Growing up on a farm in the panhandle of Texas, Tana Pool learned the value of hard work at an early age. From a small town near Lubbock, Texas, to her current hometown of Houston, Pool cherishes her roots, her ideology of diligence, and her commitment to integrity. As vice president and general counsel of Quanta Services, Inc., Pool exemplifies success in a male-dominated industry with a leadership role in the big business of a S&P 500 company. Based in Houston, Quanta Services is a leading provider of specialized construction contracting services, including infrastructure design and solutions-based initiatives for the electric power, natural gas and pipeline, and telecommunication industries.
After college, Pool worked as a certified public accountant, gaining valuable experience auditing clients’ financial statements for a nationally recognized public accounting firm. A few years later, she moved to Houston and became an internal auditor for a large national company before deciding to go to law school. “My decision to add a law degree was both personal and business-minded,” she says. “My exposure to the financial side of business seemed to connect the two in a very natural way. And it has proven to be a good move from a professional-development standpoint.”
1992—Graduates first in her class from the University of Houston Law Center
2006—Becomes VP & General Counsel of Quanta Services, Inc.
2007—Handles the legal side of Quanta’s acquisition of a major competitor through a public/public merger
2010—Handles the legal side of a large acquisition that significantly expands Quanta’s electric-power capabilities in Canada
In her current role, she finds that a combination of business savvy and law offers a well-rounded and polished professional skill set that has enabled her to be successful.
Many of Quanta’s transactions have contributed to its exponential growth, more than doubling its annual revenue in the past five years. “Growth is important, but doing good business is the cornerstone of our mission,” Pool explains. “For example, we don’t buy businesses to fix them. We acquire companies that already have strong management teams and good balance sheets. We are also selective in the projects we pursue, and we don’t look for revenue growth alone without keeping profitability in mind.”
Keeping risk at a minimum in both business and legal matters is her daily mantra. Given the expansive scope of its services, the number of employees, and its potential for growth through new opportunities and acquisitions, Quanta must adhere to thoughtful, considered, and diligent decision-making for continued success and to maintain its vantage point as an industry leader. Pool has carried this objective through by building an in-house legal department that is top-notch in experience and professionalism, making it an integral component of day-to-day business.
“Striving for excellence is not just part of my ethical code, it is part of the entire company’s ethical code. I find it incredibly satisfying to work for a company that values its customers and employees and pursues excellence in the services it provides, while maintaining high standards in safety, ethics, and integrity,” Pool states. “Quanta’s reputation for doing the right thing is the basis on which we thrive.” [P]