Military Spotlight: Doug Ingram, President, QueueLogix

Dress Right, DRESS

Members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard drill team pause briefly after performing their final movements during a performance, Sept. 24, 2012, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The team stopped at JBLM on their tour around the country and performed many demonstrations around the area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sean Tobin)

QueueLogix President Doug Ingram remembers the call to action “Dress Right, DRESS,” from his time in the military. When the platoon marched, even if it was only to the mess hall to eat, the spacing and alignment between individuals had to be impeccable. Each person was an integral part of the whole. For Ingram, “Dress Right, DRESS” became synonymous with team performance and accountability, a business lesson he credits to his military service.

“The military teaches you what it really means to be accountable, both as an individual and as a team member. In the military, on my first day I was told there are only three acceptable responses. “Sir, Yes Sir,” “Sir No, Sir,” and “Sir, No Excuses, Sir.” We trained as a team and we won or lost as team in an environment where there were no excuses. I learned that when a team can be accountable to one another, and trust one another, they can win together and that fuels success,” says Ingram.

Ingram grew up in the Midwest in Bismarck, Illinois, a town with a population of 500 located near the Indiana border. His youth involved mostly farming, sports and playing hide and seek in the corn fields. In the small farming community he learned the value of hard work, and also to appreciate our country and the military through the experiences shared with him by his father and grandfather, both of whom had served in the United States Navy.

“The men I looked up to were in the Navy, I planned to have a military career after high school so I applied to two of the five Federal Service Academies, schools that I knew were focused on leadership and preparing young men to be officers in the military,” said Ingram. Attending any of the Federal Service Academies requires a congressional nomination, Ingram’s came from Senator Paul Coverdell who was the Senator representing the state in which Ingram was living in when he graduated high school. He was accepted into the United States Merchant Marine Academy in New York and reported for indoctrination a few weeks after graduating high school.

“My parents dropped me off at the airport. I took a cab to base, had my head shaved by some rather rushed gentlemen, and fell in line,” remembers Ingram. The first year at the Marine Academy was grueling. New students were called “plebes” and went through indoctrination (Indoc) to prepare them for military life. In addition to learning about basic military protocol during his plebe year, Ingram learned how to persevere through mental and physical fatigue. He learned how to follow orders, master the small stuff, sweat the details and relayed a particularly important message that has stuck with him through the years.

“During our plebe year, we were hazed and in general had a pretty miserable existence,” says Igram.  “However, I remember one of our platoon leaders telling me something that has stuck with me many years—‘In order to be a good leader, you must first be a good follower.’ That plebe experience was really about making sure I had the skills to first be successful in following orders. I was learning how to “lead from the front.”

Upon graduation, Ingram was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. During this time he was able to travel to many locations far and wide including Egypt, Djibouti and Yemen. In the Navy, he was part of the strategic sealift program. This program was focused on making sure ammunition, oil, and food supplies were available when the US was at war or during international crisis.

During his service he made lasting friendships that endure to this day, and refers to his friends as his mates for life. Part of this bond he shares with his friends was based on his Academy’s motto, “Acta non verba”.

Acta non verba means deeds not words. All the guys that I served with and know from the Academy believe in this at our core, it’s not what you say that matters it’s what you do,” says Ingram. “It’s an important lesson for me every day that it’s not just about saying you’ll do something, but actually delivering on those words through action.”

Although he had begun his service thinking it would be a life-long career, a mentor guided him to see opportunities in business. He was honorably discharged from the military as a Lieutenant and joined a company started by two naval architects that provided software for ships. He lived in Oakland, California near the heart of Silicon Valley during the tech boom. “My next-door neighbor in my apartment was a man named Craig,” laughs Ingram. “He would update me on a website he was developing out of his apartment.” The website was Craig’s List.

Transitioning into software systems, Ingram found a fulfilling career path. He earned a certificate in Database Architecture at UC Berkeley and would later receive a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Georgia. Today Ingram leads QueueLogix, a proprietary software and services subsidiary of HealthChannels that improves revenue-cycle management and physician reimbursement by connecting front office clinical operations with back office billing functions.

Ingram attributes his service in the Navy for instilling transferable values that are applicable to work and life. He learned how to maintain calm and composure under pressure, and how to think through complex situations from ideation to resolution. Above all he remains committed to the idea of optimizing teams, being accountable and collaborating well with his teammates.

“In the military, I learned a tremendously valuable lesson that has stuck with me throughout my life, it always needs to be We, not Me,” says Ingram. A concept that is as relevant now, as it was when he began his service.