sectors establishing roots here. I think the possibilities are endless. When I joined the Tech Council, I was surprised by how much is happening in the city. I am still learning about new things and companies every day.

SC: Why did you join the Pittsburgh Technology Council?

FISCHGRUND: I decided to start my business a couple of weeks after I was unfortunately part of a reduction of force. I had to digest that and decide what I wanted to do next. I did some research and decided that while I couldn't control the situation, I could control how I respond to it. I reached out to a bunch of professionals and the Tech Council was recommended to me across the board. I reached out to Brooke on the membership team and told her that I wanted to get integrated within the community, be around like-minded people, and be part of this niche that's helping evolve and grow Pittsburgh into something much larger. It has been a big part of my short journey as a consulting business. I look forward to continuing my journey with Pittsburgh Tech Council as I continue to grow in the future.

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40 Stories is a special series celebrating the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 40th anniversary through the diverse stories of our members, old and new.

40 Stories is a special series celebrating the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s 40th anniversary through the diverse stories of our members, old and new. It is sponsored with the genrous support of DQE, UPMC Health Plan and Faros Properties!