Education: Mechanical engineering, Georgia Tech; business degree, Harvard University
First job: Maintaining clay tennis courts and assisting tennis professional at a local country club
Career moves: Senior management positions, Dun and Bradstreet Software, including vice president, worldwide marketing. Before that, specialized in advanced, automated control systems for computer-integrated manufacturing. Founded two technology companies in Boston, Actuation Electronics and Leapfrog Technologies
Boards: Appointed by President Bush in 2002 to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council; chair, NIAC Evaluation and Enhancement of Information Sharing and Analysis Working Group; trustee, Woodruff Arts Center; director on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Tech Advisory Board, Carter Center Board of Counselors, Young Presidents Organization, White House Critical Infrastructure Task Force. Serves on the boards of Manhattan Associates and NuBridges and Knowledgestorm, privately held technology companies
What is the greatest business lesson you've learned?
Some of the most important lessons that I have learned involve personal sacrifice, commitment and discipline as the foundation for success. Trusting my instincts is also something I have learned ... whenever I have not, I have usually regretted the consequences.
I have also learned competitive businesses draw competitive people, and it is essential to maintain an unwavering spirit, a will to win and a will to excel. Along with character and integrity, these are the things that endure, and these are the qualities that are so much more important than any of the events that occasion them.
Taking risks, being bold and getting out on the edge of the limb is critical if you are going to lead the pack.
What is the greatest business challenge you've faced?
It is the same challenge that I face every day, and I believe that it is something that you control, but you never really overcome. That challenge is the daily trial of balancing the needs of a growing publicly traded global company in an ever-changing competitive business environment with the essential responsibility of being a worthy father to my children, a devoted husband to my wife and a contributing member of my community.
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
Winston Churchill. He changed the course of history. He was tough-minded, smart and a tenacious believer in the value of persistence. A role model for all leaders faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Vince Lombardi. He believed in the triumph of the human spirit and uniquely embraced the need for discipline, commitment, mental toughness and sacrifice as the formula for success. He focused on teamwork and understood that if you treat people with respect and treat them like winners, they will perform as winners. I have kept his speech, "What it takes to be No. 1," with me since the first time I read it in grade school, and I still consult it today.
My parents. They have always been a strong beacon in my life. They established the ground rules early in my life, taught me right from wrong, instilled in me the need to be able to rely upon my own judgment and encouraged me to reach for the stars.