Published: December 10, 2019
Published: December 10, 2019

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‘As Often as Possible, Be the Least Knowledgeable in the Room’

William Schaupp is not only PPG vice president and corporate controller. On his recent trip to the Shared Service Centre in Brno, Czech Republic, he shared a bit about the husband, father, pet owner, explorer and community supporter that we don’t usually get to see.
I wouldn’t change a single thing in my life because it led me to where I am today.

'Everybody Calls Me Bill'

One of the important lessons William, or Bill, has learned during his life was that working hard always pays off. He started working in the kitchen of a pizza and burger restaurant when he was just 16. Working his way up, he was managing the place by the age of 20!

I grew up there, learning how to manage different people. Managing customers teaches you very important life lessons about how to deal with dissatisfied clients. This is applicable to everyday life and especially for any work.

He left the restaurant to finish his university studies and then got a job with PwC as an auditor and financial advisor to small companies, where he stayed for eight years. When he needed to make a decision about whether he wanted to move into a corporate position, he joined the pharmaceutical company Mylan, where he stayed for three years.

Starting Journey with PPG

Bill joined PPG as manager of financial reporting in 2008 at the start of the financial crisis and climbed the financial career ladder adding responsibilities within the corporate accounting group.  In 2015, he took a role as the global finance director of PPG’s Fiber Glass business, a business that PPG began to divest 13 months into his tenure there. Bill remained undeterred as he expressed an interest to stay on and continue working for PPG.

For the past 18 months, he has been our vice president and controller, whose department prepares consolidated financial statements in accordance with US GAAP and ensures the appropriate design and function of internal controls over financial reporting.

At the corporate level, I can see how all jobs are equally important. But sometimes different departments or levels in the hierarchy can’t see it. In critical situations, I see how PPG people stick together, and I admire the teamwork and passion for ‘fighting’ for the cause.

Keeping Busy, Even in His Time Off

Though he never worked abroad, PPG gives him many opportunities to travel.

I love traveling with my wife. I love being close to the ocean and coastlines. This summer, we visited three different coastline locations. I especially like the Outer Banks in North Carolina, US.
Bill is also a very active person, believing it is important to take care of yourself through sleep, diet and exercise. Due to his self-confessed high energy levels, he enjoys kettlebells, swimming, running and squash.

Know What Is Important to You

Bill has been married for 25 years. He has two daughters aged 21 and 23 and an 18-year old son, all of whom have flown the nest. Still at home are his two dogs, English pointers, and a cat his daughters found under a porch years ago. He’d never really been a cat person, but has been thoroughly converted by his cat, Bean.

My wife sent me a picture of Bean sitting on the kitchen counter shortly after he had coughed up a fly! You know… I keep myself in the loop with things happening around the house even if I am travelling.

Something to Be Passionate About

Bill and his wife are involved with an organization called “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh” which supports children in need by providing one to one mentoring relationships.

My wife is what we call a ‘big sister’ to a nine-year old girl. You can really create a life-long relationship with these children. They become part of your extended family. I help the organization with fundraising and charitable events.
Another thing that may surprise you is that Bill is a certified volunteer firefighter. Despite undertaking a grueling 200 hours of service to become qualified, thankfully, there haven’t been any serious incidents in his neighborhood.

A Work Ethic for Success

Bill believes in practicing what you preach. If you are going to give advice, make sure you follow it yourself, both at home and in the office. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that in his long and varied career, Bill has developed a strong work ethic.

I always ask myself if I have put in my best efforts. Whenever something doesn’t end up as planned, I know I probably didn’t put my best into it.
He believes you should only ever have to learn a lesson once and never make the same mistake twice. You should stay curious and always be willing to put in the time. He also believes in the power of networking, talking to people who are where you think you want to be, but recommends you have something to say. His personal motto is: “As often as possible, be the least knowledgeable in the room.” He is also a firm believer that if you want to get promoted, you need to be good at the job you do now.

What makes Bill #PPGProud? He explains it in a nutshell.

I don’t need to think about it, it’s definitely the people. PPG People make me proud. And I think I have authority to say that because I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of the people from our company around the world.

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