Bachelor’s degree, economics, Clemson University
Stenciling bags of feather meal for American Proteins
What has been your biggest business challenge, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest business challenge was when my father was very sick and I had to take over. It wasn’t that difficult, but it was the most serious challenge was upon my father’s death, developing the confidence of the employment of this company and the confidence and loyalty of our raw material customers. It was convincing them that I wasn’t going to be a crazy kid and go buy a jet plane and a yacht and suck all of the money out of the business and ruin the company by not reinvesting or being unreliable or not spending money to handle environmental issues.
I spent a lot of time talking to our customers and visiting, and a lot of time here at the plant.
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
My father. That would be my No. 1 admiration. Beyond that, I don’t have any.
Jack Welch has had an incredible career and also done some incredibly stupid things. Warren Buffett, except Warren Buffett hasn’t created enough for me.
Ted Turner, wow, I just wish he’d come back down to Earth. He’d be a lot happier if he realized how many good things are happening.
Bill Gates, wow, as far as changing the world, and then to become such a philanthropist. It’s just wonderful. There wouldn’t be any one. I don’t know Bill Gates’ career well enough to have any opinions about his warts or what he has done wrong.